Flavor Trends in Beverage Development and Beyond: Part 1

 In Blog

We think about flavor a lot at Imbibe. A product developer and flavor scientist are assigned to every project that comes in and they work in tandem to create the custom flavors (and often other ingredients) that give each beverage the unique characteristics. While this industry is dynamic there are some flavor trends that withstand the test of time. True to Fruit. Indulgent. Nostalgic.

Though our expertise is in beverage development we take inspiration from all categories to identify and reinforce the flavor patterns that we see in the lab. Here are some recently launched market products that align with some of the flavor trends you may want to keep in mind as you construct your innovation pipeline:

True to Fruit
La Colombe Cold Brew Shandy – a coffee lemonade hybrid, playing off two beverage staples. (Remember when coffee palmers were THE beverage of summer of 2016?)
Bud Light Lemon Tea – a beer aged with black tea leaves, that deliver a tea flavor that complements the lemon peels, which are an integral part of this product’s brewing process.
Coors Slice – 4.2% ABV beer with a “refreshing taste of orange” launching just in time for Summer 2019.
Goodbelly Probiotics’ Bubbles in Tropical Orange – there’s a blend of pear, orange and banana juice to make up this 28% juice drink that claims to deliver positive benefits for the gut via probiotics.
Mooala Banana Nut plant-based creamer – this is one of a few zero sugar and U.S.D.A certified organic creamers by this brand, known for its other non-dairy products (oatmilk, bananamilk, almondmilk) that are not as new to the market.
Botanical Bonanza
Natalie’s Cold Pressed Juices – there are three SKUs: purify, relax and resilient that incorporate botanicals, including dandelion, chamomile, turmeric, and ginger, into their blends.
Odwalla Craft Ades – Coca-Cola revealed flavors such as blackberry basil lemonade and lavender mint lemonade in their new line of still, sweetened with cane sugar refreshments.
RifRaf ricotta cups – the flavors of these spoon-able cottage cheese substitutes span a few different flavor buckets, but their wildflower honey fits nicely under the botanical umbrella.
BOS Brands Sparkling Tea – both elderflower and jasmine make an appearance in these vegan friendly, unsweetened sparkling iced teas.
Fantasy Flavors
Pop-tarts frosted chocolate cupcake and frosted confetti cupcake – while both are likely reminiscent of familiar flavors, the names of the flavors would still be considered fantasy.
Prairie Farms – several of their new premium small batch ice creams fall into this flavor family, either because the flavor doesn’t exist in nature, or because it’s a baked good that doesn’t have a standard of identity. Moose Tracks, Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Cinnamon Bun ice creams are all examples of fantasy flavors at play.
Dragon Drink – the pitaya (dragon fruit) based millennial pink beverage capitalized on the increased interest in dragons (and their mothers, thanks GoT) and in more exotic fruits. We’ve seen Dragon’s Blood in as another dragon inspired flavor flavor  and it would also fall into the fantasy flavor family.
Enlightened – the ice cream brand for the calorie-conscious/Halo Top follower launched a Lemon Meringue Pie, though the buttery pie pieces found throughout may make the consumer forget that this is a better-for-you ice cream.