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2022 Flavour Trends | A Complete Guide | Condensed Edition

Our extremely popular year-end review of 2022 flavour trends has finally arrived! This publication is unique, as it includes flavour trends from a variety of geographical locations, covers the full spectrum of NPD, it’s FREE, very extensive & can essentially be considered a literature review. Trends usually originate from individuals, small businesses & restaurants, not from multi-nationals. Use this information to get a better appreciation for current global flavour trends from various levels & segments of the F&B industry.  We have focused on presenting trends from about anyone who is utilizing flavours to sell food & beverages, From over 106 global locations & a total of 4142 information sources, it is a true reflection of what is currently going on with regards to flavour trends, at all levels. This information is not purchased, biased, opiniated, recycled or over simplified. Unlike many flavour houses, we will not predict the “flavour of the year” or the “top flavours for 2022”. We prefer to categorize & showcase all the worlds trends, since they are in constant evolution, mutation & fusion. What is trendy in one market, can simply be ordinary, very popular or even not compatible.

Similar to last years edition, we have prepared a condensed & an exclusive NPD edition. This special version was specifically created for product developers, R&D, sales & marketing departments from the F&B industries as well as for culinary professionals. It consists of nine main flavour trends categories, with over 1200 flavour ideas, 304 flavour quotations & many examples of flavour launches for a variety of NPD launches. The condensed version simply contains about 1/3 of the Information contained in the exclusive NPD edition.

The numbers | Exclusive NPD edition

Reviewed posts
Information source countries


Examples of millennial flavour marketing


Examples of zoomer flavour marketing


Main flavour trends


Inherent trends


Trendy flavours


Flavour quotations

The trends

Indulgence, nostalgia and comfort

  • While nostalgia is a perennial flavor trend, the global pandemic has triggered homesickness for the recent past. Many consumers are turning to familiar flavors & products that they consider comforting based on the happier times they recall from as little as a year ago.
  • According to leading industry analysts IWSR one trend to emerge sees consumers turning to products with nostalgic flavours, as they seek both comfort & indulgence in these difficult days.
  • “After a year filled with uncertainty, consumers are craving a return to normalcy, & that will be reflected in their flavor choices…we expect to see consumers seek out classic flavors as a way to bring comfort & familiarity back into their day-to-day lives.
  • Classic mood-boosting flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, dessert & bakery-inspired flavors are in demand. & indulgent food like carbohydrate-heavy foods can evoke childhood memories like pizza, pasta, fries, warming foods with a meaty taste, cheese or plant-based comfort foods.”
  • Recent food trends have shown that people are craving nostalgic flavors. While that taste of familiar has a touch of comfort, it isn’t just the same, boring treat. While the flavor has a connection to that favorite food memory, the new bite needs to have a touch of excitement.
  • “A world that is perpetually going through changes makes us all lean on the past for comfort, & for most of us, childhood favorite foods & flavors trigger nostalgia. Biologically, our brain reacts to happy memories by firing neurons that create a flood of positive feelings through the release of feel-good chemicals that is akin to being rewarded.”
  • Given that framework, expect “comfort” to be another word that dominates, as consumers seek to console themselves in any way they can.
  • The most considerable demands have been for flavors with a “health halo over the past year.” “This has often meant prioritizing more classic flavors, such as vanilla for bakery & confectionery, or citrus for beverages. ”With the growing importance of the “home as a hub,” this “adds a new facet & influences food & beverage innovation. ”To turn eating at home into a taste experience, premium & comfort flavors are increasing in popularity.
  • Flavors may provide a soothing constant to people within the current social & political climate. While nostalgia & indulgence will be sought by consumers in 2021, classic flavors may return in more sophisticated forms.
  • The pandemic resurged familiar & nostalgic tastes, which is anticipated to continue as people seek comfort from their food & beverages. Classic desserts such as brownie, s’mores, & custard are featured as flavors in different categories, including those in the “sweet” & “beverage” (dairy & hot) charts.
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Mutations & fusions

