2023 Flavor traits for foods and beverage

Versie Dortch

Adventure is again on the menu as folks travel to new destinations and embrace unfamiliar cuisines. In accordance to specialists, food items and consume customers will carry on their like affair with intercontinental flavors and unpredicted blends in 2023. At the identical time, a subset of consumers is still drawn to the ease and comfort of typical, nostalgic, mood-boosting tastes as effectively as flavors strongly linked to overall health and wellness. Listed here, we choose a glance at the many taste developments commanding food stuff and drink cabinets in 2023.

Large and Daring

Boldness is the name of the taste sport this year. “2023 is set to be a calendar year for people today to march to the conquer of their individual drum,” says Jennifer Zhou, international director of products advertising, flavors, ADM (Chicago). “Consumers are actively building buying choices that loudly mirror their personal identities.” This incorporates which flavors they opt for. “The amplified will need for experiential flavors in practical programs and a heightened focus on bold ordeals are supporting this need to have for self-expression,” Zhou says.

These buyers want solutions and flavors with punch, she adds. For occasion, “This new wave of self-expression is bringing forth unique flavors coupled with saturated shades. Deep, vibrant pink—think ‘Barbiecore’—is a trending shade, which we’ll see paired with pink grapefruit, dragon fruit, and fruit punch flavors. This also ties in with Pantone’s Color of the 12 months, Viva Magenta, which is described by Pantone as encouraging ‘experimentation and self-expression without having restraint.’”

In addition to pink and magenta inspirations, flavors like blue raspberry and tangerine are “serving dual functions of masking off-notes from practical elements and giving a pleasurable, bold impression,” she provides.

Intercontinental Inspiration

Global flavors continue to intrigue. “Even with people today touring all over again, buyers nevertheless crave fascinating preferences and textures from all-around the environment,” claims Amy Marks-McGee, founder of Trendincite LLC.

Jen Lyons, marketing and advertising supervisor at Sensient Flavors & Extracts (Hoffman Estates, IL), notes the draw of flavors that transportation customers “to a different time or spot.” She adds: “With the uncertain economic climate and inflation on the increase, consumers are seeking for an escape, and they are inclined to force the envelope and check out new cuisines. We anticipate Korean, Indian, Mexican, Peruvian, and Ethiopian flavors to go on to charm to shoppers, with fusions concerning the cuisines continuing to trend—e.g., Mexican/Korean, Thai/Italian, and so on.”

Mexican and Asian flavors are in particular preferred. “Mexican and Asian substances and flavors carry on to trend,” states Marks-McGee. “I anticipate to see extra Mexican-impressed flavors, these types of as elote (Mexican avenue corn), tamarind, and mezcal, and Asian-motivated flavors, this kind of as mochi, shaved ice, pandan, and shochu, to craze in 2023.”

Flavorchem’s (Downers Grove, IL) 2023 Taste & Trend Forecast reviews that “Authentic flavors and ingredients from Latin America will shift to the highlight as people clearly show bigger curiosity in culinary exploration and regional range.” This includes flavors encouraged by drinks (horchata, tepache, and aguas frescas) dessert flavors like tres leches, dulce de leche, and churro and birria, a traditional Mexican stew.

Ray Hartman, director of flavor enhancement and innovation at Prinova (Carol Stream, IL), mentions yet another Mexican dessert taste his organization sees trending. “Inspired by paletas, a well-liked and flavorful Mexican dessert, we forecast mangonada will pop in the coming 12 months. Mangonada is refreshing and bold, featuring mango, chamoy, and chili lime spice garnished with candied tamarind. This is the correct combo of ‘basic tastes’ of sweet, sour, and salty along with some trigeminal spicy heat,” he states.

Coquito, a sweet drink from Puerto Rico, is another inspiration. “Building off eggnog’s attractiveness, we imagine coquito has a prospect to get flavor favor with American individuals,” he says. “This deliciously creamy beverage is coconut dependent, alternatively of dairy centered, and characteristics a sweet blend of cinnamon and nutmeg flavors to provide a new flavor twist on holiday break drinks.”

