Smoothie blenders and cocktail “mixologists” have raised the bar for flavor innovations in packaged bev-erages. The freshly prepared refreshments allow for a layering of flavors that goes beyond mixing strawberry with kiwi and lemon with lime. Add the fact that today’s health and wellness-seeking consumer wants taste without excessive calories and it makes sense why layering flavors to create a more satisfying drink experience has become trendy.
Following this trend, Ayala’s Herbal Water, Philadelphia, markets a line of botanical-infused calorie-free waters in varieties such as lavender mint, lemongrass mint vanilla, and lemon verbena geranium.
By no means is the layering of flavors a new concept, as the coffee bean and tea leaf companies have been adding flavors to their no-calorie beverages for ages. However, it’s the breadth of beverages being enhanced by flavor extracts, along with the sophistication of the flavors that is worth noting.
“Sweet and savory is the current trend in flavors these days,” said Catherine Armstrong, vice-president of corporate communications at Comax Flavors, Melville, N.Y. “Consumers continue to seek out interesting and contemporary taste fusions to jazz up their usual menu.” And though savory, per se, is not a flavor profile one would expect in a beverage, tastes that are the opposite of sweet provide the contrast consumers increasingly are craving.
“Millennials are very demanding, as well as adventurous and curious, especially with food and beverage,” said Donna Hood Crecca, senior director at Chicago-based market research firm Technomic. “They like to try new products and they want authenticity.”
Marketers are going well beyond traditional flavor profiles to attract consumers.
“We’re seeing unexpected flavors, such as Pernod Ricard’s Mama Walker’s line of breakfast-inspired liqueurs, involving flavors like maple bacon and blueberry pancake,” Ms. Hood Crecca said. “Spice is showing up in whiskeys and liqueurs, and exotic fruit and floral flavors are also still on trend.”
Spice, tropical and the exotic appeal to the booming Latino market, concurred Emmanuel Laroche, vice-president, marketing, sensory and consumer insights, Symrise Flavors, Teterboro, N.J. “Our on-line community of Latino consumers has led to our full understanding of the importance of food and beverages in the life of this energetic demographic. Their enthusiasm is contagious and is catching on with mainstream consumers.”
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