Innova Sees Boom in Healthy Flavors in US Soft Drinks Market

Innova Market Insights says healthy flavors, such as herbs and spices, honey and new-generation superfruits will be the next hits in the global beverages market.

While flavor trends can vary markedly by region, research data from Innova Market Insights indicates that rising interest in superfruits is evident globally, with pomegranate still leading the field. It accounted for over 40% of tracked beverage launches featuring superfruit flavors over the June 2008 to May 2013 period, well ahead of açai and lychee, with 12.5% and 12%, respectively. Emerging or new-generation superfruits are led by guanabana/soursop, cactus/prickly pear and marula.

“Cactus/prickly pear is one of the emerging superfruit flavors in the North American beverage market,” said Lu Ann Williams, head of research at Innova Market Insights. “U.S. launches over the past year includ[e] Cactus Juice and Cactus Tea from Nopal and Prickly Pear Cactus Tea from Hunter & Hilsberg, as well as Martinelli’s Prickly Passion Lemonade juice drink, featuring prickly pear puree,” she noted.

Vegetable flavors are also featuring strongly, Williams said, often in combination with fruit flavors, in juices, smoothies and teas, adding health-giving phytochemicals, as well as a new flavor element.

The report also said the number of beverage launches featuring celery rose six-fold in 2012, while those featuring cucumber and beets doubled. Kale also started to feature in the beverages market in 2012. The generally rising level of interest in hot and spicy flavors in the US food market as a whole has also spread through to beverages. This has led to the emergence of hot and spicy variants featuring ingredients such as black pepper and chilis, including Habanero, Jalapeno and Chipotle.

Innova plans to host daily live presentations at the Taste the Trend Pavilion at this year's IFT Food Expo in Chicago: 12 noon: "Snacks Revolution 2013," 1:30 p.m.: "What’s the Next Greek Yogurt?" and 3:00 p.m. "Health Drives Flavor Hits." 

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