Desserts from Asia are also a vivid place. “Mochi is a common Japanese dessert that can now be discovered in the freezer segment of any major grocer. This past calendar year, mochi fusions such as mochi donuts begun to trend, opening the door for quite a few new and intriguing mochi flavor mixtures to be created,” Hartman suggests. “We anticipate this to go on and see mochi-style flavor offerings in new dessert and bakery applications.”

Consumers are also interested in a flavor’s origins. Lyons at Sensient factors to spicy notes as an illustration. “Where we’ll see a shift is the enhanced desire for traceability,” she predicts. “In the previous, individuals just desired an added kick now, they want to know the supply of the warmth. For case in point, they now want a green jalapeño ranch alternatively than a spicy ranch.”

Organizations are stepping up, and as a result, “We also assume to see demand for chili varietals to increase,” she suggests. “One individual one we have observed expand in attractiveness is the aji amarillo pepper normally uncovered in Peruvian cuisine.”


Demand for new taste encounters also stems from a want to escape the day-to-day. “When people today are fraught with monetary woes and wellness anxieties, food stuff delivers an possibility for ‘delicious escapism,’” suggests Soumya Nair, world wide consumer investigation and insights director at Kerry (Beloit, WI). “While convenience will underpin all food stuff and beverage encounter in the impending recessionary outlook, there will be motivation for ‘mini-escapes,’ seeking to break totally free.”

Tropical flavors are trending for this rationale. “Fruity flavors with new notes completely transform any food into a multisensory encounter,” claims Michael Falkenberg, head of the world flavor business unit at Döehler GmbH (Darmstadt, Germany). “Tropical fruit flavors will be well-liked in 2023 as their vibrant shades can inspire feelings of positivity and help to escape from annoying realities. Dragon fruit lychee, guava pomegranate, watermelon, or mango enthusiasm fruit will be 1 of the favorite style instructions, especially in juices and nectars, but are also acceptable for purposes this sort of as ‘water-as well as,’ electrical power drinks, or spirits.”

Imaginative flavors are also well-liked, ADM’s Zhou factors out. “Flavors that take consumers on a journey or provide a feeling of whimsy will pattern well in the new year. Pairing with blissful blues, we anticipate that a dreamscape of flavors will pop up in retailer aisles, together with ube purple sweet potato, and birthday cake, as nicely as flavors emulating fantastical creatures like yetis, unicorns, and fairies. These imaginative profiles could be leveraged for kids’ products to carry everyday living and power to gummies, nutritional vitamins, and supplements, assisting increase the acceptability of these useful solutions and making parents’ lives less complicated.”

The takeaway? “Brands that lean into the new and unforeseen will captivate shoppers through 2023 and beyond.”

Anticipating the Unanticipated

Spicy and sweet flavors are always well known. Place the two jointly, and you get stunning combos that are absolutely sure to delight.

“While people today nonetheless arrive at for the classics, we are observing elevated curiosity in complicated flavor pairings, or twin style encounters,” claims Derek Holthaus, director of innovation and solutions at FlavorSum (Kalamazoo, MI). “This arrived to lifetime at the Sweets & Treats Expo this year with a selection of launches in the ‘sweet heat’ category, like peach habanero.” He adds, “Adding spicy style features to classics will be a powerful way to tap into the 20.5% of consumers fascinated in complicated warmth ordeals.”

Mango habanero is yet another case in point, suggests Prinova’s Hartman. “Flavor fusions featuring sweet and spicy profiles offer customers with new flavor activities though nevertheless currently being recognizable,” he says. “Mango habanero taps into two client wishes: the require for discovery and the curiosity for unique fruit flavors. The juicy, fruity, and tropical notes from a mango pair flawlessly with the fruity and spicy flavors that arrive from a habanero. This sweet but bold taste performs well in many programs, ranging from confectionery to sauces and even to alcoholic drinks.”

