Experimenting with Flavor in 2021

2nd September 2021

2nd September 2021

Experimenting with Flavor in 2021


Demand for experimental flavors is growing but it is important to understand it is not a new trend. For instance, many countries across the globe have witnessed traditional recipes and habits changed fundamentally over the past couple of years. Whilst much attention is given to health and environmentally focused consumers, it must be remembered that taste and enjoyment remain the primary motivations why consumers turn to products. Therefore, it is crucial that brands continue to innovate and challenge sensory perceptions.


Evolutionary Tastebuds

Taste and enjoyment continue to lead the way and is the primary motivator to why consumers turn to food and drink products. This is due to consumers across the globe being exposed to more and more product choices than ever before. These choices are leading consumers to look to push the boundaries of sensory appeal when it comes to everyday products.

FMCG Gurus insights show that 74% of global consumers state that they like food and drink products with new and exotic flavors. This highlights that consumers are open to exploring new and unusual flavors, especially in the categories, fruit drinks, chocolate, and coffee.

Self-Expression & Health

One of the key reasons why consumers are open to trying new and unusual flavors is due to self-expression. Consumers deem themselves to be more liberal and experimental than the generations before them and deem themselves to have sophisticated pallets and adventurous with new food. Moreover, they often want to guarantee that other people are aware of such preferences.

When asked why consumers like new and exotic flavors, 71% of consumers stated that they deem themselves to be adventurous. This highlights the desire for consumers to be seen by their peers as adventurous and sophisticated when it comes to food and drink flavors.

spicy flavor

When turning to food and drink, consumers prioritize moments of indulgence. However, these moments of enjoyment and reward can create feelings of guilt post-consumption if they misalign with wider health goals. Ultimately, consumers want products that offer taste in a guilt-free manner. FMCG Gurus research shows that one in two people associate exotic flavors with being healthier.

Fruit-based flavors are more likely to be associated with being better-for-you and where they can (and not in a misleading way), brands should look to position certain ingredients (such as fruits, spices, and vegetables) as offering indulgence in a guilt-free manner.

Sweet and Spicy Flavors

Consumers like a variety of flavors when seeking out food and beverages, however sweet and spicy flavors are especially appealing. When asked what flavors do you like, 93% of global consumers stated sweet, with 80% stating spicy. Consumers like hot and spicy flavors: Consumers like to have their taste buds challenged, with sampling exotic food often seen as something of an endurance test amongst consumers who want to demonstrate their ability to handle intense flavors in front of these others. These types of flavors should be at the forefront of innovation when looking to heighten the sensory appeal.

This blog is based on FMCG Gurus: Top Trend 7 – Taste First, Think Second in 2021 – Global Report. For more information, please click here.

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