ICYMI: Top Trending Food and Beverage Insights from 2022

by | Dec 1, 2022

2022 has been a busy and complicated year. 
  • Inflation continues to change the way people shop for food and beverage products
  • Geopolitical and supply chain concerns are affecting the products stores can keep on shelves 
  • The evolving dynamics of COVID-19 are creating new behaviors and needs
With so much going on, it’s probably not a coincidence that Merriam-Webster officially added the acronym ICYMI to the dictionary in September. ICYMI is a quick way to point someone in the direction of something interesting or enlightening available online—“in case you missed it.” The ICYMI hashtag has become a way for social media users to catch up on news or topics important to them, topics they may have initially overlooked in a busy online world. You might have needed more time to keep up with our weekly blogs, so ICYMI, here are a few flavorful highlights from the FlavorSum team. You’ll discover trending topics from the food and beverage community, including new product development considerations, food preference drivers, and helpful tips on specific applications.

Labeling, Flavor, and Formulation Considerations

Flavor Labeling Acronyms

Every industry has unique lingo. In the flavor world, we juggle acronyms like GRAS, FMP, FTNF, and WONF. The last one, With Other Natural Flavors (WONF), is a favorite here at FlavorSum. Our blog, What Is a Natural WONF? Deciphering Flavor Labeling Acronyms (originally published in 2020 and expanded in 2022) holds a magnifying glass up to these flavor labeling terms. It explores how the right flavor solution can help you formulate your desired flavor profile, meet specific label claims, and reach budget goals.   You can download our free one-page guide to flavor labeling to keep as a visual reference. It might come in handy the next time you need to remember the differences between natural flavor, WONF, or natural type flavors.

Choosing a Flavor Company

What makes a flavor company a great partner for your next food or beverage launch? Is it insight into the food and beverage industry? Someone who can meet your specific flavor needs or help you navigate the complexities of regulatory compliance? How about all of the above? In February, we decided to take a closer look at key factors to consider when choosing a flavor company. As we noted in 5 Qualities to Look for When Choosing a Flavor Company, 90% of people say taste is the number one reason for buying a product. To make each quality more tangible, we included micro-case studies (or spotlights) of FlavorSum customers who had a challenge to solve. From creating custom consumer surveys to replicating the taste of ripe bananas found in banana bread, we’re excited to find more ways to help our customers reach their goals.

Formulating Bakery Emulsions

Bakery emulsions offer formulators several benefits, including cost-effectiveness, performance, and versatility. We answered some of the questions we often get about bakery emulsions with a blog, Formulating With Flavor: Bakery Emulsions. We examine what a bakery emulsion is (and what makes it different than other emulsions like beverage emulsions). We also talk about when to use bakery emulsions, how they are labeled, trending flavors in bakery, and what initial questions to ask a bakery formulation partner.

Leveraging Seasonal Flavors

Do you have a favorite season? If so, you probably have a specific food or flavors you gravitate toward during that time of year. From cool refreshing flavors in the summer to warm, spicy notes in the colder months—seasonal pairings help create excitement and elevate taste experiences in limited-time offers (LTO).  Consider our April blog, Leveraging Seasonal Flavors For LTO Success, your source of inspiration for popular LTO categories and trending flavors for each season.

Daypart and Generational Trends

Flavors for Children

Food shopping for your kids can be difficult, especially since their palates naturally change as they get older. Creating foods and beverages that keep kids (and their parents) coming back for more is a tricky hurdle for formulators. Fortunately, many flavors appeal to children and have the benefits and qualities their parents want.  The blog Flavors for Children: Crafting Products that Appeal to Kids & Parents helps answer questions about what flavors could work for both kids and parents. We also share tips around healthy options, boosting with benefits, and ethical choices for Millennials with kids.

Generational Trends

Have you considered how your next food or beverage launch will land with GenZ? The current GenZ population may still be young (between 10 and 25 years old), but their influence and buying power are growing quickly.  Each generation has defining characteristics. And while we should be cautious about generalizing GenZ, our Creating Lasting Connections With Gen Z Through Food And Beverage blog outlines some strategies to capture loyalty. You’ll find insights on comfort food, diversity, on-the-go habits, and social media influencers.