Watermelon chili lime is yet another spicy/sweet combo. It “combines the coolness of watermelon with the slight spiciness of chili, and vivid lime provides a new practical experience that is absolutely sure to excite tastebuds,” suggests Hartman. Lastly, he indicates combining the spicy, savory Korean chili paste gochujang and “buttery” sweet caramel.

Warm honey is a different spicy/sweet trend, according to Flavorchem’s 2023 Taste & Craze Forecast report. “Complex taste profiles that includes honey will knowledge an upswing in menu and retail innovation as heat satisfies sweet,” the business predicts. It notes, “Hot honey has grown +53% in consumer desire in the past yr and +216% on menus given that 2018, indicating the star ingredient’s prospective to accelerate long run culinary tendencies.” Other trendy honey combos contain salted honey, maple honey, and honey sriracha.

Sweet-and-spicy blends like pumpkin spice latte and spiced cider also market well, and demand is no more time just seasonal, states Philip Caputo, internet marketing and client insights manager at Virginia Dare (Brooklyn, NY). “There’s a reason there is a year for sweet spices—or at least there made use of to be,” he states. “But the appreciate of all the things spiced is bringing about new ways of introducing what have traditionally been fall and wintertime flavors to apps all calendar year spherical. Flavors like apple cider chai, cinnamon-citrus peel, cardamom fog, maple-spiced matcha, spiced fig honey, and more are some of the flavor principles we imagine can spice up the sector.”

“Consumers are searching for achievable adventures and playfulness via not likely combos, mashups of acquainted foods and drinks, fusion cuisines, and unconventional flavor pairings,” states Kerry’s Nair.

She lists some of these noteworthy mashups: “Cheese is a dominant flavor theme—particularly cheese these as cheddar and parmesan—in sweet cookies and biscuits, ice product, and cakes solid limes and citrus in dairy and coffee drinks sweet inclusions and nuts for pizza toppings soup-encouraged burgers savory flavors past tahini (these as black sesame, masala, curry in desserts) alcoholic beverages-inspired desserts and additional.”

Constrained editions deliver pleasure, far too. Marks-McGee at Trendincite reminds brand names about the electrical power of seasonal launches. “Seasonal flavors and constrained editions are a way for makes to introduce new products and take a look at customer attraction. Apricot and cherry blossom are on the radar specially for spring flavors. Cherry, pineapple, and watermelon combos are well known summer season flavors.”

Still Craving Comfort

Then there are individuals seeking traditional, comforting, nostalgic flavors. And no speculate.

“In a noticeably quickly tradition, the simplicity of acquainted and convenience flavors proceeds to bring joy to people,” states Kerry’s Nair. “While easy flavors prosper in a recessionary ecosystem, nostalgia, consolation, and familiarity generate an everlasting appreciation for very simple points.” Consider: ice product sandwiches made with waffles, cookies, stroopwafel, birthday cake, biscoff tiramisu, sweet-infused savory snacks with icing, and dessert-themed cereals, she states.

Caputo at Virginia Dare states, “Flavors like fruity cereal milk, gummy bear, and rainbow sherbet can provide a sense of joy and childhood bliss to your shoppers.” The business features an overall line of “Forever Young” flavors such as common candy flavors (like gummies and fruit sweet), childhood cereals, carnival themes (like candy apple, churros, funnel cake, and cotton sweet), lemonade blends (like mint lemonade and tart cherry lemonade), and common dessert flavors (like Bananas Foster Brûlée, snickerdoodles, and marshmallow chicks). These can pair with anything from general performance-diet products to beverages, the firm suggests.

