#Trendspotting: Flavors that are Simmering, Bubbling, and Boiling Over

 In Blog, Trendspotting

Your source for the most up-to-date information on emerging beverage trends.

trendspotting march 22

Part of the magic of what we do at Imbibe is flavor development to get products just right. We have designed thousands of flavors inspired by a wide variety of profiles from indulgent desserts to fantasy flavors and fruit-forward conceptions. We are passionate about delivering unique and well-informed insights, so we put together a presentation that dives deep into consumer interest in both novel and familiar flavors. Which one is right for your next project? You’ll just have to download to find out:

Orange Blossom    |    Oatmeal Cookie    |    Yuzu

Orange Blossom

Inspired by delicate yet strong floral notes, Orange Blossom has a complex flavor profile. Flavors of orange and similar citrus options have been a long-time staple in products, but this more unique choice opens food and beverages to more opportunity for differentiation in the marketplace. This flavor has been spotted on shelves for a while, but we foresee it going further, especially as only 27.3% of consumers have tried it in a beverage.*

This blossom is blooming in Psychedelic Water, a non-alcoholic and lightly carbonated beverage meant for boosting moods. The brand’s Oolong and Orange Blossom (and other three flavors) uses a blend of ingredients including kava, damiana, and green tea in the drinkable herbal supplement. New products on the market touting this flavor isn’t the only indicator that intrigue in this flavor is expanding, with Google search terms increasing 22% from October 2020-September 2021.*

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Orange Blossom may also be the next generation of citrus, based on its sister flavor’s reputation. The overall health halo around citrus, and particularly orange for its immunity-supporting benefits, gives this ingredient a touch of notoriety even if consumers have never heard of it before. POM Wonderful’s Pomegranate Orange Blossom White Tea uses extract from the actual fruit, but in the release of Lipton‘s Orange Blossom Herbal Iced Tea, the brand uses marketing to tie the flavor to tea’s healing properties.

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This can play well into the alcohol category as people are paying more attention to their health and adopting better drinking habits. Within the first two weeks of 2022, total alcohol sales were down 6.7% and non-alcoholic sales were up 19%.* Initially launched in 2018 as a brand extension for the global vodka leader, Ketel One Botanical Vodka Spritz is positioned as a healthier option for alcohol drinkers and is made by distilling botanicals, which has also inspired the line’s flavors (like Peach and Orange Blossom).

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This flavor has already reared its head in RTD cocktails, tea, beer, sparkling water, and juice/soda hybrids. Imbibe predicts that we will see this appear in better-for-you energy drinks, in even more tea/juice hybrids, and sweetened and unsweetened sparkling waters in the next several months.

Oatmeal Cookie

One of our predicted top trends for 2022 was nostalgic/indulgent flavors and Oatmeal Cookie is one of the top options that is gaining traction. Using this baked good-inspired flavor gives consumers the ability to experience their favorite flavors through healthier formats (lower sugar, fewer calories, etc.). The Oatmeal Cookie flavor profile generally tastes sweet, with whispers of the heart-healthy grain, and hints of cinnamon.

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The better-for-you frozen dessert brand, Halo Top, has an Oatmeal Cookie flavor as a part of their wide-ranging lineup. The “light ice cream” (at 300 calories per pint) has an added functional benefit with 19 grams of protein and includes stevia as a sweetener, cinnamon, sea salt, and rolled oats. However, seeking out a healthier version isn’t always a motivator, and this classic flavor can act as a beacon of nostalgia for consumers. Little Debbie’s early 2022 release of an Oatmeal Cream Pie ice cream takes the vintage snack cake and puts it into a new format for consumers to enjoy.