Breakfast Trends

What’s your favorite meal of the day? We wouldn’t be surprised if you said “breakfast” or “breakfast for dinner” was on your list of favorite meals. Author Jonathan Goldstein helps sum up why breakfast foods are so appealing, “eating breakfast, even if it’s 5 o’clock in the afternoon, is a sign that the day has just begun, and good things can still happen.” For developers, finding ways to stand out in the breakfast category can feel daunting, but it is not impossible. What’s for Breakfast: Trends and Insights to Inspire Innovation examines breakfast’s biggest and fastest-growing subcategories, trending flavors, and noteworthy consumer behaviors.

Snacking Trends

Snack foods are a diverse corner of the food and beverage world. With the potential to reach an estimated $732.6 billion by 2026, snack foods are a growing category with endless possibilities for innovation. Innovation Evolution: Taking Snacking to The Next Level explores how snacking habits are evolving, how snacking varies among generations, and highlights innovation opportunities.  It’s not surprising that flavor leads the list of criteria people use to select snacks! Other factors that align with needs include snacking on the go, social snacking, convenience with functional benefits, plant-based snacks, and sustainability.

Trending Applications Tips

Fortified Gummies

You may have noticed our blogs often discuss how people are prioritizing health. According to Innova Market Insights, over half of the people answering a recent survey took active steps to improve physical health in 2020. And Flavorsum’s own 2021 study found that 63% of Americans and 74% of Canadians are looking for functionality in foods and beverages. With their bite-sized and fun format, Gummies are popular delivery systems for nutritional boosts. Gummy formulation has its challenges. Our Infusing Function and Flavor into Fortified Gummies blog can help you quickly understand the basics of gummy formulation and navigate the functional confections landscape. We cover the nuances of ingredients in nutritional gummy formulas, including gelling agents, sweetener selections, active ingredients, and flavor.

RTD Alcoholic Beverages

Sales of RTD alcoholic beverages are bubbling up. A 2021 survey from Bacardi revealed that more than 40%of people worldwide planned to drink an RTD adult beverage in 2022. We gathered notable insights about opportunities in the RTD space in the June blog, What’s New in RTD Alcoholic Beverages? Learn why “craft” is a frequent positioning, how RTDs can answer the call for healthier alcoholic beverages, how sustainability affects brand choice, and how functionality claims work within the category. This blog is a must-read if you have plans to innovate in the RTD space!

Frozen Desserts

With so much hybridization in the food and beverage industry, “healthy” and “indulgent” no longer have to be mutually exclusive. The frozen dessert category benefits from creative formulations. Navigating your way to success with frozen dessert innovation is easier with a grasp of what’s driving interest and influencing product acceptance. Delivering Frozen Indulgences That Delight Consumers details how innovators can stand out with plant-based frozen desserts, and why people buy dairy ice cream. We also explore the dietary needs influencing innovation, and how sweeteners enhance the frozen dessert eating experience.

Bakery Innovations

Have you heard of a “mookie”, “brookie”, “cronut”, or “cruffle”? Bakery Innovations: Exploring Format & Functionality to Satisfy Snack Cravings is a deep dive into how the bakery snack category is expanding to include new formats and added functionality. Exciting bakery crossovers are one approach formulators can take to attract interest and create excitement.  Bakery snacks can also meet desires for health, functionality, indulgence, and convenience. Our team reviewed launches from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) to help illustrate opportunity areas and spark ideas for innovation in bakery.

What’s Next for 2023?

We’re looking forward to diving into even more trends in 2023 and providing insights to help make your next launch a success. Are there any topics you would like us to cover? Reach out and let us know! The FlavorSum team is here with the expertise you need to support the creation of great-tasting products that align with needs and inspire brand loyalty. A partnership with our flavor experts can help you navigate development hurdles and speed time to market. 

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