Hartman at Prinova states, “Nostalgic flavors from the 1980s and even 1990s assistance manufacturers produce an psychological relationship with shoppers. We nonetheless see nostalgia keep on in reputation, especially amid limited-time offerings.” His instance: “Retro candy flavors these kinds of as sour gummy flavors in an vitality drink or even a well-liked bubble gum taste in a particular care line, and retro cereals created famed through Saturday morning cartoon commercials.”

Mainstays also keep on being robust. “The most popular and strongest flavors in the food stuff and beverage business are nevertheless the basic types this kind of as orange, apple, or lemon, primarily for drinks,” claims Döehler’s Falkenberg, “whereas for dairy merchandise, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla continue being the most loved style directions.”

Vanilla is eternally. “Vanilla is a year-in excess of-yr common taste and bodes nicely for powdered health supplements, furnishing a feeling of stability for shoppers with a trustworthy and beloved taste,” claims ADM’s Zhou. She adds, “Markedly, 68% of global shoppers come across nostalgic flavors interesting inside of the foods market, and we anticipate to see this encourage purposeful merchandise of all formats.”

Cinnamon brown sugar is a different cozy most loved, in accordance to Flavorchem’s pattern report. It “adds a comforting taste to snacking favorites these types of as cookies, ice product, and sweet baked items, together with complementing many beverage apps.”

Indulging in sinful sweets is a different traditional comfort go. Citing “pure indulgence” as an ongoing craze, FlavorSum’s Holthaus says, “Food has an remarkable ability to build joyful moments promptly. Innova studies that 6 in 10 people say they most typically take care of themselves by producing each day moments of joy. And what would make foods so pleasant? 30 p.c of global consumers locate richness of taste (like in a triple-chocolate strategy, for instance) the most important driver of enjoyment and enjoyment in food stuff (Innova).”

Shoppers seeking consolation in the acquainted may well nevertheless take pleasure in a twist. For occasion, “It’s no mystery that we feel vanilla is one particular of the ideal foundational flavors for a shake or other beverage. On the other hand, we also feel it is a person of the greatest complementary flavors to include some intrigue and differentiation to your application,” suggests Caputo. “Elevating a traditional flavor like vanilla adds a refined twist. Upgraded illustrations incorporate vanilla tarragon blackberry, vanilla anise, and vanilla bean white chocolate. How delightful do these audio? Other well known flavors ripe for this development contain chocolate, strawberry, banana, espresso, and additional.”

And Hartman provides, “Over the earlier few a long time, we have observed several comfort flavors pattern as people appeared to boost their mood via aware indulgence. Appear for this trend to carry on, but with an international twist.”

Leisure and Mood

Flavors can also be comforting by aiding consumers de-tension.

“According to Mintel, 42% of U.S. grownups like their food stuff/drink to lead to both their psychological and bodily wellness,” suggests FlavorSum’s Holthaus. “2022 has been yet another calendar year of uncertainty, with inflation, geopolitical worries, and lasting impacts of COVID-19. With 84% of People in america sensation stressed weekly, we predict a heightened focus for formulators on products that nourish the head, physique, and soul.”

This is wherever the current market is heading, ADM’s Zhou agrees. Citing “light and calm” as a craze, she suggests, “Global situations have weighed on many customers, making a require to obtain times of leisure, as properly as techniques to shift their temper to far more optimistic outlooks and brighter times. Globally, 47% of customers point out that a top rated barrier to healthful residing is the difficulty to locate time to relax.”

Relaxing flavors and colors are trending. For instance, suggests Zhou, “Both as a flavor and colour, lavender is established up to be a preferred option in useful confections provided its light-weight hue and fragile flavor profile and aroma.” ADM’s 2023 Flavor and Coloration Outlook report states that “Many are anticipating the 2023 Color of the 12 months to be Digital Lavender. This purple will translate into unique merchandise such as bubble teas, ice cream, and functional drinks that pull in notes of floral lavender, nutty purple sweet potato and sweet berry, plum, or grape.”

