June Trend Report

Bold & Bright

The beginning of a new season always comes with a sense of excitement. Is it still appropriate to blame summertime giddiness associated with June on that feeling of freedom on the last day of school? Nostalgia for childhood flavors and foods has been a noticeable theme the past few months in the Food and Beverage industry.

However, we anticipate the nostalgic feelings of freedom and endless childhood energy to be translated into experimental flavors this year. Bring on the sunshine, family vacations, loud flavors, and exotic fruits!

Bold Pairings

Snack food flavors have been extra bold heading into Summer 2024. A few of these “shock flavors” include Hidden Valley Ranch Ice Cream by Van Leeuwen, pink lemonade-flavored Kit Kats by Hershey, Sour Patch Kids Oreos, and Rooty Tooty Fresh n’ Fruity potato chips (designed to taste like strawberry-topped pancakes with a hint of bacon) by Lay’s & IHOP3. The “Bold & Bright” flavor trend likely piggybacks off the noticeable increase in experimental purchasing behavior among consumers. According to GlobalData’s TrendSights framework, food received the most revenue from trend investment while non-alcoholic beverages showed the highest growth4. Therefore, the Food & Beverage Industry especially should capitalize on these consumer insights with bold flavor pairings!

Bold flavor pairings are an innovative way to draw attention to your brand, drive consumer interest, and ultimately remind people of how great their old favorite flavors are to purchase after the shock flavor’s virality begins to fizzle out.

Heating Up

Interest in bold, spicy flavors is expected to continue to increase this summer. Data from the National Association of Convenience Retailers shows that spicy is the top flavor in the salty snacks category. In 2021, 66% of consumers surveyed expressed a preference for spicy and bold flavors, compared to only 25% in 2020. Millennials and Gen Z show the strongest preference for new tastes, with 45% indicating a preference for snacks with spicy flavors2.

Especially during warm summer months, spicy flavors are best paired with familiar sweet flavors- such as strawberry, mango, or pineapple. The popularity of botana sauces and chili oils is also on the rise in recent months, featuring specialty pepper varieties that bring in their own unique inherent flavor profile1.

A few of our favorite spicy flavors include:

  • Watermelon Habanero
  • Chili Mango
  • Guajillo Chili
  • Jalapeno Lime
  • Smokey Chipotle

Going Global

Food products that feature exotic, global flavors are expected to boom this summer! With the widespread use of social media and increase in experimental purchasing patterns among consumers, the globalization of ideas, flavors, and trends is becoming the new normal. According to the Specialty Food Association (SFA) Trendspotter Panel, Asian and African flavor profiles will be the most sought-after in the Food & Beverage Industry for the coming months5. Both Asian and African flavors tend to feature full-bodied, satisfyingly rich notes of umami with obscure regional ingredients.

Additionally, exotic fruit flavors are also expected to trend for the Summer season. Dragon fruit has piqued the interest of nearly six in ten shoppers, while guava has caught the attention of five in ten. More obscure flavors like ube, tamarind, and guanabana are also on consumers’ radar. Latinx shoppers in particular show a strong interest in tropical fruit flavors. For example, 46% of Latinx shoppers are intrigued by tamarind, and 31% have direct interest in guanabana6.

  • Guava Strawberry
  • Yuzu
  • Lychee
  • Pandan
  • Gochujang

References

1. https://hospitalityinsights.ehl.edu/food-and-beverage-industry-trends#:~:text=The%20top%20food%20and%20beverage%20trends%20revealed%201,or%20ODWs%208%20Alternative%20caffeine%20boost%20More%20items

2. https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/19904-slideshow-spicy-sensations-abound-in-recent-innovations

3. https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/sour-patch-kids-oreos-peeps-040529614.html?

4. https://www.globaldata.com/store/report/consumer-novel-and-experimental-trend-analysis/

5. https://www.grandecig.com/blog/top-food-beverage-industry-trends

6. https://advantagesolutions.net/news/summer-2024-flavor-trends-tropical-and-swicy/

 

 

Seeking Little Luxuries

If we’re being honest with ourselves, the phrase “treat yourself” is timeless. We don’t see it going out of style any time soon after observing consumer purchase patterns. The demand for luxury flavors has increased significantly in recent years.