  • Innovation in hybrid flavors is gathering pace as consumers favor food & beverages that broaden the dimensions of indulgence. According to a 2021 Innova Flavor Survey, one in three consumers globally agreed that interesting/exotic combinations influence their flavor choices in food & beverages. Innovations can feature in areas such as cross-category mashups, hybrids within beverages or sweet & savory combinations. Hybrid combinations were spotlighted in Innova Market Insight’s 2020 overarching Top Ten Trends with “Hello Hybrids.”
  • Consumers continue to seek comfort from food as they navigate the rise of new coronavirus variants, but many also are bored by the same-old, same-old after nearly a year at home – creating an opportunity for products that pair bold new flavors with the familiar & offer elevated twists on classics.
  • While global trends get a local makeover, regional stalwarts are also being brought into modern relevance, & flavors 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.
  • Take American-Chinese in unexpected directions by mashing it with other world cuisines. Here, the thick strips of smoked bacon are glazed with a harissa-General Tso’s sauce & baked to deliciousness. Mash-ups are nothing new…but powerhouse flavor combinations always feel fresh & relevant. The influence of Latin American & Eastern Mediterranean cuisines has been well chronicled. & the comfort-centric positioning of kung pao, orange chicken & General Tso’s is well-established. Now, consider melding the craveable flavors of those cuisines & look to the opportunities they present. This modern mash-up introduces more safe adventure into our current comfort-centric food world. Forward-thinking chefs are always envisioning new possibilities to tantalize consumers’ taste buds with crave-inducing builds that feel effortless. Here are ideas to set your operation’s recipe development in motion.
  • Taking into consideration that modern-day consumers are prioritising their well-being bakery & gourmet industry has been experimenting with wholesome flavours & ingredients, alongside turning to functional or plant-based foods & twists on classic products to avoid menu fatigue. With consumers keen on replicating restaurant experiences at home, one can expect to witness more wholesome gourmet condiments, cooking sauces & cocktail mixes.
  • The past years has been all about elaborate & blended flavours & fusion desserts, the upcoming year is sure to perceive some of these healthy ingredient’s trends being carried forward in a grander way. This will pave the way towards presentable plated food & desserts.
  • Surprising yet accessible flavor combinations are created by pairing mainstream fruit flavors with trending but less-expected tastes with sensory appeal.
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Bold and unique

