Consumer preference for fruity, tropical flavors edges out emerging herbal, floral & spiced options

Citing data from IRI InfoScan, Mintel and the US Census Bureau, the flavor and fragrance company noted sales of carbonated soft drinks and juice – which “struggled to make significant gains”​ before the pandemic – increased 2.9 and 1.1 percentage points off strong bases respectively in 2020 from 2019.

At the same time, “other smaller categories already flourishing pre-pandemic continued on a steady, if not amplified, trajectory”​ through 2020, including sparkling water and energy drinks, which increased 0.8 and 0.7 percentage points, respectively, T. Hasegawa highlighted in a recent “Flavor Flash” report.

To maintain this momentum as restaurants begin to reopen and consumers return to offices and school, the flavor and fragrance company suggests that beverage manufacturers keep flavor innovation fresh, but familiar, and reserve more unique flavors and ingredients for specialty beverages that attract more niche or nuanced consumers.

“Trending flavors in non-alcoholic beverages will continue to shift and evolve, but will still remain rooted to familiar fruit flavor families,”​ T. Hasegawa notes, explaining when consumers were asked to create their ideal non-alcoholic flavored beverages, about half – across generations – opted for fruit flavors, including berry, citrus or tropical.

“Tropical flavors are a qualified standard in a non-alcoholic beverage flavor portfolio today,”​ with new products featuring tropical flavors increasing 30% between 2016 and 2020, according to T. Hasegawa.

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