Some speculate that the luxury flavor trend is due to habits people have created over the Pandemic, where little luxuries served as a replacement for fancy dinner reservations. A recent report found that 11.8% of “start-up” households- defined as falling into a lower income bracket or age demographic- were making a financial trade off in other spending categories to purchase premium, specialty foods1. This observation was also confirmed in a recent consumer study published by Zion Market Research that projects the Specialty Foods Market to have an CAGR of 5.5% between 2022 and 20282.



Our team of flavor experts think about luxury flavors as being those that are inherent in rare plant/animal species OR those that encompass the flavors of highly technical culinary dishes, expensive due to the time and energy it takes to create them. Both categories of luxury flavors are sure to stand out to consumers on retail shelves!

Natural Luxury Flavors
We consider “natural” luxury flavors to be those naturally found in rare raw ingredients. Many of these plant and animal species carry unique flavors that consumers associate with specialty foods and drinks. Natural luxury flavors are best paired with those that are down-to-earth and familiar among consumers to ensure that one doesn’t outshine another when paired together.

Many rare plant/animal ingredients can have a short shelf life and delicate flavors that make it difficult to extract by using the raw material in a food product directly. These highly sought-after flavors can be easily compromised during processing and packaging operations. Therefore, we recommend turning towards premium extracts and concentrated flavors instead to ensure flavor stability and consistency in a food or beverage product! A few of our favorite natural luxury flavor applications include:

  • Ruby Chocolate Crème filled Pistachio Croissants
  • Saffron Curry Sauce
  • Dragonfruit Energy Drinks
  • White Truffle Potato Chips
  • Manuka Honey & Hazelnut Mousse

Crafted Luxury Flavors
Unlike their natural counterparts, we define “crafted” luxury flavors to be those that are developed by unique, highly technical, or time-intensive ingredient preparation methods. In other words, these types of luxury flavors come exclusively from the extra time and attention they receive. For example, a humble grape is not considered to be a luxury commodity on its own. However, when grapes are purposefully grown in an exclusive location, fermented using only highly regulated methods, and aged for a minimum of 15 months, champagne is created. Another great example of a crafted luxury flavor can be found in Caciocavallo Podolico cheese. Not only does the raw cream need to come from a specific breed of Alpine cattle, but it must also be processed within 24 hours and aged for 6 years to acquire a complex flavor profile that is often described as resembling aromatic herbs, such as wild fennel, licorice and myrtle3. Crafted luxury flavors can be notoriously difficult to incorporate into food and beverage products due to their complexity. Cooking, fermenting, aging, roasting, etc. produce a wide spectrum of components that contribute to the finished flavor of a crafted dish. It often takes extensive analysis and precision that would be hard to achieve if an expertly formulated extract or flavor is not used. We’re here to help! A few of our favorite crafted luxury flavor application include:

  • Champagne Gelato
  • Caciocavallo Podolico Fondue Sauce
  • Foie Gras Flavored Vegetable Broth
  • Aceto Balsamic Vinegar Salad Dressing
  • Crème Brulee Cream Cheese Frosting

References

1. https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2021/05/04/Demand-for-premium-rises-It-s-not-just-wealthy-people-who-are-buying-more-expensive-stuff-IRI-says

2. https://www.zionmarketresearch.com/news/global-specialty-food-ingredients-market

3. https://www.finedininglovers.com/article/italian-delicacies-caciocavallo-podolico-cheese

 

Simplifying for Spring

Simple should never be equivalent to boring, if done correctly. Natural, earthy flavors are projected to be more popular than ever before among consumers looking for simplicity this Spring. Between Spring cleaning projects, fresh April showers and honoring Earth Day, this month is sure to get you in the mood for simple natural flavors to match.

While new flavors and experimental flavor combinations are fun to try, simple flavors are a great way to bring balance to these foods. We project the popularity of earth-inspired, natural flavors in the Food & Beverage Industry to soar this year as health conscious consumers begin to expand the array of earthy flavors they seek through the increased consumption of novel vegetables, exotic herbs, and fresh fruit being observed in the market.

Earth Inspired

Think matcha, truffle, ube, coffee, mushroom. Anything that comes from the ground or grown on a plant that has the bitter, umami notes that we often refer to as “earthy” is included in our “Earth Inspired” flavor category. Most of these flavors are acquired tastes that grow to become adored over time. Whether it be human curiosity or stubborn tenacity, earth inspired flavors manage to continue to become increasingly popular year after year.