  • Bland is boring. From new to twists on traditional flavours, bold food flavors will be popular.
  • It’s not just fandom that keeps spicy menu items around. Spicy can be a hard category to define. While some customers like a hint, others look for a level that pushes the limits. But as seekers of all things hot continue to ask for more, in multiple forms, restaurants are listening. & whatever you do, don’t call spicy a trend. trends & popularity of certain flavors & items evolve, but customers are always going to crave that spicy classic they know & love, or innovative item they’re interested in trying. There’s something about spice that ignites the senses & evokes more flavor than a regular item, & I don’t see that love for the category ever diminishing.”
  • Hot peppers from many cultures are appearing on their own & as ingredients in condiments & other foods. The peppers are more than just hot, however: Their complex flavors combine “heat” with other nuances. This moves hot food beyond the “mild, medium & hot” parameters with which most Americans are familiar. “The heat index has become more sophisticated, involving what the pepper is, where it’s from & what it does to food.”
  • Chefs today are exploring smoke’s potential & pushing the boundaries on how it’s used. As a subtle component, it helps build craveability. It can also punctuate a dish or a drink as a high-impact ingredient, a handy tool when searching for contrast, pizzazz or entertainment value.
  • The rise in hot honey coincides with the rise in desire for chilli & hot sauces. 27% said they had seen spicy foods popularity rise during 2020 & almost a quarter (24%) said they’d want to try spicy foods for the first time in 2021.
  • The trend toward savory-sweet-spicy options is one to keep an eye on.
  • “From a younger consumer point of view, extreme heat is considered something to brag about.” In addition, the stress of the pandemic is another key factor driving the demand for spicy taste experiences. “Extreme heat can be a way to throw caution to the wind & fly in the face of nearly two years’ worth of anxiety & threat. So, I’d expect this trend to continue over the next couple of years.” Research from Datassential tells an impressive tale about the domination of spicy hot flavor profiles in dipping sauces. Tracking menu mentions over the last four years, Datassential found a whopping seven different flavor systems increasing their presence in the dipping sauce segment with triple-digit percentages.
  • When honing a brand’s off-premise strategy, assertive flavor building in sauces is critical. This aggressive approach compensates for the muted tones that are inevitable in delivery & takeout. Temperature & texture often take a hit during transport, &, of course, no matter how clever the packaging & the marketing, the hospitality that serves up the dish & represents the brand is only a soft backdrop in off-premise dining. Heat, of course, opens a direct pathway to punching up flavor in the sauce category, helping compensate for loss of other attributes & delivering a flavor-forward, unique & memorable experience.
  • Consumers today are searching for bolder & more flavorful foods from around the world, & they seek to bring new flavorings into cooking at home. …they want bold, approachable flavors, & they want to be able to add them easily to any meal.”
  • Barbecue” has been spotlighted as the top trending flavor of 2021 for snacks, meats, meat alternatives, vegetables, sauces, marinades & seasonings. The trend was established following an extensive review of research in emerging flavors. Cooking with fire, the world’s oldest method of preparing food, has captured the imagination of consumers. “This shows that consumers everywhere are looking for new & ethnic-inspired specific tastes – such as Korean, Texas or Brazilian, in various meat & snack products.” “Consumers love the balance of sweetness, salt, spices & smoke that seems to enhance virtually any application & we regularly witness new barbecue-flavored items showing up on menus & in stores. ”Worldwide, 39 barbecue variations have been identified, ranging from Memphis & Texas-inspired flavors from North America, kebab in the Middle East, yakitori, char sui & tandoori in Asia, khorovats from Armenia & jerk flavor from Latin America. Barbecue has also begun to enter the mash-up trend, with curry, sweet chili & beer-inspired flavors on the rise. The most significant growth potential lies in Asia, with NPD launches up 21% in the last five years. More than 33% of all sauces & seasoning products launched simultaneously display “barbecue” on the packaging & 30% of new snack products.
  • According to Innova Market Insights, global BBQ flavored food & beverage launches have grown an average of 19% between 2015 & 2019. “Now that people are grilling more, we’ve seen an increased interest in BBQ flavors that are regionally diverse ranging from sweet to smoky.
  • Companies like PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz, & Anheuser-Busch are embracing wild new flavors that seem novel & extreme. But upon closer inspection, they’re actually just remixing flavors we already know & love. These brand mashups have been on-trend for some time, but COVID-19 has cemented the practice. Lockdown offered food & beverage companies an unparalleled captive audience of people starved as much for comfort as they are novelty. Call it the new nostalgia. The flavors themselves aren’t fresh, but they are placed into surprising contexts to offer a combination of comfort & adventure. Sometimes those flavors are strangely intriguing, like Pepsi Apple Pie cola, & sometimes they are nothing short of a gag-worthy food troll, like Pumpkin Spice Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. During the pandemic. “We’ve notably seen some of our clients who generally stay a little more conservative are [now] happy to be a little more adventurous [if] not wildly outside of the box. “Everybody is just looking to stay interested & make tomorrow a little different than yesterday. You’re in the same location, wearing the same thing. “Because everyone’s world has gotten a lot smaller, from travel & restaurants being closed, things you’d normally do to keep your ongoing ritual more interesting, you have to bring more of that into the home.” Food companies say that this new nostalgia isn’t going anywhere soon. But will we still be craving comfort when the world reopens?
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Added value and healthy

