From high-quality ingredients with health benefits to unique flavours, innovations in ingredients and flavours are continuously emerging in today’s global food and beverage industry. Being aware of which flavour trends are currently in-demand is crucial in this business, even when it’s the end of the year is fast approaching.
Reputable beverage ingredient suppliers share that by considering these trends, you can alter your menu to add items that will create new profitable bestsellers.
Furthermore, you can modify your current offerings to add trending herbs, spices, and other flavourings. You can then come up with a variety of dishes using these ingredients to attract more customers, and eventually, increase your sales. Use these insights as a guide as to which items should be eliminated from your offerings as they may not give you considerable income.
Here are some of the top ingredient and flavour trends that have impacted the 2020 food and beverage industry and will remain to please customers in the coming years.
1. Low/no sugar
Modern consumers seek more nutritious options, which has prompted beverage companies to innovate low- and no-sugar drinks while retaining enticing flavours.
Soda companies are now offering reduced-calorie drinks to provide sugar-conscious consumers with a healthier option. The alcohol industry has also adapted to such innovations as there are now zero-sugar, flavoured alcoholic beverages in the market. Moreover, there are facilities built for the fermentation and production of stevia sweeteners with zero calories.
Though honey has been used over the years, making it a pantry staple, innovations have been made to optimise its flavour and make it a versatile ingredient.
Most restaurants today are adding honey to their bestseller dishes. They either use it as a flavour enhancer for meat or a coating for fried food. Some also use it to enhance the taste of their dressings and sauces.
Honey is a popular ingredient in different beverages, too, such as iced tea and lemonade. However, bartenders and mixologists have developed ways to incorporate it into both non-alcoholic and alcoholic concoctions. Furthermore, they have even crafted other ways to use honey, including adding honeycombs and shards to various drinks to make them more interesting.
In addition honey can be fermented to make it both sweet and slightly sour. In fact, fermented honey is a great addition to sauces and even to parfaits and smoothies.
3. Botanical infusions
Lavender, hibiscus, rose, and other botanical ingredients have long been popular flavourful additions to teas. But expect to see more growth in botanical infusions in the coming months, which may extend beyond teas.
Alcoholic beverages infused with botanical flavourings are making an impact on modern customers. This innovation is believed to have been influenced by the increasing demand for gin among younger generations. Gin is produced by distilling a base liquid with different plant extracts like juniper berries to give the beverage its predominant aroma and taste.
But herbal and floral flavourings are not only limited to the alcohol industry. There is an increasing number of sparkling water companies that incorporate natural botanical ingredients in their products. These include lavender cucumber, basil berry, cactus rose, lemongrass coconut, and peppermint watermelon. With the increasing number of people becoming more health-conscious, it is expected that there will be a huge demand for herbal sparkling water.
4. Plant-based milk
There has been substantial growth in the plant-based market. Oat milk, almond milk, and soya milk have been some of the best milk alternatives, but there are innovations with other ingredients to offer a unique taste.
For instance, manufacturers of beverages and snacks are using chia seeds as an alternative. Chiamilk became famous because it is a nutritious drink with more calcium and omega-3 than traditional milk.
Other dairy alternatives used in the beverage industry are avocado milk and nut milk, including pistachio milk, cashew milk, and macadamia milk.
Limes, tangerines, lemons, and oranges are famous citrus fruits used in different dishes. Though these ingredients remain well-loved, some individuals are trying other citrus types to create a more unique taste.
The Meyer lemon, for instance, is a good alternative to regular lemons. It is less acidic than conventional variants, though it also tastes sour. A few slices of Meyer lemons can be added to salads; their peels and juices can make a dish tastier and tangier.
Yuzu is another citrus fruit gaining popularity in the food and beverage industry. Commonly used in Japanese cuisines, this has a distinguished sour and tart flavour. It is used as a zest or powder to enhance dishes.
Root vegetables, spices, mushrooms, and herbs are common elements in different dishes and cuisines. Ingredients with earthy tones like cardamom, maca, ginseng, and tree flavourings like pine, oak, and juniper have become even more popular. Dining establishments are also using these ingredients to craft unique-tasting desserts, sodas, and coffee drinks.
Moreover, lots of confectionery brands are creating sweets with earthy flavours. There are now chocolates with ginger, for example, and chewing gums with maple and fennel that food adventurers must try.
Indeed, there are new and improved innovations in the food and beverage industry to surprise modern customers. And if you want to boost your brand awareness (and perhaps even tweak and expand your food menu design), consider these flavour trends to create unique dishes that people would like to try, and that will keep them coming back.
Lamia Rochdi is the Marketing Manager at Bell Flavors & Fragrances EMEA. A successful family-owned business, Bell’s core competencies include customized solutions for the food and beverages industry, the household and personal care sector, and the perfume industry.