#Trendspotting: 2021 Flavor Trends
Your source for the most up-to-date information on emerging beverage trends.
2021 Flavor Trends
Culinary Tourism | Familiar Fruits | Childhood Classics |
Bar-Inspired | Blossoming Botanicals
Culinary Tourism | Familiar Fruits | Childhood Classics | Bar-Inspired | Blossoming Botanicals
Globally inspired flavors have been an upward trend the last few years, but this trend is expected to accelerate because of the pandemic. Global flavors connect consumers to other cultures and are a way to “travel” without leaving home.
Use of blood orange has grown significantly over the last few years. The Meditteranean flavor is incorporated into products from nearly every category. Press Hard Seltzer kicked the flavor up a notch by pairing it with chili.
Tamarind is a popular flavor in Asian and Latin American countries. Use of the sweet and tangy legume has been growing on menus and is starting to appear in CPG products like spirits, craft sodas and aguas frescas. De La Calle introduced a tamarind flavor tepache (a fermented beverage popular in Mexico) last year.
Guava has been on our trends-to-watch list the last few years. The flavor is used in everything from smoothies to sports drinks either on its own or in combination with fruits like strawberry, passionfruit and pear. Perrier added a lemon guava SKU to their line of juice-infused beverages.
Dragon fruit is another up-and-coming tropical flavor that is used in products from nearly every category. In addition to having a light, sweet taste, some dragon fruit juice also has a vibrant pink color which adds to its appeal. Dragon fruit is a featured flavor in Nooma‘s line of organic pre-workout beverages.
Exotic citrus fruits are growing in popularity because they are an adventurous alternative to flavors like lemon, lime and orange. Yuzu is an emerging flavor being incorporated into beverages ranging from tea to CSDs. Moshi launched a sparkling beverage that combines yuzu juice with familiar flavors like apple and peach.
Orange, lemon, lime and berry are tried and true fruit flavors, but consumers are interested in exploring other fruit-forward options. Brands are branching out from the most common fruit flavors by choosing varietals of familiar but underrepresented categories.
Melons are an American staple, but melon-flavored beverages are rare compared to other fruit flavors. Use of watermelon has increased significantly over the last few years, and brands are starting to incorporate other flavors like cantaloupe and honeydew. H Factor launched a honeydew flavored SKU of the brand’s hydrogen infused water.
Apple flavor and other varietals like Fuji apple are being used in categories beyond juice. It is becoming an especially popular flavor in still, sparkling and enhanced waters. Propel, Bubly, Aha! and JÈN launched SKUs with apple flavor on its own or in combination with other flavors like strawberry, lychee and ginger.
Pear is another well-known flavor that is emerging in beverage categories like sparkling water, hard seltzer, kombucha and craft CSDs. It is used on its own or in combination with citrus, tropical and floral flavors. Huzzah’s probiotic seltzer features the flavor juicy pear.
Flavors that trigger nostalgia remain popular because they are comforting and contribute to emotional well-being. Nostalgic flavors inspired by candy, frozen desserts, breakfast and baked goods will be popular this year.
Flavors reminiscent of popular candies like Skittles, Sour Patch Kids and cotton candy are popular in the sports nutrition and energy drink categories. C4 Smart Energy features flavors like Electric Sour and Cotton Candy.
Breakfast-inspired flavors like cereal and cereal milk, French toast and maple bacon are an emerging trend. Cereal flavors are especially popular in categories like creamers, protein drinks and beer. Dymatize partnered with Post for their launch of Pebbles-flavored protein powders.
Brands are also finding inspiration for flavors in the frozen aisle. Flavors reminiscent of Bomb Pops, snow cones and sherbet are being incorporated into beverages like sports and energy drinks and sparkling waters. G Fuel launched a rainbow sherbet flavor for their line of RTD energy drinks.
Mocktail flavors range from a blend of familiar fruits to bold botanicals. Many trending mocktail flavors are distinctly adult with bitter or astringent notes that aren’t typically embraced by young consumers. In addition to creating exciting and sometimes exotic flavor experiences, alcohol-inspired flavors are a great substitute for consumers that abstain from alcohol or are sober-curious.
Hops add bitterness, flavor and aroma to beverages. They are a very common ingredient in craft beer, but are also being incorporated into non-alcoholic beverages like tea, CSDs and sparkling water. Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher tastes similar to an IPA but without the alcohol or calories.
Consumers can rosé all day without alcohol. Rosé flavor is being incorporated into products like juice and sparkling water. The Republic of Tea has a line of wine-inspired ready-to-brew iced teas, including a rosé SKU that is made with wine grape skins, ripe strawberries and crisp red apples.
Mimosas are a classic cocktail and a fan favorite (especially amongst brunch-goers). Alani introduced a mimosa flavored energy drink that offers the bright, citrusy flavor of a mimosa and is a zero-guilt pick-me-up.
Botanical flavors are experiencing steady growth in beverages across categories. Consumers are embracing botanical flavors because they are associated with health benefits and they have exotic and sophisticated taste profiles which make products appear more premium.
Turmeric is one of the most common herbs incorporated into beverages that promote wellness because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Rishi launched a sparkling tea that combines turmeric and saffron, which is suggested to have mood-boosting benefits.
Lavender is another botanical growing in popularity because it offers flavor and the perception of function. It’s often incorporated into products suggested to promote sleep, relaxation and improved mood, like Pepsi’s Driftwell beverage.
Combining herbal flavors with fruits positions the product as more sophisticated and premium. Circle sparkling collagen waters include flavors like watermelon thyme, lemon mint and raspberry hibiscus.
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