  • “With consumers seeking healthy halo ingredients, trend spotter data shows that immunity-focused drinks are starting to make an impact across foodservice. We can also predict that demand for authentic fruit & berry flavors will increase beyond autumn 2021.” Flavors such as raspberry, cherry & cranberry are gaining traction this year. Flavors such as raspberry, cherry & cranberry are gaining traction this year & blackcurrant, elderberry & cloudberry will be a future focus of beverage innovation.
  • Drawn to the flavors, colors & textures of sea vegetables & sea greens, chefs are exploring the possibilities, leaning on their culinary expertise to discover creative ways to bring seaweed onto trend-forward menus. The time is right for this kind of flavor adventure, buoyed by a number of factors. “Seaweed was named as one of the top Future 50 Foods by the World Wildlife Fund-U.K., & for good reason—its nutrient-rich profile & abundance make it a true superfood. In addition, its unique & unmistakable flavor adds a dynamic that few ingredients can.”
  • “As we head into a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, comfort is an overriding theme,” Ms. Purcell said. “The events of the past 18 months have consumers seeking out familiar & comforting foods & beverages, but often with a twist for some excitement, or with specific diets & health concerns in mind.
  • Consumer research revealed that botanical extracts generate several emotions, including energy, excitement, creativity & fun. More than 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific & Africa were surveyed.
  • Utilizing things such as sweet citrus, berries, & tropical fruits like mango & pineapple, can add both health benefits & rounded sweetness to otherwise savory dishes,”. Botanicals like oranges & berries as on-trend flavor choices that play into the consumer desire for clean-label health & wellness tastes.
  • Products that tap into the desire for something really indulgent & luxurious, whilst still being healthy is trendy.
  • Another trend likely to gain steam is in flavours that have functional benefits around immunity & related issues like sleep, mood, depression, inflammation & gut health.
  • “Due to the ongoing pandemic, any callouts with anti-microbial properties, including flavors using essential oils or ingredients, will be popular.
  • Flavors based on fruits & vegetables may target both the health & comfort categories will be popular.
  • Botanical flavours taking patrons down the memory lane: The traditional botanical & floral flavours are being seen in a variety of products. In the subsequent years, these will be seen in more applications.
  • The focus on health & wellness is heightened, & consumers are looking to food & beverage to further their goals. Brands have an opportunity to combine healthy ingredients with comforting flavor profiles. To encourage innovation in the space.
  • Foods that help the microbiome are on trend.
  • Refreshing, uplifting flavors that are associated with well-being, like citrus, fruits & berries, are appealing in colder & warmer seasons alike. We anticipate consumers will be more adventurous with their food & beverage choices. We expect product developers to combine comfort foods with exotic ingredients, such as frozen desserts that pair chocolate with heat-inducing spices like cayenne or ginger…as we emerge from the pandemic, there will be bursts of exuberance & an interest in making up for lost time & lost eating experiences. However, health & wellness will never be far from our minds, so new botanicals will emerge.”
  • The ‘no drinking for the next year’ trend embodies the ideals of more people than ever with the ‘better for you’ trend & consumers have latched onto it with conscious conviction when it comes to the alcoholic beverages they choose to consume. “More & more of us are conscious of what we’re putting into our body – & that’s a good thing! They are looking for options that are lower sugar, lower calorie, vegan friendly & with no artificial flavours or preservatives,”
  • Health & wellness is a permatrend that has taken on new weight thanks to the circumstances of the last year,” “We’ll continue to see trends favoring flavor profiles associated with functional benefits, like fruits & botanicals.” These plant-based ingredients are poised to show up in categories that already lend themselves to health-conscious consumers, such as protein bars & nutritional beverages.
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  • Globally inspired flavors have been an upward trend the last few years, but I expect this trend to accelerate because of the pandemic.”
  • Chinese food will likely enjoy a resurgence of sorts with operators using it as a framework for innovation in non-Chinese categories, like mashups, but that will be tricky depending on US/China relations — any new conflicts. “The key engine to industry innovation has been significantly negatively impacted — namely fine dining — which will leave a lot of the innovation to casual dining & fast casual…this means innovation will be a bit closer in as those segments need to appeal to a broader array of consumers than fine dining does.”