Earthy flavors are often used to complement other flavors. The savory complexity they possess can balance out buttery seafood, salty cheeses, and even sweet desserts in a way that keeps you coming back to uncover new layers of flavor with every bite. A few of our favorite ways to incorporate earth inspired flavors into a food or beverage product include:

  • Ube Ice Cream
  • Matcha Cupcakes
  • Coffee Cream Sandwich Cookies
  • Truffle Infused Olive Oil
  • Porcini Mushroom Bone Broth

Natural & Fresh

Think vanilla bean, citrus, mint, cucumber, cocoa, almond, garlic. Each of these simple flavors have remained popular over generations due to the refreshing profile they can bring to any food or beverage item. Numbers don’t lie; market data clearly indicates that simple, natural flavors will continue to reign supreme for the next few years. The Global Vanilla Market alone is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.13% between 2024 and 2029 to reach over $1 billion in value by the end of this year1.

Fresh flavors are also expected to become increasingly popular as consumers become more health conscious. As familiarity with healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts increases, consumer demand for products that contain these types of natural flavors is sure to increase as well. A few of our favorite ways to use our premium fresh flavors include:

  • Cucumber Mint Popsicles
  • Black Garlic Infused Olive Oil
  • Vanilla Bean Protein Shakes
  • Toasted Almond Croissants
  • Mango Ice Cream

Resources

1. https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/global-vanilla-industry

Flavor Report: Cocoa Crisis

Dramatic headlines aside, chocoholics across the world are refusing to give up beloved chocolate flavored products. However, if the global cocoa supply continues to drop at the rate that it has been since January, chocolate may become a rare commodity in the Food & Beverage Industry as prices skyrocket. We’re giving you the latest insights on the cocoa market so you can make the best decisions regarding your chocolate flavored products in the months to come.

Origin of the Issue

Most of the world’s supply of cocoa beans comes from West Africa, with a moderate quantity also sourced from Brazil, Ecuador, and Indonesia. In fact, approximately two-thirds of the world’s cocoa production occurs in the West African nations of Ghana and Ivory Coast. Since the beginning of the year, this region has experienced disruptive weather patterns amplified by climate change and rising freight costs. A CNBC article reports that the El Nino weather phenomenon observed in West Africa this year may result in drought-like conditions that may permanently affect the yield of cocoa beans able to be produced there1.

Cocoa harvests occur only twice per year, with the “main harvest” occurring from October to March. Since it rained more than usual in Western Africa for the last few months of 2023, several plant pathogens- such as black pod disease & swollen shoot virus- were able to spread between farms more easily. Additionally, a powerful cyclone ravaged Brazil right before harvest season last year. These factors alone already threatened the overall cocoa output this year and further exasperated the global cocoa supply crisis we are currently witnessing.

Additional root causes of the cocoa crisis include the global fertilizer shortage and economic paranoia that stems from the 2022 war in Ukraine. Because cocoa is a crop that requires a significant amount of fertilizer to grow commercially, the reduced amount of fertilizer being exported greatly impacted the overall yield of existing cocoa trees before unexpected weather had an impact. Europe is also the world’s leading importer of cocoa beans. When analysts started to predict that the cost of oil, coal, and gas would spike due to the Russian invasion, chocolate makers began placing fewer orders for cocoa out of financial fear4. As soon as fear subsided, there was a boom in demand for cocoa again, but with a more limited supply than ever before.

How to Navigate the Changing Cocoa Market

As a result of the changing weather patterns and shipping challenges, the price of cocoa has spiked by more than $2,000 per metric ton since January, reaching a record high of over $7,000 according to data released by Bloomberg on March 12 and as shown in the figure below5. Since cacao trees take years to mature enough to produce cocoa beans, these high prices aren’t expected to return to baseline anytime soon. Paul Davis, President of the European Cocoa Association, estimates that it may be another 1.5 to 3 years before chocolate producers can relax again.

Source: McKeany-Flavell

While passing the cost on to consumers is one option to navigate the ominous climate of the cocoa market, it is important to consider other strategies to keep your chocolate flavored food or beverage product in line with competitors.

