Flavor, color and texture play a significant role in consumers food and drink purchasing habits. Consumers are interested in new and innovative products that challenge perceptions of how a product should look and taste. Brands have the opportunity to move away from flavors that are perceived as traditional. Instead, the use of unique and exciting flavors, colors, and textures are increasing consumer interest in 2023 and beyond.
The Significance of Flavor, Color & Texture
FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that almost three-quarters of consumers like new and unusual flavors in food and drink products. The top kind of flavors consumers like to see are sweet flavors, local traditional flavors, and savory flavors. Consumers like to try new and unusual flavors for many reasons, the top reason being that they like to try new flavors from around the world and that they deem themselves adventurous. Half of consumers perceive new and exotic flavors to be healthier, which is a key priority for the health-conscious consumer. Therefore, brands have the opportunity to tailor and market products with new and exciting flavors towards being healthy.
FMCG Gurus consumer research also found that just over half of consumers state that they like food and drink products with unusual textures, the top textures consumers prefer for food products are smooth, creamy, and tender. Consumers like to be experimental with the texture of their food and drink choices, however, half of consumers who said they do not like unusual textures said this is because they associate certain food and drinks with certain textures and do not want to change this. Therefore, a challenge to new and exciting textures is that consumers are only willing to purchase foods of textures that they are familiar with.
Our findings also outline that just under half of consumers like food and drink products with new and experimental colors. The top reason for this is that new and experimental colors are fun and exciting. Two-thirds of consumers who do like products with new and exciting colors believe that they make the product more appealing. Colors that consumers consider experimental depend on the food category. However blue, pink, and green are seen as experimental for food and drinks.
When it comes to taste and flavor versus price, FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that consumers are willing to compromise on price for taste and flavor. For instance, nearly one-third of consumers rate taste and flavor as the number one priority when choosing between food and drink products. Alternatively, 18% of consumers prioritize price. Flavor is prioritized significantly more than color or texture when consumers are choosing food and drink products. Our findings reveal that flavor is prioritized by 83% of consumers, whereas color is by 53% and texture is by 54% of consumers. Despite many consumers being drawn to new and exciting flavors, 55% of consumers still rate traditional flavors that they know and trust as being most influential on food and drink choices.
Notions of Naturalness
Consumers enjoy products with innovative taste, color, and texture; however, naturalness is still important. For example, 34% of consumers do not like food and drink with new and experimental colors. The top reason for this is that consumers do not associate new and experimental colors with being natural. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that three-quarters of consumers agree that it is important that food and drink products do not contain artificial colors. Our findings demonstrate that 2 in 10 consumers are willing to compromise on the appearance of a product to ensure that the product does not contain artificial colors. Natural claims are the third most important factor, after taste, flavor and price, that consumers prioritize when deciding what food products to purchase. Therefore, when producing products that have a unique flavor, color, or texture, the origin and naturalness of the ingredients must be prioritized by brands.