Flavours that cool, tingle and comfort are among the biggest drink flavour trends for 2021, according to beverage development company, Flavorman.
Driven by the long-term effects of an on-going pandemic, this year’s forecast is shaping up to be focused on flavours that drive experience in a socially distant landscape.
Flavours that tingle
Burning, cooling, or otherwise tingling their way across our tongues, drinks with flavours that stimulate unique sensory experiences are set to become more prominent in the coming year.
“We’ve had a considerable uptick in client requests for flavours that deliver varying degrees and styles of heat, smoke, and spice,” says Tom Gibson, Flavorman’s Chief Flavorist. “But we’ve also seen an increase in requests for flavours with that fresh, cooling rush you’d get from chewing a stick of mint gum.”
Flavors like Ancho chile, habanero, and Indian peppercorn are expected to make their way into everything from Ready-to-Drink (RTD) cocktails to tea and lemonade.
Meanwhile, menthol-heavy pairings— think peppermint-mocha cream and lemon-coconut eucalyptus— will contribute a cooling element to seltzers, premium coffee, juice drinks, and more.
Flavours that comfort
The need for comfort has taken on a whole new meaning within the current social and political climate, but flavours continue to provide a soothing constant.
Staples like grapefruit, lemon, and lime will continue to be popular; but there is an opportunity to elevate these familiar profiles by grounding them in specific locations of interest.
“Tracing flavours to a specific region creates a transportive experience that helps differentiate an otherwise standard flavour,” says Kristen Wemer, Flavorman’s Director of Beverage Development.
“As the market continues to saturate with the usual essentials, consumers can expect more diversity and premiumization through varietals of familiar flavors.”
Delivering on consumer cravings for nostalgia and indulgence, 2021 will also see the return of classic favourites but in unexpected, more sophisticated forms.
“When you think about childhood flavours re-imagined for premium applications, you get something like a smoky vanilla cold brew, bubble gum seltzer, or a fruit punch gin cocktail,” says Wemer.
“We’re experiencing a renaissance of these nostalgic flavours— peanut butter, orange creamsicle, grape cotton candy— in concepts like hard coffee, energy drinks, and craft soda.”
Flavours that function
As the world grapples with a global pandemic, consumers have found ways to take their health into their own hands— and stomachs.
Beverages that offer immunity, cognitive, and mood-boosting benefits will be especially significant. Expect fragrant flavours like hibiscus, elderflower, and orange blossom to be combined with other berry, botanical, and citrus elements to emphasise functional ingredient blends in naturally positioned teas, enhanced waters, flavoured kombucha, and more.