  • Diversification: Companies should consider diversifying their sources of cocoa to different regions of the world to mitigate the risk of supply disruptions from unfavorable weather pattern changes.
  • Sustainability initiatives: Engage in cocoa farmers that have sustainability initiatives in place to ensure that the long-term viability of cocoa crops is being supported.
  • Market Analysis: Staying up to date on cocoa market reports every month can help companies plan accordingly and re-evaluate where costs could be reduced in other ingredients.
  • Innovation: Supplement 100% real cocoa with a chocolate flavor or extract to enhance the rich, decadent profile of your chocolate product while using less of the actual commodity.

We proudly use fair-trade, organic cocoa beans to create our robust, perfectly sweet and nutty chocolate flavors and extracts. Reach out to us today for more information on our premium chocolate flavors and how Jogue can help you cut soaring cocoa costs while retaining flavor.

Resources:

1. https://www.cnbc.com/2024/02/08/cocoa-prices-surge-to-all-time-highs-as-bad-weather-hurts-west-africa-crop-yield.html
2. https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/commodities/chocolate-west-africa-cocoa-beans-supply-crunch-prices-suppliers-commodities-2024-2
3. McKeany-Flavell. “Cocoa and Chocolate Monthly Update”. 2024, Feb.
4. https://time.com/6291600/cocoa-chocolate-high-price-russia/
5. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-03-12/cocoa-rises-above-7-000-a-ton-for-first-time-in-new-york

How to: Create Fantasy Flavors

The fascination with abstract, futuristic concepts has officially penetrated the Food & Beverage Industry! Flavors such as “Unicorn”, “Mermaid”, “Galaxy”, and “Starlight” were all fan favorite flavors launched in 2023, and the trend is expected to continue. Between the Great Northern Solar Eclipse happening on April 8 and the first crewed moon mission planned for later this summer, space-themed flavors are projected to be more popular than ever before this Spring!

Additionally, new innovations in the food & beverage space (edible glitter, bold colors, unusual textures, eye-catching layers, etc.) are likely to continue to capture the attention of children in 2024. Starbucks, Little Debbie’s, and Snack Pack have all witnessed success from launching unicorn flavored frappuccinos, snack cakes and layered puddings, respectively. Teens and adults have even caught the unicorn curiosity bug: Bang Energy launched a “Rainbow Unicorn” flavored energy drink that went viral on social media.

When it comes to the world of fantasy flavors, the options are endless! While standing out among the landscape of increasingly unique flavors may seem overwhelming, our team of flavor experts have simplified the fantasy flavor creation process into 3 simple steps.

Step 1: Research Your Customer Base

Although this may seem like the obvious first step, it’s arguably the most important. For example, companies marketing towards an adult demographic- such as Coca-Cola and Torani- likely experienced the success they did with fantasy flavors from space-themed products whereas brands like Lucky Charms and Little Debbie’s strategically went for a kid-centric approach that involved flavor concepts such as “unicorn”, “mermaid”, and “fairy dust”.

This first step is admittedly more so about marketing than it is about flavors, but peaking consumer interest to set expectations of a mind-blowing flavor experience is pivotal to a product’s success in the market. Before launching any line extension project, knowing your customer base well enough to cater to their desires will lead to fantasy flavor success!

Step 2: Define a Flavor Profile to Match the Concept

Creativity is key in this step. Fantasy flavors don’t come attached to preconceived expectations. However, it’s fascinating how some of these flavors become defined over time. The “Moose Tracks” ice cream flavor is now almost universally accepted as being a vanilla flavored ice cream with a chocolate fudge swirl riddled with mini peanut butter cups shaped like a moose hoof. Although Moose Tracks is a less abstract concept than several of the fantasy flavors launched within the past year, it still may not be long before we start noticing consistencies among several of the most popular ones hitting the market.

For the creators of Torani’s new Galaxy Syrup, “galaxy” tastes like cotton candy and blue raspberry. Coca-Cola’s Starlight Coke is described as a mix of raspberry and s’mores type flavors. Little Debbie’s Unicorn Snack Cakes are a blend of ultra-sweet cake batter type flavors, strawberry, and lavender. Meanwhile, the unicorn flavor was interpreted very differently in Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino- which is described as having a sweet crème flavored base blended with mango and sour blue raspberry flavored syrups.