  • Chinese American cuisine had delivery down way before it became popular. It is also a taste of comfort for people of all ages & nationalities despite where they grew up. While it may have been out-of-fashion for a while, we believe Chinese-American food is about to make a comeback. Chinese American food presents an opportunity for reinvention, offering people the tastes they know & love but with a bit more transparency to ingredients & where they come from. Overall, Chinese has reigned as a comfort-food favorite for decades in the US, thanks to a foundational cuisine that balances sweet, hot, savory, sour & umami beautifully.
  • Global innovation in the desert & savoury demographic will continue to surge in the coming years & looking ahead, the industry aims to seek fusions of diverse cultures adding more innovation in the dessert spectrum.
  • Although certainly not new, mash-ups that are forged through historical circumstance—colonialism & immigration—are perhaps two of the biggest drivers. This type of culturally diverse fusion cooking is making significant inroads on menus. & with that, it’s breathing new life into global flavor discoveries made manifest in dishes that are wholly original, reassuringly familiar & incredibly craveable. Pan-African flavors are becoming more prevalent on menus.
  • Consumers are seeking authentic global flavors on quick-service and fast-casual restaurant menus, and they are willing to pay a premium for these culinary experiences. “Global flavors are among the fastest growing across a variety of entree categories and mealparts,” Technomic concluded in its recent Flavor Consumer Trend Report. The report found that Mexican flavors are among the most popular and/or fastest-growing flavors in many types of dishes, from chicken to steak to vegetable sides.
  • The popularity of Mexican flavors coincides with consumers’ growing interest in trying new foods as their dining habits return to pre-pandemic patterns, and also with consumers’ interest in spicy flavors. Mexican food also offers consumers some of the most craveable attributes of any type of food. According to Technomic’s Flavor report, craveability drives trial and traffic, with cheesy flavors, savory flavors and spicy flavors as the three most craveable flavors. In addition, 53% of consumers said their preferred spice range on a scale of one (not spicy at all) to 10 (extremely spicy) was between seven and 10. Hot sauce use has also increased since 2019, aligning with the increased preference for very spicy flavors.
  • Asian flavours particularly Japanese, lend bakers the prospect to try some unusual flavours.
  • Chefs understand its potential, using sauces to introduce a craveable mouthfeel & lift the experience into singular status. Modern menu development sees an exploration of global pantries for bold, on-trend flavors that mash up well with everything from barbecue sauce to hollandaise. There’s also a reimagining of nostalgic sauces, with chefs updating them with deft flavor touches.
  • Asian flavors from Japan, South Korea, the Philippines & Thailand lead the way.
  • PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay US Snack Index, created through research conducted April 28-30 among a national sample of 2,199 adults, was released in May. It revealed 32% of Americans prefer new, spicy & bold flavors, which compared to 25% in 2020. Among millennials & Gen Z, 45% said they prefer new, spicy & bold flavors in 2021. Those flavors come from various cultures & continents. “We have seen a considerable increase in demand over the past few years for international snack flavors,”
  • It’s no surprise that international flavors like these have grown in popularity over the past 12 to 18 months since they offer excitement to consumers who have been stuck at home during the pandemic & unable to enjoy experiences like travel or restaurant dining,…the snack itself is usually a familiar staple comfort food like chips, crackers or popcorn, but the added flavor is where the opportunity for exploration & innovation exists.”
  • With the absence of travel & consumers spending more time at home, restaurants may provide the opportunity for diners to supplement lost experiences with global flavors & dishes. More than 70% of US consumers enjoy trying new experiences, including food & drink flavor discovery. Gen Z & millennials had the most diverse palates & showed the strongest interest in international cuisine. Younger consumers were most interested in trying African & Korean dishes, along with Japanese, Indian, Latin American & Middle Eastern
  • Consumers have leaned into the cultural melting pot in recent years, with the growth of fusion foods on US menus outpacing all other cuisines between 2015 & 2019, according to the report. Latin dishes also made waves on menus, with the incidence of Latin cuisine increasing 121% during the period, driven by trending dishes like queso fundido, empanada, churros & carne asada.
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Vegan and mocktails

