When it comes to product development, it’s all about the latest trends. In 2019, it seems that most consumers want the same thing – adventure. This year, it is essential for those in the food and beverage industry to target these increasingly adventurous consumers who are seeking new experiences and discoveries, on their tables (and in their glasses). As the world becomes more connected, people of all ages learn more about other cultures and move farther out of their comfort zones as they explore multi-sensory food experiences and bolder flavors.
From rainbow bagels and unicorn cakes to mile-high, cookie-topped milkshakes, consumers are clamoring for something different. One example of the answer to their increasing cravings for the new and unexpected is the kombucha float, a beverage that many foodies are calling the best drink of 2019. The kombucha float lends itself to endless varieties. Originally made with vegan vanilla ice cream and fruity kombucha flavorings such as raspberry-ginger, these new kombucha floats can be found in flavors such as blood orange sorbet with a classic black tea kombucha. Kombucha floats are especially popular on hot, humid days – perfect for summertime.
Exploring and discovering are common themes in some of the most popular new flavors on the market. As such, flavors of the world are another popular avenue many food companies are diving into – and many consumers are welcoming with open arms. Asian flavors and Middle-Eastern cuisine are top performers in the marketplace. Other well-received savors include apples and cream or garlic, shallots, and parsley from France; onion, caraway, and vinegar from Germany; sour cream and dill from Hungary; and garlic, olive oil, and anchovies from Italy.
Beverages offer an entire world of flavors to explore unto themselves. Besides the kombucha floats mentioned above, people are looking for unexpected experiences for their palates. Along with the sour zest of kombucha, refreshing fruit flavors with new twists are also high on the list and include options such as prickly pear and dragon fruit. Citrus remains popular but is now found more and more in unusual varieties such as bergamot orange, blood orange, pomelo, and ugli fruit. Consumers are also loving the staying power cold-brew coffee drinks have proven to have. Finally, low- and no-alcohol beverages are hot, with sophisticated “mocktails” receiving more attention than ever.
Consumers are certainly driven these days by the desire to right the world’s wrongs and consume consciously, from equal-opportunity employers to sustainable processes. However, they also want their food to be exciting, and they won’t settle for less than products that meet both of their goals. Flavorists and others in the food industry who are serious about creating successful new products this year will do well to keep health, social responsibility, and excitement in mind when it comes to novel food and beverage products.