A new report has found that while the traditional festive flavors such as pumpkin spice, caramel and chocolate remain popular, there is a steady demand for infusing them with health benefits and plant-based offerings.
“Analysis has shown that though traditional flavors are popular among consumers, they are seeking a taste of something different through the addition of warm and energizing spices like chai and cinnamon,” says Aoife McDonald, foodservice marketing director for Europe at Kerry.
In addition, flavors such as turmeric are linked to health benefits, with consumers focusing on wellness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 and berry flavors will increase beyond autumn 2021.”
F lavors such as raspberry, cherry and cranberry are gaining traction this year and blackcurrant, elderberry and cloudberry will be a future focus of beverage innovation, denotes McDonald.
LTOs guide foodservice operators
Over 200 limited-time offerings (LTOs) were examined across Europe and Russia in the autumn analysis of the Art of Taste and Nutrition 2021. The top three autumn trends are “seasonal indulgence,” “a touch of spice” and “healthy harvest flavors.”
The seasonal indulgence trend includes salted caramel, chocolate, maple and vanilla that bring a sense of comfort and nostalgia. Flavors such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and chai all represent the touch of spice trend. Meanwhile, consumers link ginger and turmeric to wellness and immunity.
Pumpkin has become a staple for the autumn LTO season, but flavors such as apple, blackcurrant, raspberry and pear are increasing in popularity.
With the foodservice channel recovering across Europe, the analysis also found that the number of LTOs available in autumn 2021 had doubled from 2020.
“LTOs are an important tool for foodservice operators as the European foodservice market continues to recover,” says McDonald.
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.
“Consumers want LTOs that are novel and exciting enough to post on social media platforms, but also satisfy their need for comfort and taste for nostalgia,” explains McDonald.
Consumer research from Kerry earlier this year revealed that botanical extracts generate several emotions, including energy, excitement, creativity and fun. More than 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa were surveyed.
The taste and nutrition company investigated the psychology behind botanical preferences and the perceived benefits consumers derive from consuming botanical food and beverages.
Last November, Coralie Garcia Perrin, global strategic marketing director for Sweet Taste at Kerry, said seasonal flavors never fail to have their day, and predicted that consumers would “gravitate toward traditional options that bring a strong sense of comfort to stressful days.”