orange lemon flavors in tea cup

Most Popular Flavors for 2021

As we move into the new year, innovation is gearing up in food and beverage. The right flavors will be key to the success of this year's new products. Here's a look at the flavor trends forecast for 2021.

2021 Flavor Trends

Last year saw a number of changes in consumer food preferences and purchasing behaviors due to COVID-19. Health and wellness became more important for many consumers as they sought to reduce their risk of getting sick, while higher stress levels led to a greater craving for comfort foods. At the same time, limited access to restaurants inspired both an uptick in home cooking and a desire for retail foods that could offer a little taste adventure.

With this background in mind, here's a look at the flavor trends for 2021:

1. Nostalgic

With the pandemic causing disruptions in all major aspects of people’s day-to-day lives—from work to school to socializing—it’s not surprising that many would turn to food as a source of comfort. Familiar, nostalgic, and indulgent flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter have been doing particularly well and are likely to be in high demand through the new year. There is also opportunity in fun childhood flavors like cotton candy and orange creamsicle.

2. Comfort with a Twist

While comfort flavors are right on trend, some consumers are starting to look for something a little bit new and different—but still well within their comfort zone. Examples might include a flavor upgrade from caramel to brown butter caramel or chocolate to chocolate cayenne. This provides consumers an opportunity for flavor exploration without even leaving the house.

chocolate and pepper

3. Alcohol-Inspired

Prolonged restaurant and bar closures due to COVID triggered a new interest in home entertaining for a number of consumers, leading some to try their hand at home bartending. Blog posts and how-to-videos quickly popped up to support consumers in their new hobby. The recent buzz around alcoholic drinks will make 2021 a great year for alcohol-inspired flavors. Possibilities range from strawberry sangria sorbet to pina colada cake.

4. Immune Inferred

Another one of this year’s flavor trends is flavors typically perceived as being associated with immune system support. For example, citrus flavors work well for functional immunity beverages that feature vitamin C. This includes orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and more exotic citrus fruits like citron and yuzu, as well as citrus blends. Additional options include berry-flavored and ginger-flavored functional foods and beverages for products that highlight their antioxidant content.

5. Japanese

Preparations for this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo are expected to create more exposure to Japanese culture, including Japanese cuisine and flavors. Cherry blossom (known as sakura), with its slightly sweet, floral notes, and yuzu, which contains notes of grapefruit and mandarin orange, may be particularly appealing to beverage and dessert manufacturers. Matcha, sweet red bean, and plum flavors provide additional possibilities.

japan tea

Add a Little Flavor to the New Year

The new year offers a fresh start, with the promise of exciting and flavorful new products ahead. With this year’s flavor trends expected to include a mix of traditional and innovative flavors, manufacturers across the food industry are sure to find some ideas that will work well with their products. 

Here at Glanbia Nutritionals, we provide our customers with flavor and flavor masking solutions and are known for our expertise in flavoring the most challenging products—including functional, sports nutrition, and high protein foods and beverages. Collaborate with us to create delicious products that meet today’s trends.

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