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On top of being a treat for consumers, this particular flavor profile is easily folded into products that have an oat base already. Instead of masking the sometimes bran-like taste, the flavor can be enhanced. The global oat milk market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.2% from 2020 to 2022, giving room for this flavor to be featured in more alt-dairy beverages.* The Oatmeal Cookie Oat Creamer by Silk claims to have a creamy mouthfeel and is flavored to be just like “the same craveable taste you love”. As a dairy-free coffee additive, many struggles that brands face is not being able to achieve a dairy-like mouthfeel (if this sounds like you, MakeSenseTM, might just be the key 😉).


Yuzu has recently been holding its own in the citrus family, delivering antioxidants, more vitamin C than lemons and stimulating collagen production. On top of the functional benefits for beauty and immunity that have been heavily sought after by consumers recently, Yuzu has a distinct flavor that is tangy, tart, and sour. With a more global-inspired palate becoming the norm, we predict that this sexier citrus will become a key player in its flavor family.

Asian culture, music, and cuisines have been impacting the Western Region for years, and new flavors from the East are here to shake up the traditional flavors that we see from multiple brands in North America. Yuzu was just announced as Sanzo’s latest flavor joining the sparkling water line at the beginning of February 2022. This SKU is described as lemony, tart, and paired perfectly with ginger for balance. The entrepreneurial brand promotes its celebration of Asian flavors and connects people to authentic flavors through no sugar added carbonated beverages that are made with real fruit. Also on the market in the Yuzu flavored sparkling water categories are options from Kimono and Moshi.

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As the official energy drink of Esports, G Fuel frequently partners with brands and celebrities in the space to create products that increase performance, hydration, and stamina. In Summer 2021, G Fuel created a Yuzu Slash energy drink in collaboration with Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellber, famous Swedish gamer and YouTuber. The relationship between gaming and Asian culture is not new, with Japan being the third-largest video game market in the globe in 2021.5 However, this product aims to show the YouTube sensation’s admiration for Japanese culture, giving the use of Yuzu flavor a strong meaning in this beverage. Yuzu has been a strong player in energy drinks, as we’ve seen from Molson Coors True North and Marquis.

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We’re also seeing this fresh flavor seep into the alcohol space where we commonly see Grapefruit, Lime, and Black Cherry as the mainstays on shelves. Crafted by two young Asian-Americans who saw a gap in the market, Lunar Hard Seltzer’s flavors are inspired by Eastern-Region fruits and traditional taste profiles. As a staple in its core line of alcoholic canned beverages, the Yuzu SKU is made with real yuzu from Japan and comes in at 4.9% ABV and 120 calories. Alongside the citrus flavor, the seltzer brand also uses Asian Plum, Lychee, and Winter Melon.

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This flavor has already reared its head in RTD cocktails, tea, beer, sparkling water, and juice/soda hybrids. Imbibe predicts that we will see this appear in better-for-you energy drinks, in even more tea/juice hybrids, and sweetened and unsweetened sparkling waters in the next several months.

Flavor Spotlight: Coconut

Used as a solid swap for dairy milk and cooking oil or for its extra hydrating benefits, coconut-based have products have flourished in recent years. The coconut products market is expected to experience a CAGR of 9.65% during the forecast period (2020-2025).* Paired well with tropical, citrus, and herbaceous flavors, Coconut creates a fresh, sweet, and slightly woody taste profile, which we recommend as a potential flavor pairing option for your next project.

Email us at ingredients@imbibeinc.com if you’re interested in our March Flavor Spotlight samples:


Orange Blossom Coconut Sparkling Water 

Pineapple Coconut Spice Sparkling Water 


For more flavor insights, don’t forget to download Imbibe Presents: The Percolator Teaser to get a taste of a flavor-focused presentation. Email ingredients@imbibeinc.com to request flavor samples for your next project.

1. Imbibe Percolator Consumer Panel. N = 300 adults in U.S., December 2021
2. Mordor Intelligence, 2022
3. Nielsen IQ, 2022.
4. Digital Marketing For Asia, 2020
5. Grandview Research, 2022.
6. Mordor Intelligence, 2022 

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