  • Spirit flavors also are gaining traction, especially with consumers who may have imbibed too much in 2020. They still want the flavors, but without the alcohol. “As the sober curious are looking to ‘beer-less’ beers & ‘alcohol-less’ spirits, traditionally indulgent & child-friendly categories, such as ice creams & candies are being taken over by spirit flavors,”. “We are seeing an increased number of launches of non-alcoholic beverages that carry spirit flavors & are positioned to be as enticing as their alcoholic counterparts.” “In the confectionery space, bourbon-infused chocolates, chocolate bombs filled with liqueur, Irish cream brownies, rosé-flavored ice cream & chocolate cake made with a rich stout are just a few examples of elevated desserts that consumers seek to treat themselves.”
  • Cocktail or mocktail-infused desserts will become more mainstream: Making use of them in deserts has been finding a lot of acceptance in the modern gastronomy phase. Cocktail-inspired deserts like a Bloody Mary cream pie, gimlet mousse, a bourbon cake, Prosecco-soaked sponges & cakes inspired by cocktails, such as piña colada cake have marked their place in the dessert menus. Alcohol-based ice creams have also become a huge hit & will be a definite & evolved flavour this year.
  • Vegan offerings were branching out into new cuisines, targeting adventurous consumers with cravings for grilled Middle Eastern meats, Asian satays & the Mediterranean palate. In line with Innova Market Insights’ number two Top Trend for 2022, “Plant-Based: The Canvas for Innovation,” plant-based foods will continue to be an integral part of all restaurants & grocery stores. In addition to this trend, there is a growth in superfood inclusions, such as” berries, green tea, ginger, nuts & seeds which are proving popular in bakery products.”
  • Market research firm Innova Market Insights has found that while flavour is still the most important choice factor & purchase driver for ice cream shoppers, other trends can help build a competitive edge. These include non-dairy formulations, low sugar recipes, cleaner labels & ethical ingredients. Non-dairy ice cream has been on trend in recent years. Launch numbers rose at a CAGR of almost 30% over 201–2020 & non-dairy lines now account for 10% of all ice cream introductions. This rises to as much as one-quarter of all activity in North America & one-fifth of launches in Australasia. Innova found that where alternative positionings are used to target specific consumer interests, taste choices remain vital. Taste can be even more important in healthier recipes, helping to cement an indulgent image. For example, salted caramel is one of the biggest winners in recent flavour development, Innova says, rising to fifth in the flavour rankings.
  • With recent statistics predicting that plant-based eating will continue to grow in popularity, particularly with U.S. shoppers who have decided to make their newfound vegan meat purchases a long-term habit.
  • Consumers are more cautious about their health & wellbeing because of the pandemic &, after months of being cooped up indoors, many will want to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Six out of 10 global consumers are increasingly looking for food & beverage products that support their immune health, with one in three saying that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019.
  • The dialed-down spirits category record growth in our stores this year. With millennials & Gen Z-ers dabbling in “drysolation” during the pandemic, we don’t see the sober-curious mindset going away anytime soon. Enter a new lineup of drinks that provide the taste & sophistication of cocktails without the buzz. If you want to shake things up, there are elegant mocktail options to explore.
  • The trendspotting panel predicted non-alcoholic spirits, wines & mixers will continue helping non-drinkers imbibe without compromise in the year ahead. “The low- & no-alcohol trend is booming, & one new area within it is de-alcoholised wine,” said Kara Nielsen, director of food & drink for WGSN & a member of the SFA’s trendspotting panel. Other on-trend products include cocktail-flavor infusions in ice cubes, a pickle juice chaser, a cocktail mix that doubles as a recovery shot for runners & syrups flavored with turmeric & ginger.
  • Another trend largely centered on holistic wellness is influencing the adult beverage category as well: the rise of mocktails & non-alcoholic beverages for teetotalers or the “sober curious.” A new analysis of Nielsen data conducted by Goldman Sachs Equity Research has found that sales of non-alcoholic drinks rose 12.9% for the two-week period & dollar sales climbed 22.6% on a two-year stacked basis. Because mocktails & alcohol-free products are typically sold in the same department as adult beverages, grocers can keep an eye on trends & new product offerings that appeal to those exploring a sober lifestyle.
  • While the sober curious trend has seen a post-pandemic surge, it is considered mainstream by some in the industry. “Every restaurant or hotel should already have a great list of non-alcoholic cocktails for customers.” “These beverages are getting their due just like vegan menu choices.” But there’s a definite movement to trash the name “mocktail.” Many think it sounds like a mockery; a lesser drink. Industry pros agree that someone has to come up with a catchier, less clunky name for what many menus now simply categorize as “non-alcoholic beverages” on their lists. Then there are those consumers in what’s called the “California sober” group. They don’t drink alcohol but are looking to socialize around cannabis-enhanced beverages.
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  • “There’s a huge opportunity to tap into this trend with new tropical fruit flavours such as banana, which is a key flavour trend, with consumers seeking out holiday-style drinks.
  • In a trend analysis by Innova Market Insights, peach was pegged as the fastest growing flavor observed in festive desserts & indulgent tea launches. Kiwi, strawberries, bananas & citrus saw a surge in popularity.
  • “The popularity of fruity hard seltzers is a testament to the human (& American) nature of wanting less palate-challenging drinks,”
  • In 2022, expect beverage makers to continue emphasizing the presence of familiar flavors in drinks across categories, while childhood favorites like watermelon, strawberry, cherry, apple & grape will see a resurgence as consumers reach for those immediately recognizable & nostalgic profiles.
  • If you’re wondering why the labels & ingredient lists on so many beers suddenly include mango, grapefruit, cherries, & raspberries, you might want to thank a young adult at your local Starbucks.
  • Watermelon continues to grow 40 percent year over year among mainstream audiences, according to Nielsen data. Watermelon is a popular seasonal beverage flavor that never goes out of style. According to Datassential, more than 75% of consumers wish there were more items with watermelon on menus. Watermelon on menus has grown by 54% in the past four years, making it one of the fastest-growing fruits, according to a 2019 MenuTrends study by Datassential.
  • Peach-based products such as Lipton’s peach tea with honey, & Badoit’s peach flavored sparkling flavored water in France both tag either low calorie or low sugar bases, reinforcing positive brand connotations, & favorable views on peach as a flavor base.”
