Hybrid flavour innovation is increasingly being used to deliver new sensory experiences for progressively adventurous consumers, offering food and beverages that can broaden the dimensions of indulgence.

As a result, Flavour Mashups has emerged as the first of Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Flavor Trends for 2021. 

Other important trends include the updating and reimagining of traditional and regional flavors, interest in immune-boosting options, the shift of foodservice favourites into the home and the ongoing popularity of citrus.

Innova Market Insights Top Five Flavour Trends for 2021 are:

1. Flavour mashups
Innovation in hybrid flavours is gathering pace as consumers favor food and beverages that broaden the dimensions of indulgence. 

According to the Innova Flavour Survey 2021, one in three consumers globally agreed that interesting/exotic combinations influenced their flavour choices in food and beverages. Innovations can feature in areas such as cross-category mashups, hybrids within beverages and sweet and savoury combinations.

2. Modern nostalgia
While global trends get a local makeover, regional stalwarts are also being brought into modern relevance, and flavours are being reimagined with the use of exotic ingredients in familiar products. 

One in two consumers globally say that they put more trust into a new brand if it collaborates with one that they already know (Innova Consumer Survey 2020). This trend is reflected in the rise in modern twists on existing products, playing off familiar tastes with cross-category innovation.

3. In tune with immune
Immunity and health are top of mind for consumers, and ongoing anxiety over COVID-19 will continue to be a key focus for 2021. 

Immunity-boosting ingredients will play a significant role in the coming year. Fruity flavours appear particularly important since one in three consumers globally say that they would choose orchard flavours when wanting to boost their immunity. Blends of fruity flavours with exotic and indulgent ingredients are typically used to promote immune benefits.

4. New omnichannel eating
Foodservice is proving significant as a channel for flavour innovations. Consumers can now directly access many specialty flavours that were previously only accessible via foodservice. 

Thirty-one percent of consumers globally say that they get flavour inspiration from restaurants, cafes, canteens, food stalls, etc., increasingly bringing restaurant-style dining experiences into their own homes.

5. Citrus flavours reign
Citrus flavours pair well with the fast-growing use of immune health positionings and other well-being related claims. 

The top reason for consumers choosing citrus flavours is for refreshment (44%), but immunity boosting is close behind with 40%. 

Different citrus flavours are also coming to the fore, with clementine the fastest-growing citrus variant for food and beverage launches over the 2016 to 2020 period.

Innova Market Insights