Flavor Drop: Cotton Candy & Red Licorice

 In Blog

cotton candy pink drinkThe Trend: Nostalgia

The Flavor: Cotton Candy

Whether at amusement parks, county fairs, or carnivals, Cotton Candy is a beloved and delicious indulgence enjoyed by many consumers, especially during childhood. It evokes a sense of joy and wonder as consumers recall the colorful, light-as-air floss transforming like magic into a cloud of sweetness before their eyes. This nostalgic fantasy flavor is one of the fastest-growing flavors on dessert menus, with the fastest-rising consumer need being snacks.We even see companies capitalizing on the flavor in designer fruits like Grapery’s Cotton Candy grapes. In 2022, Liquid I.V. launched Hydration Multiplier for Kids in Cotton Candy, and last year, Oreo rereleased limited-edition Cotton Candy cookies. This is also a common flavor profile in sports nutrition, but we recommend giving it a modern twist to support differentiation. Additionally, Cotton Candy’s popularity is reflected in social media trends, as seen on platforms like TikTok, where Cotton Candy cakes are currently trending. 

Tasting notes from our Flavorists: sweet aroma, delicate fruitiness, robust cooked sugar sweetness


Cotton Candy-inspired market products:

core nutritionals cotton candybang energy cotton candyoreo cotton candygfuel cotton candyblue bell ice cream cotton candy


Cotton Candy Whey Protein Isolate, Cotton Candy Energy Drink, Cotton Candy Oreo Cookies, Ninja Cotton Candy Energy Drink, Cotton Candy Ice Cream 


Perfect Pairings from our Flavorists
raspberryRaspberry watermelon Watermelon grapeGrape

red licorice

The Trend: Nostalgia

The Flavor: Red Licorice

When spotting Red Licorice products, consumers may find themselves transported back to childhood, reminiscing about the sweet red twists and vines shared at school by their classmates or teachers. While we haven’t seen an abundance of non-traditional Red Licorice products, this nostalgic fruity flavor has an opportunity for beverage trial, as seen with the emergence of Licorice is one of the top 20 fastest-growing flavors in 2022 in the US water and cold beverage category.2 In late 2020, G Fuel released a Red Licorice Energy Drink exclusively at Sheetz convenience stores. Red Licorice is found in CSDs like Rocket Fizz Red Licorice Soda and spirits like Pinnacle’s Red Liquorice Vodka. Over the past year, social conversations about Licorice have increased by more than 2%.1

Tasting notes from our Flavorists: strawberry, raspberry, and cherry aroma, sweet chewy succulent finish


Red Licorice market products:

gfuel red licoricetaffy shop red licoricelakerol red orange licoricepinnacle red licoricefuegon red licorice liqueur


Red Licorice Energy Drink, Red Licorice Taffy, Red Orange Licorice Pastilles, Red Liquorice Vodka, Red Licorice Liqueur


Perfect Pairings from our Flavorists
citrusCitrus green appleGreen Apple mangoMango
To request flavors, whether from this drop or any of the 20k flavors in our extensive library, simply click the button at the bottom of the page or email marketing@imbibeinc.com. And if you’re seeking further inspiration, don’t forget to explore our previous Drops for a plethora of inspiring ideas.

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  1. Tastewise, 2024.
  2. Kerry Taste Charts, 2023.