  • Fruit dominates sugar confectionery flavors this year, with brown flavors, such as fudge & toffee, in a “distant second,” according to Innova Market Insights data. The top six flavors in the category have remained solid for many years but beyond this, there are more frequent changes of focus. For example, green apple has very much come to the fore in recent years at the expense of red apple, which was previously popular. Exotic & tropical fruit flavors have also performed well.
  • Interestingly, grape-based products have also made an appearance in 2021, which is fighting off current stereotypes of grape flavored beverages being high in sugar & bad for health, especially in parts of West Europe where they have less-than-favorable links to low quality.
  • Strawberry & mango had strong performance as preferred flavors for summer LTOs in popular iced teas & lemonade platforms, as well as in the addition of real fruit pieces & flavors in coffees. Additionally, using seasonal fruits at their freshest adds a premium touch to LTO offerings.
  • Citrus & authentic fruit flavors saw a revival this summer. The analysis details this year’s top trends in the summer beverage market across foodservice in Europe & Russia.
  • Looking at over 300 Limited Time Offerings (LTOs) across 12 European markets, the research reveals that strawberry has come out as the top drink flavor during summer of this year, as the European coffee shop market bounces back with NPD levels close to those last seen pre-COVID-19.
  • Growth within the hard tea sector mirrors the flavor profiles used in the RTD area, which include peach, raspberry & lemon. Meanwhile, the US market prefers mainstream flavors with subtle twists. The UK prefers gin-based seltzers, while the US market also has many tequila varieties. “There’s always going to be this difference in this area in how people approach hard tea. Classic pairings include green tea with tropical fruits & white tea with berry profiles such as raspberry & strawberry. Botanicals are usually infused in either variety. Flavor inspiration can also be taken from hard seltzers with core profiles like lemon, tropical & berry. “It’s important that with this being a new category, the flavors paired with tea are kept quite classic with a subtle twist, namely, white peach tea, Sicilian lemon tea.
  • There are no stand-out growth categories within flavor. The core chocolate, vanilla & fruit categories are all growing slightly ahead of the total market so the emphasis remains on these staple choices. Within fruit flavors, however, choices are diversifying more widely, with strawberry & banana each gaining ground within the rankings in recent years. At the same time, more niche fruits are also performing well, including guava, lime, peach & yuzu. Tradition is crucial in this market, with butter & buttermilk flavors also performing well as part of this theme. Nuts & brown flavors continue to flourish within chocolate NPD this year, with hazelnut, almond & caramel crowned as the most important flavors overall.
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  • 81% of cider drinkers are from Gen Z & millennial demographics, who “like to experiment & look for unique & unusual flavours.”
  • Social media is the largest influencer today, & that has only increased during the pandemic,”. “Consumers are tired of home recipes & see ethnic cuisine as adventurous. They want cuisine experiences that previously may have come through travel. Now, experiences are achieved through ‘virtual travel.’ They learn about trends, [&] then buy products in pursuit of that international food experience. Restaurants used to lead this, but COVID has stifled that a lot.”
  • Having more flavors than you can count & limited-edition versions too have made Pringles more popular then ever
  • Over 200 limited-time offerings (LTOs) were examined across Europe & Russia in the autumn analysis of the Art of Taste & Nutrition 2021. The top three autumn trends are “seasonal indulgence,” “a touch of spice” & “healthy harvest flavors.”
  • Millennials — those born between 1981 & 1996 — have surpassed baby boomers in number, meaning they now comprise the largest share of the U.S. adult population. This means that businesses should adopt new ways to market & sell to this generation of consumers. Let’s examine four trends in the millennial generation that could impact businesses. 1. Millennials are settling down & starting families later. 2. Millennials are using technology differently. 3. Many millennials are environmentally conscious. 4. Millennials could soon be driving the luxury market. Don’t forget about the next generation.
  • Research shows that 54% of consumers will pay a premium for an LTO they like, with 62% agreeing that LTOs encourage visits to an outlet. With the foodservice channel recovering across Europe, the analysis also found that the number of LTOs available in autumn 2021 had doubled from 2020.
  • Consumers want LTOs that are novel & exciting enough to post on social media platforms, but also satisfy their need for comfort & taste for nostalgia.
  • Hard seltzers now account for 10% of Heineken’s sales in the US after only five years & Mondino believes this is only set to rise, quoting the fact the global value of the market is predicted to hit $30bn by 2025. Social media will be central to the launch, with influencers lined up to spread the word to its core audience of 25- to 35-year-olds, a generation that is “reimaging everything” & more likely to be open to new beverages. “We are relying a lot on the strategy of talking to influencers, this is a big part of our strategy & our campaign because it has worked really well in Mexico, where we are market leaders.”
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered everyday life, including how consumers eat, shop & learn about products. In the case of international flavor trends, independent social media influencers — not major companies — are popularizing many products. When restaurant visits & travel return to pre-pandemic levels, however, will consumers be exposed to the same trends they’re seeing online?
  • Hard tea flavor profiles are being developed to suit the tastes of Millennials who prefer the “cocktail flavor” & provenance, referring to drinks backed up with an engaging story. The “storytelling” trend, highlighted in Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2020, underscores a growing consumer affinity for products backed by a compelling narrative.
  • According to Technomic’s State of the Menu 2021 report, 37% of best-in-class LTOs have brand mentions, indicating that consumers are particularly likely to find brand names in menu item titles or descriptions appealing. Brand names are an effective way to enhance diners’ sense of value by communicating quality & by increasing confidence that they’ll like the dish if they order it.
  • Even as more of us are able to get together & the pandemic wanes, new nostalgia is here to stay. Because there’s another looming reality for America’s rapidly aging youth that will require all of us to grab the nearest source of comfort. “You also have the first millennials turning 40.” “What better time than when you hit midlife to look back & say, ‘I’m not old! Let me pick up some Naturday Ice Pops or a Bud Light [popsicle]!’”
  • The exclusive NPD edition contains 66% more information as well as many examples of millennial-inspired flavour launches.


