Floral Flavors

Flavor of the Month

Step into Summer with Floral Flavors

Floral flavors are blossoming this summer in foods and beverages! Explore the history of floral flavors, the most popular florals for foods and beverages, and how manufacturers and restaurants are using fragrant florals to elevate their products.

Trend in Florals

Floral flavors are being rediscovered around the world. According to Mintel, global launches of foods with floral flavors increased 40 percent between 2014 and 2019.1From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s lemon elderflower wedding cake to Starbucks’ Sakuraful Frappuccino in Japan (Sakura is the cherry blossom in Japanese), floral flavors are also getting their share of media attention.

While many flowers are known for their beauty and aroma, only a small set is typically used in foods and beverages. The most popular floral flavors include:

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Hibiscus
  • Jasmine
  • Violet
  • Elderflower
  • Chamomile
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Orange blossom
  • Cherry blossom

Favorite Floral Flavors Around the World

The use of floral essences and extracts dates back to ancient times and was important in early Greek and Chinese cultures, particularly for perfume-making and herbal medicine. Today, cultures often have their favorite floral, which can be used as a fragrance as well as in cooking.

France is known for its culinary use of lavender in both sweet and savory dishes, especially as a part of herbes de Provence. Japan celebrates the blooming of its cherry blossoms each spring by producing a variety of cherry blossom beverages and foods, including teas and desserts like mochi and yokan.

Rosewater is popular in India for yogurt lassi and sweet treats such as peda and laddu, while orange blossom water is favored in Morocco for chicken bastilla and Moroccan rice pudding. Middle Eastern desserts like Turkish delight and baklava can feature either rose or orange blossom water.

How the Food Industry Is Embracing Floral Flavors

Manufacturers and restaurants are increasingly reaching for florals to add sophistication and excitement to their offering. Exotic, fragrant, floral flavors stand out as something special and distinguish products on the shelf.  In addition, some florals impart a vibrant color (such as the deep red of hibiscus tea), while others may have health benefit associations (such as lavender, which is often perceived as contributing to relaxation).

Floral Flavors

Prior to COVID-19, trendy restaurants had been incorporating floral flavors into ice creams and sorbets, lattes and teas, and baked goods like cakes, scones, and shortbread cookies, and that trend is likely to continue when restaurant dining rooms re-open. Floral-infused cream, butter, and vinegar are go-to condiments that allow chefs to quickly add a floral touch to any number of dishes. 

Even savory dishes, such as pasta, meat, and seafood are being topped with violets or sprinkled with crushed lavender. In addition, edible flowers provide both flavor and visual appeal when used in salads, on desserts, and inside ice cubes.

For food and beverage manufacturers, the top applications of floral flavors are:

  • Sparkling waters
  • Teas
  • Herbal tonics
  • Cocktail mixes
  • Beers
  • Chocolates
  • Cookies
  • Ice creams and sorbets
  • Yogurts
  • Vinegars
  • Jams and jellies

Floral flavors are often combined with fruit flavors, as in strawberry rose, peach hibiscus, and lemon lavender. Herbs and spices can also pair well with florals (for example, rose cardamom and lavender mint). Custom flavors can be helpful in these cases to achieve the right balance for optimizing the floral notes.

Making Floral Notes Pop

Flavoring a product with florals is both an art and a science. Their delicate flavors can easily be overwhelmed but boosting usage levels to compensate can lead to unpleasant grassy or soapy flavors, depending on the floral. For certain products, flavor masking is an important first step in the flavoring process. 

In vitamin-enriched waters, for example, a natural masking flavor can be used to cover the stronger tasting vitamins (such as B vitamins), as well as minerals. Bitter masking can be used for herbal tonics and even alcoholic beverages to tone down bitter notes before adding florals. 

In plant-based ice creams and yogurts, a protein flavor masker can be used to neutralize any off-notes coming from the plant proteins. (This is especially important for pea protein.) This ensures the base has the best protein flavor possible so that the finished product has a clean floral taste. Custom flavors can even be developed that combine floral flavors with flavor maskers.

Give Your Products Flower Power

Glanbia Nutritionals offers custom flavors for a unique floral blend.  In addition to flavors, we have expertise in masking off-notes from ingredients such as vitamins & minerals, sweeteners, herbs, caffeine, and many other ingredients.   For clean label requirements, ask about our Bare Flavor the perfect solutions to let your floral flavor shine through! Collaborate with us to meet the flavor trends of today.


1. Mintel. (2019). Flower Power: 8 Innovative Food and Drink Products Made with Flowers. Retrieved from https://www.mintel.com/blog/food-market-news/flower-power-8-innovative-food-and-drink-products-made-with-flowers

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