Yet another taste enterprise, Flavorman (Louisville, KY), predicts that “soothing lavender” will be preferred in 2023.

Mood-boosters are surely on the increase, Flavorchem’s 2023 Flavors & Pattern Forecast states. “Consumers will strive to make self-care a precedence by turning to products that are advised to increase general temper and lower the detrimental outcomes of worry on the body.” As a outcome, “a increasing variety of food and beverage launches will be positioned for mood and mind health.”

Trendincite’s Marks-McGee agrees. “To continue to be wholesome, shoppers have turned to foodstuff and beverage as ‘medicine’ and are having a holistic tactic to wellness. From plant-primarily based solutions to functional components, this pattern has manifested itself in many methods. Nootropics for cognitive overall health are trending with mood-enhancing ingredients these as mushrooms, ashwagandha, and other adaptogens. I’m looking at distinct teas arise this sort of as hojicha (roasted Japanese environmentally friendly tea) and yaupon tea (the only wild-developed North American plant that is naturally caffeinated). I count on psychological wellness to be a concentrate for purposeful food and beverage.”

Here’s to Overall health

Wellness flavors as a entire continue to be key sellers amid customers nonetheless prioritizing more healthy foods and life. This motion, which commenced nicely right before the pandemic, displays no sign of abating.

“We see a ongoing change towards proactive assistance of holistic properly-being, with buyers gravitating in direction of selected flavors that they affiliate with merchandise that could have useful characteristics,” suggests ADM’s Zhou.

“Health is not secondary to taste any more,” seconds Kerry’s Nair. “In a comparatively write-up-pandemic entire world, climbing consumer interest to overall health and food plan has pushed the want for practical elements and well balanced nutrition. Flavors that covey a halo of well being, from functionally-forward flavors to flavors that subtly indicate superior overall health, have greater responsibility.” Trends set to mature nicely into 2023 involve alcoholic beverages-free of charge, protein-packed beers multivitamin-infused candies and cookies beverages with nootropics and adaptogens such as ashwagandha probiotics for digestive overall health and immune-boosting items, she claims.

Citrus is often joined to well being and wellness. “We believe developers seeking to incorporate holistic well being and wellness positive aspects will discover the linkages concerning functionality and flavor,” FlavorSum’s Holthaus claims. “An case in point of this is the affiliation between citrus and immunity.”

The ongoing increase of citrus flavors is noteworthy. “The most prominent pattern industry experts have recognized is a sizeable rise in citrus flavors, sweeter spirit-flavored cocktails, and flavors made use of for prepared-to-drink beverages,” states Flavorman in its 2023 Beverage Trend report. “The flavor trend is shifting toward uncomplicated citruses, with developing fascination in orange, grapefruit, lime, and other berry blends.”

“Sunny and lively oranges and yellow colors paired with zingy citrus, alongside with other fruits, veggies, and botanicals, are capturing shoppers’ attentions for their perceived relationship to wellness characteristics,” Zhou claims. “Citrus profiles, such as each regular sorts, this sort of as oranges, lemons, and limes, and rising varietals, like finger lime and calamansi, are bursting with opportunity in this space. Sector study demonstrates that citrus remains the most common flavor profile, accounting for practically 30% of new merchandise launches.”

Döehler’s Falkenberg indicates citrus flavors like calamansi tangerine, yuzu, orange, pomelo, and blood orange for goods like carbonated smooth beverages, beer, spirits, and confectionery.

Floral and botanical ingredients are also associated with practical advantages. Holthaus suggests FlavorSum expects desire for these to go on to develop “because they present elevated flavor profiles and extra practical gains.” He provides: “According to social listening system Tastewise, floral and botanical are up in social discussions by 52% and 17%, respectively. We think these preferences will proceed to penetrate the beverage space as they have in latest historical past, but earthy notes will develop into other types in the new 12 months.”

