The top five flavor trends for summer 2024

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

What flavors are trending? Pic: getty/debbielewisharrison
What flavors are trending? Pic: getty/debbielewisharrison

Related tags Flavor Cocktails spirits Diageo

Ready for a spicy tamarind mangorita? Or excited about a parmesan espresso martini? Diageo highlights the top flavor trends it’s watching this summer.

Diageo – whose brands include Guinness, Gordon’s and Smirnoff – compiled its insights from tracking conversations on social media. To do this, it turned to Ai Palette – an AI and machine learning tool – to identify emerging trends across the F&B universe.

From Habanero to Hibiscus, here’s what the spirits giant is tracking.

Umami

umami t and i studio

What is umami? It’s known as the ‘fifth taste’, with savory notes that enhance traditional flavor profiles, and reflects exploration of different experiences, traditions and cultures.

In the US, conversations around the Korean paste gochujang are up 55%, as are those for Asian flavors such as seaweed (up 53%) and tahini (up 45%).

In the UK, conversations around turmeric have shot up 79%. But that’s not just about health-obsessed consumers looking for superfoods. It’s a flavor that’s being used in cocktails, including margaritas.

The export value of K-Pop – along with Squid Game becoming Netflix’s most watched show ever – shows the interest in Korean culture. But there’s also growing interest in Indian and Japanese lifestyles.

The parmesan espresso martini has become a viral hit in the US, shifting from a TikTok fad to a firm fixture of the Starbucks reserve menu.

Spicy Spark

spices getty simonkr

Jalapeño heads up the spicy spark in today’s flavor world. It’s become a ‘powerhouse ingredient’ in cocktails: with social chatter growing in the UK (up 32%), Canada (up 27%) and the US (up 25%).

Habanero, Aji Amarillo, and other Latin-inspired flavours are popular infusions for bartenders, with Italian chilli Pepperoncini experiencing a 53% growth in conversations in Australia.

Latin and Tex Mex cuisines have overtaken Italian as America’s ‘go-to’ food order: so it’s no surprise to see spicy, Mexican ingredients like chipotle win over consumers.

In bloom

elderflower getty judish haeusler

Floral and natural infusions – think elderflower or rhubarb – are set to dominate spirits and cocktails: reflecting a similar trend in the world of fashion.

Elderflower has always been popular in the UK, but this is growing: conversations about the flavor are up 67% in France.

Rhubarb is gaining momentum, as is hibiscus.

Brands that can use locally sourced ingredients and botanicals may find a winning edge over their competitors.

Tropical triumphs

tropical fruits getty alexraths

The frustrations of the pandemic and lockdowns have not been forgotten. People are looking to make up for missed adventures: almost a third of Brits aged 18-25 are seeking out activities like safari and island hopping.

Tropical flavors help bring dreams to life with fruits like guava, passionfruit and pineapple.

Tamarind – a tropical fruit native to Africa – is trending in cocktails: with conversations about the ingredient up 50% in the US (and 27% in the UK).

Tasty treats

coffee cocktails getty catlane

Flavor isn’t just about flavor. It’s also about transforming those into multi-layered experiences and treat-based drinks are becoming increasingly popular.

Coffee-based cocktails are trending: particularly interest in the latin-inspired carajillo and frozen espresso martinis. Hazelnut, nutmeg, walnut and cocoa are also other ingredients to watch out for.

Indulgent, treat-focused beverages could even start to replace traditional desserts.

Image credits, top to bottom: getty: debbie lewis harrison, t and i studio,  simonkr, judish haeusler, catlane, alexraths.

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