MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Missouri – People’s tastes change over time, often influenced by their circumstances and even their values. That change is emboldened by the 2022 Flavor of the Year announcement this week by Beck Flavors, as we get a unique glimpse into consumer taste trends.
Beck’s marketing and research and development teams joined forces to analyze consumer flavor preferences and mega trends that are driving buying behavior to better understand where these trends will pivot in the coming year and what that means for product innovation. They chose winners in the fruit, botanical, and innovation categories as well as a new indulgent category.
Focus on Freshness and Health
In the fruit category, Clementine—a sweet, crisp, and refreshing citrus flavor—was the winner. According to Beck’s research, 83% of consumers globally agree that having a healthy diet can build immunity to help prevent illness and disease.
“Given the pandemic, there’s been a huge consumer focus on better eating—which involves calorie consciousness, better ingredients, lower sugars or carbs, and a shift toward flavors that represent a ‘healthier’ position,” said Megan Gibson, Marketing Manager at Beck Flavors.
The flavor of the year in the botanical category was Elderflower, another choice that connotes health and freshness. “Floral ingredients are being incorporated into more foods and beverages,” said Messina Truttman, VP of Sales and Marketing at Beck Flavors. “These unique botanicals pair perfectly with more familiar flavors like apple, pear, blackberry, or passionfruit to create something consumers can ease into.”
Seeking New Experiences
With the pandemic putting a halt on people’s travel plans over the past year, consumers are craving new experiences. With Starfruit Apricot as the winner of the innovation category, that desire from consumers materializes in a more adventurous flavor profile.
“We’ve found that 63% of consumers find exotic foods and beverages from all over the world appealing, so we are constantly exploring new exotic pairings that work well across a series of applications,” says Adam Berge, Applications Technologist at Beck Flavors.
The Power of Nostalgia
Finally, in the new indulgent category, the winner was Coconut Caramel cookie, which hearkens back to the Samoa Girl Scout cookie. Now more than ever, consumers are drawn toward comfort foods and beverages. In fact, Beck found that nearly a third of global consumers have increased their preference for nostalgic and traditional flavors in the beverage category.
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