Falkenberg agrees. “Functional extracts and botanicals are trending as floral and botanical flavors are usually put together with functional gains. Sixty-one per cent of international shoppers are now far more mindful of needing to lead a wholesome way of life. They are mainly used in purposes this sort of as smoothies, scorching drinks, or functional drinks—but also, ice product, desserts, snack bars, and cereals are future purposes for these flavors.”

In fact, he says, “The floral flavor craze has been on the increase more than the final several decades, making its mark in the confectionery and beverage classes. In the previous two a long time, floral flavor profiles have grown +91% in customer interest. We be expecting to see florals broaden in 2023 as people open up up to experimenting with florals in new dishes and groups, all though bringing developing curiosity in functional health to the desk.”

Earthy components like mushroom are also in desire. “As plant-dependent offerings develop into a lot more and far more ubiquitous, mushrooms are, also,” Holthaus suggests. “What Mintel coins as ‘The Fantastic Mushroom Boom’ is a heightened curiosity from customers in the earthy component. From snacks and meals to even cocktails (in accordance to Thrillist), entire mushrooms and mushroom flavors are popping up all about the area. We expect to see more mushroom innovation in 2023.”

Historic grains like barley, spelt, farro, fonio, kamut, sorghum, and teff continue obtaining new enchantment, claims Kerry’s Nair. “Age-old methods, substances, and recipes are going through a revival. Origin stories and lost traditions are discovering a new household amid the post-modernization of food items, coming complete circle to authentic and healthful encounters.”

Eventually, overall health-acutely aware consumers want all-purely natural, clean-label substances they can really feel good about having. “As part of consumers’ need for cleanse labels, extracts will carry on to enhance in acceptance,” predicts Lyons at Sensient. “Consumers want to working experience bold, new flavor activities, but authenticity is vital. They are additional discerning about the elements on labels and are seeking very simple, improved-for-you elements.”


The closing massive trend is sustainability. “Many customers are no for a longer time viewing wellness as an particular person endeavor as a substitute, they are attentive to the effectively-staying of their communities and the earth,” claims ADM’s Zhou. “Flavors derived from pure sources—like fruits, greens, and botanicals—are supporting satisfy conscientious consumers’ needs as they look for out products with cleanse labels that have very simple, recognizable, and ‘closer-to-nature’ components.”

Upcycling is a growing motion, and Flavorchem predicts that “With rising worry around foreseeable future foodstuff provide, solutions that highlight sustainable substances like kelp, mushrooms, jackfruit, upcycled pulp, and veggies will push innovative programs.”

Kerry’s Nair concludes: “The impact of sustainability is extending into purchaser choice-earning of meals and beverage purchases—choice of brand names, flavors, ingredients, and vendors. Consumer style preferences are guided by their sustainability consciousness. Sourcing, provenance, and root-to-tip utilization that supports round sustainability and offsets food waste will be important.” So never forget about those people “neglected” veggies and fruits, which can be upcycled into snacks and jerky, or berries and fruits that can be turned into drinks. There just may perhaps be a purchaser for that.

Prospects Abound

In 2023, foodstuff and drink makers will use flavors to reach a wide viewers. The great information is that almost nothing is off the table shoppers are just as recreation for sweet, indulgent, comforting flavors as they are for spicy, intercontinental flavors and the thrill of adventure. Learn what your shoppers want, and make absolutely sure your flavors are on point. Recall that buyers hope to get the finest of all worlds. They want it all, suggests Nair: “reduced-sugar/sugar-free products and solutions with entire taste and mouthfeel, plant-based alternatives that taste like the true offer, alcohol-absolutely free drinks with the whole flavor and tingling experience, low charge but whole flavor, and so forth.”

As often, formulators must be geared up to provide. “With technological refinement in style and texture, individuals be expecting healthy, nutritious, much better-for-you, and sustainable alternatives to produce on the exact flavor expertise and flavor intensity, if not a lot more, than mainstream food stuff and drinks,” she advises.

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