Flavor Trends: Global Floral Innovation

Explore the latest floral flavor innovations in the global food and beverage industry

June 26, 2024 – From the delicate hints of jasmine in premium coffee to the bold infusion of hops in craft beers, floral flavors are adding a touch of sophistication and complexity to a wide range of products. Consumers are increasingly drawn to these natural, often health-associated flavors, driving a surge in product launches across categories.

Consumer Insights

Flavor trend research indicates that consumers are increasingly drawn to floral notes in food and beverages. Consumer trend research reveals that one-third of respondents across 11 markets reported consuming more floral-flavored products in the past year. This trend is driven by a growing interest in healthy and better-for-you options, with 57% of consumers stating that botanical ingredients influence their food and beverage choices.

Floral notes are perceived as both healthy and sustainable, aligning with the growing focus on self-care and environmental consciousness. There has been a noticeable rise of floral notes in premium coffee and chocolate, with brands leveraging these aromas to enhance product quality and appeal to discerning consumers.

Beyond beverages, floral flavors are making inroads into packaged foods, particularly in dairy, desserts, and snacks. Hops are a key ingredient poised for wider adoption beyond beer, with potential applications in waters, soft drinks, and even packaged foods. This expansion reflects the growing demand for innovative and functional ingredients that offer both taste and health benefits.

Flavor Trends: Floral Infiltration

Floral flavors are experiencing a surge in popularity across food and beverage categories, driven by consumer fascination with their unique notes and health benefits.

There has been a significant uptick in food and beverage product launches featuring floral flavors, growing by 5.6% over the past five years. Rose, chamomile, and chrysanthemum are gaining traction, and hibiscus is the most common floral flavor.

Floral flavors are particularly prominent in soft drinks, with notable examples including sparkling water infused with jasmine and lavender, probiotic kombucha with chamomile, and energy drinks with lavender.

There are additional opportunities for floral flavors in other categories, such as dairy products, desserts, and snacks.

Floral flavors can add complexity and sophistication to food and beverage products, while also appealing to health-conscious consumers seeking natural and sustainable options.

Global Floral Innovation

Coffee: Where Floral Meets Gourmet

Floral notes are becoming increasingly sought after in gourmet coffee, with consumers appreciating the delicate and complex aromas they bring. This flavor trend is driven by a growing fascination with floral flavors in food and beverages, as well as a desire for premium and unique experiences.

In coffee, floral notes are not simply added flavorings, but rather are inherent characteristics of high-quality Arabica beans from specific origins. Ethiopian beans, for instance, are known for their floral qualities, while other regions like Uganda and Rwanda also produce coffees with distinct floral profiles.

There are various examples of coffee products leveraging floral notes, ranging from single-origin beans to blends and capsules. These products are often positioned as premium offerings, catering to consumers seeking a sophisticated and nuanced coffee experience. For instance, Coffee Plus Plus Super Specialty Geisha Whole Bean Coffee highlights its tasting notes of “a bouquet of jasmine flowers, ripe carambola and refreshing Tahiti lemon.”

Chocolate: Where Floral Notes Equal Fine Flavor

Floral notes are a hallmark of high-quality cocoa beans, distinguishing them from bulk or ordinary cocoa. The International Cocoa Organization recognizes these notes as a sign of fine cocoa, which accounts for only 8% of global production. These floral notes are attributed to a combination of factors, including local growing conditions, processing techniques, and genetics.

Fine cocoa beans are characterized by fruity, floral, herbal, woody, nutty, caramel, and rich balanced chocolate base notes. While these notes are often associated with the Crillo and Trinitario varieties, other types like the Nacional from Ecuador can also exhibit these characteristics.

The consumer interest in floral notes in chocolate is a flavor trend partially driven by consumer demand for premium and artisanal products. Brands like Cru, Camellia, Meiji, and Auchan are leveraging these notes to create unique and sophisticated chocolate experiences.

The use of floral notes in chocolate is a testament to the growing appreciation for nuanced flavors and the desire for products that reflect the origin and quality of the ingredients. As consumers become more discerning, we can expect to see more brands embracing floral notes in their chocolate offerings, further elevating the category and creating a more diverse and exciting landscape for chocolate lovers.

Hops: Ready to Blossom Beyond Beer

Hops, traditionally known for their role in beer brewing, are poised to break free from their confines and become a prominent flavoring agent in a wider range of food and beverage products. While primarily associated with the “hoppy” bitterness in beer, hops offer a diverse range of flavors, including floral, fruity, herbal, spicy, and pine notes.

There is a notable uptick in production of hop-infused waters and hop-centric soft drinks as innovative alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages. This flavor trend is driven by younger generations who are increasingly cutting back on alcohol consumption or abstaining altogether.

Beyond beverages, hops are starting to be seen in packaged foods, with initial appearances in dairy products, desserts, snacks, and even home cooking ingredients like spice mixes and sauces. There is vast potential for hops to add complexity and intrigue to food and beverage products, appealing to consumers seeking innovative and unique options.

What’s Next in Floral Flavor Trends?

Floral flavors will likely continue to gain popularity in both food and beverage categories. This trend is expected to extend beyond beverages, with floral notes becoming increasingly prominent in desserts, confectionery, and even savory dishes like ready meals and sauces.

There is additional potential for floral flavors to enhance health-focused offerings, particularly in conjunction with botanicals and probiotics. For example, the anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile flowers could be leveraged in soft drinks and sports nutrition products.

There is also opportunity in the usage of floral flavors for premiumization and differentiation. Brands are expected to use floral notes to create more sophisticated and luxurious products, particularly in categories like coffee, chocolate, and ice cream.

Finally, there has been a significant increase in the use of hops beyond the beer category. As consumers reduce their alcohol intake, mainstream breweries are expected to introduce hop-infused waters and hop-centric soft drinks. Hops are also poised to make inroads into packaged foods, adding complexity and novelty to ready meals, sauces, condiments, and baked goods.


This article is based on our report, “Now & Next in Floral Flavors – Global.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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