  • The sense of adventure is correlated with age to some degree. Those under age 45 are most likely to seek out new flavors all of the time while consumers 55 & older are less likely to try something different.“When it comes to flavors & experimentation, it’s younger consumers, including Gen Z, of which the oldest is 26 this year, & younger millennials.” “Those are the ones who want to play around with flavors the most.”
  • Flavors like grapefruit, lemon & lime will remain popular, & companies may emphasize specific geographic locations. “Tracing flavors to a specific region creates a transportive experience that helps differentiate an otherwise standard flavor”. “As the market continues to saturate with the usual essentials, consumers can expect more diversity & premiumization through varietals of familiar flavors.”
  • Adventures in Flavor: While global flavors have been trending for several years now, consumers forced to quarantine during the pandemic have started looking for ways to create some adventure with their food & beverage flavors. Look for at home flavor safaris & staycation foods & beverages to include even bolder global flavors & flavor mash-ups, unusual flavor combinations.
  • Novelty brand product extensions aren’t a new trend, but they have been gaining popularity. “These are collaborations like in music—Eminem & Rihanna, Lady Gaga & whoever. People always love them. What’s not to like?”
  • Experimentation with unique flavours rooted in local preferences translate into beloved products. Success stems from a brands freedom & flexibility to research & develop products that will resonate with customers in specific regions. “A consumer focused-company needs to show that it grasps the taste preferences of its different consumer bases & is able to deliver new, innovative products based on these nuances,” introduce products rooted in local preferences to consumers in new markets, tapping their potential to appeal to consumers worldwide & to create the same “wow” response among customers elsewhere.
  • The pandemic has influenced consumers to try new & inventive ice cream & frozen novelty products.
  • Snacks popular with consumers are being reimagined in a bid to gain new fans & earn viral fame. Local food companies are collaborating with each other to create fun new flavors for consumers to try.
  • Unfamiliar flavors pique consumer curiosity whether from fantasy flavors, mystery flavors or getting acquainted with unfamiliar flavors in product extensions or limited-editions.
  • Licensed products are another opportunity to create buzz. “Licenses are very important to the kid’s novelty category,” “Kids base their candy & snack choices on the licenses that they know & love.”
  • The younger generations, Gen Z & Millennials, are taking over & starting trends that strongly influence how people discover & buy things that they both need & want. These young professionals & digital natives are all about trying something new: new food, new places, & yes, even a refreshing new drink.
  • Novelty candy was possibly one of the biggest unknowns when it came to how COVID-19 would impact the confectionery industry. But sales data shows how strong the sector is. Sales of novelty non-chocolate candy were up 19.2 percent compared to a year ago, at $967.12 million, according to the IRI data for the year ending June 13, 2021. & they are up significantly compared to pre-pandemic numbers as well. IRI data for the latest 52 weeks ending Sept. 2019 shows that they are up almost $200 million. At that time, sales of novelty non-chocolate candy were up 1.9 percent to $772.24 million.
  • The exclusive NPD edition contains 66% more information as well as many zoomer-inspired flavour launches.

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2019 Flavor trends

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