This year's flavor trends share a common denominator: Natural ingredients that add heft to a product’s wellness and health claims. International Taste Solutions (ITS) compiled the main flavor trends that will help determine the industry’s direction for 2017/18.
Health Takes the Driver’s Seat
- Natural: Non-GMO and recognizable ingredients on the label will become more prominent now that this rising trend has found firm footing in F&F over the past two years. According to Mintel, the term “natural” elicits trust from consumers.
- Sports Nutrition: With the retail sales of U.K. sports nutrition products expected to hit $2 billion in 2017 (and rise to $2.7 billion by 2020), the segment has caught consumer attention as staples like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry protein flavors branch out from powder to bars and shakes applications.
- Fruit and Vegetables: Brands are reinventing products to include the often-missed daily intake of produce—expect milkshakes, baked goods and snacks incorporating fruit and vegetables in new ways.
- Sugar Reduction: In a 2015 survey, 66% of U.S. consumers noted that sugar content played a role in the decision to purchase packaged food and beverages, putting pressure on manufacturers to provide alternative options, such as coconut and maple syrup.
- All Day Snacking: Fast-paced schedules led to this trend as consumers fit their meals into smaller time slots. Natural snack options are also on the rise for more filling options including fruits, vegetables and protein for the 94% of Americans who snack daily.
- “Free-From:” A survey from Mintel showed that 84% of Americans are choosing free-from foods while seeking natural options in efforts to cut out allergens and other potentially harmful ingredients such as GMOs, soy, nuts and trans fat.
Expanding Flavor Limits
- Floral Flavors: The natural trend expands to the fresh floral flavors of lavender, elderflower, violet and orange blossom. While currently making up less than 1% of the European market, these flavors are on the rise. The botanical flavors can cross-over between sweet and savory for baked goods applications and branch out into teas and RTD beverages.
- World Food: Flavors from across the globe are intersecting as new products incorporate fruity, tropical flavors, as well as complex and spicy flavors inspired by the flavors of Moroccan, Mexican, Indian and Thailand cuisines.
Read more about ITS's predictions at www.foodingredientsfirst.com.