Nine trends driving flavour innovation

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Trends Flavor Instagram

The ‘Instagram effect’ means consumers are more open than ever to new flavours. International Taste Solutions (ITS), which manufactures and supplies natural flavourings to the baking, snacks, dairy and active lifestyle sectors, teamed up with market research firm Innova to identify flavour trends that it claims will emerge during the next two years.

“Now is a great time to be on the market because consumers are open to emerging trends,”​ a spokesperson from ITS told FoodNavigator. “The overarching message from this research is that the flavour industry is excelling massively at the moment and the interest from consumers is driving new innovation.”

And with so many consumers sharing their eating via social media, trends are spreading a lot quicker than they used to, he added.

“The world is a lot smaller than it was 20 years ago so with new flavours emerging in new countries it can spread much quicker. If someone puts a picture of their new product on Instagram it can be shared everywhere. In the past it would become slowly more popular. Now it comes in a much quicker, intensive burst. Food manufacturers need to be aware of new trends before they suddenly explode on to the marketplace.”

Here are the main flavour trends on the radar that will emerge, according to ITS.


Berry flavours are very much on trend, says the study. “Berries are highly nutritional and healthy, they work well in endless applications and are attractive to the eye, which makes them 'instagramable' and shareable on any digital platform. We are talking about strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, but also new, more exotic varieties like açai berries or goji berries.”


“Consumers dream of being on vacation all year round and what flavours could be better to bring us on holidays than tropical flavours?”​ asks ITS. It suggests we will see more passion fruit, mango, guava, jackfruit and papaya in drinks, bakery, snacks and sports nutrition applications.


The healthy trend is here to stay, believes ITS, and its colour is definitely green. “Green veggies, green fruits and anything naturally green fits in here, even herbs and spices. Their natural appeal will make the product a success, whether it is a shake, a cereal bar or a yogurt. Cucumber, kiwi, spinach, avocado… but also green tea, or basil are welcome.”


Following with the natural and healthy market move, earthy flavours are on the rise too, believes ITS. “Mushroom flavours make us recall the pleasure of sniffing the earthy air that rises up after it rains. Shiitake, truffle or porcini flavours will be increasingly seen in delicatessen breads and buns, savoury biscuits or crisps.”


Lemon, and especially lime are on trend, reckons ITS. And so are tangerine, orange and mandarin.  “We are seeing citrus in many different applications, which will increase even more during 2019-20,”​ it says. “Yogurt, milkshakes, bars, sports nutrition gels and powders, and even crisps will include citrus flavours.”


Consumers want to travel the world through food, according to market research. “The amount of restaurants offering world cuisines is increasing everywhere and supermarkets are listing more and more options on world food. During the next two years, Italian spices and flavours will continue to grow, alongside Indian flavours and curries and Chinese meals and spices.”


Mediterranean flavours from Italy or Spain like rosemary, basil or garlic have been in the market for a long time now. The next two years, though, will see a different range of Mediterranean flavourings being launched, believes ITS. “This time, it will be flavourings from the Eastern Mediterranean. We will see pistachio, olive oil, watermelon, date or mint will be used in bread, biscuits, drinks, cereals and dairy.”


The research discovered that seasonal products are very welcomed by consumers. “The Winter season is ideal for warming spices like pumpkin spice, orange spice, gingerbread or apple spice,”​ it says. “We will see them in hot drinks, cereal bars, biscuits, dairy and sports nutrition amongst others.”


Today’s consumers crave new, exciting experiences, reckons ITS. “Following with this trend, we will see more products aiming for a temperature or texture shock. Hot spices combined with sour flavours, popping candy or extreme combinations will be seen within this category.”

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