Narrowing down the scope of options by defining a flavor blend that not only works well as a seamless combination but also somewhat reflects the overall feeling of the fantasy concept chosen in Step 1 is easier said than done. Inspiration can be taken from anywhere, but a few of our favorite ideas are below:

  • “Shooting Star” Sparkling Water – Mango + Lemongrass + Ginger
  • “Fairydust” Cupcakes – Strawberry + Dragonfruit + Cotton Candy + Crystallized Wild Honey
  • “Black Hole” Pasta Sauce – Black Sesame + Black Garlic + Black Truffle
  • “Electric Thunder” Energy Drink – Sour Apple + Yuzu + Apricot
  • “Magical Cloud” Ice Cream – Cake Batter + Toffee + Blue Raspberry

Step 3: Refine

As you can imagine, it’s easy to go overboard working with limitless flavor possibilities. There are so many fun flavors that can be thrown together to fit the fantasy concept. If it’s pulled off well, a fantasy flavor is bound to make headlines. However, for every successful “unicorn” food or beverage on the market, there are likely at least five that flop.

Turning to flavor scientists to help masterfully balance competing flavors to result in a novel flavor experience is key to helping you refine a fantasy flavor. If you plan to jump on the trend this month, be sure to choose premium made-to-order flavors that will be sure to set your fantasy flavor project above the rest!

References

  1. 25 food and drink trends you’ll see everywhere in 2024 – delish. (n.d.). https://www.delish.com/food/g46170754/restaurant-food-drink-trend-predictions-2024/
  2. Zigoris, J. (2023, November 23). We tried Torani’s 2024 syrup flavor of the year, and we have thoughts. The San Francisco Standard. https://sfstandard.com/2023/11/22/bay-area-torani-syrup-galaxy-flavor-year-2024/
  3. Quittner, E. (2022, June 29). What does unicorn flavor actually taste like?. Food52. https://food52.com/blog/27502-unicorn-flavor
  4. Starbucks new color and flavor changing unicorn frappuccino. (n.d.-b). https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2017/starbucks-unicorn-frappuccino/

Expecting Roses

In addition to a bouquet of Valentines Day roses, people also seem to be looking for botanical flavors in food & beverage options too! Botanical flavors are associated with beautiful, bold colors and a delicate complex flavor that feels truly premium. In fact, floral flavor profiles have grown 91% in consumer interest the past 2 years1. With so much love growing for botanicals, getting a dozen floral flavors in your inventory seems like it might just lead to an engagement…

Botanical Beverages

Thanks to the inherent botanical flavor of most teas, incorporating some of these floral flavors into other beverages is a natural fit. 55% of new beverages launched in the past two years featured a floral flavor to meet consumer demand, and it’s very likely that we will see the botanical flavor trend continue into this Spring2.

In addition to the attractive, sophisticated flavor profile, many consumers also reach for botanical flavors to impart a sense of well-being, calm, and healthfulness. For example, lavender is typically associated with relaxation while elderflower and ginger flavors have an immune-boosting connotation. Either way, adding a botanical flavor to a new product is sure to impart a feel-good effect to consumers! Our botanical flavors and their potential beverage applications could include:

  • Strawberry hibiscus flavored iced tea
  • Honey lavender flavored cold brew
  • Cherry blossom flavored sparkling water
  • Rose water coconut flavored coffee creamer
  • Elderflower flavored liqueur

Floral Foods

Since many botanical flavors pair well with other sweet ingredients, they lend themselves perfectly to bakery/confectionary applications. Currently, these unique, aromatic flavors are being combined with familiar flavors such as apple, pear, blackberry, etc. to create sophisticated pastries, unexpected chocolates, and exciting candies. In fact, as floral flavors become more mainstream, we might even see them start to shine on their own in the years ahead.

Aside from sweets, we are also seeing botanical flavors start to make an appearance in savory products & condiments, offering an elevated, premium re-invention of classic dishes. From 1,964 U.S. consumers, 21% reported that they would like to see more floral/herbal flavor options on restaurant menus when dining out4. Whether it be lemongrass chicken or rosewater & basil infused olive oil, the possibilities for botanical flavors in the future are endless! With a CAGR of 5.1% between now and 2028, the floral flavors market is likely here to stay3. Botanical flavor application in food products could include:

  • Strawberry Basil flavored toaster pastries
  • Orange Blossom flavored stir fry sauce
  • Jasmine & Grapefruit flavored macaroons
  • Rose infused chocolate truffles
  • Blueberry Lavender flavored ice cream
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