Predictions Spotlight: Experience-Inspired Flavors
It’s time for our fourth (and final) predictions spotlight! Over the past few months, we’ve taken a closer look at the flavor predictions we made for 2023. For a quick refresher, we organized our predictions into four categories.
For our final installment, we’re diving into our predictions for experience-inspired flavors. These flavors transport us to different places or help us feel more connected to a particular moment or time. From new no-alcohol options and mocktail formats to globetrotting tastes, here are the key trends to inspire your next delicious innovation.
Cocktail Flavors, Mocktail Formats
With Food Navigator predicting low/no alcohol consumption will rise a third by 2026, the sober curious trend will continue to evolve as innovators try out new production methods and flavors. This is a topic we’ve been watching closely here at FlavorSum! You might have noticed our other resources, including an ebook, webcast, FlavorScience Episode, and blog posts.
Through our research, we’ve discovered fascinating details about non-alc consumers. For instance, many people who enjoy low or no alcoholic drinks are simply looking for alcohol alternatives and not abstaining from the category entirely. And many non-alc beverage drinkers are looking for concoctions inspired by the alcohol category. In an interview with Just Drinks, Laura Willoughby, founder of the Club Soda Tasting Room in London, says, “These drinks, many of which mimic or are inspired by popular alcoholic spirits like gin, rum and Tequila offer consumers a means to moderate, without giving up their favourite mixed drink or cocktail.”
FlavorSum’s proprietary research found that North Americans expressed an interest in a variety of non-alcoholic versions of RTD cocktails.
Stand Out Statistics
- On Reddit, visits to the community r/StopDrinking have surpassed 63 million, up 18% compared to last year (AdWeek).
- According to GlobalData, 16% are actively trying to reduce their consumption of alcoholic drinks globally, while 39% say they only imbibe alcoholic drinks “in moderation” (GlobalData).
- In the U.S., 50% of adults who drink alcoholic beverages follow or are interested in following a sober curious lifestyle; 39% are sober-curious for physical health reasons (Mintel).
What are the Experts Saying?
Food and beverage industry experts often provide valuable annual predictions. We look forward to sharing their insights and perspectives about current trends. Here’s what a few beverage pundits have to say about non-alc drinks in 2023:
- Cozymeal listed “Zero Proof Spirits in their Top 23 Food Trends for 2023, “They present all the flavor with none of the alcohol, making them a perfect replacement for beverage lovers opting for less of a buzz in the new year.”
- Delish highlighted non-alcoholic spirits in a 2023 food trend prediction article. They note the rise of booze-free beverage shops and bartenders crafting new cocktails to meet the needs of non-alcoholic patrons.
- Food Navigator’s article, Low/no alcohol consumption to ‘rise a third’ by 2026, cited “improved taste, production techniques, and diversification of consumption occasions” as driving factors in no-alcohol’s dominance over low-alcohol in some markets.
Balanced Botanicals: Martini L’Aperitivo Non-Alcoholic Vibrante Aperitif is made with Italian bergamot for a “fruity and balanced” experience. The website suggests this non-alcoholic aperitif is perfect for “get-togethers with friends with no compromise on taste” (Mintel GNPD, April 2023).
Perfectly Mixed: In May, Spiritliss launched a Hibiscus Non-Alcoholic Gin & Tonic. This sparkling beverage “highlights the flavours and feel of a real gin and tonic without the guilt.” The beverage also has a vibrant lilac color and no sugar (Mintel GNPD, May 2023).
Real Fruit Flavor: This non-alcoholic wine from Stella Rosa is made with natural peach flavor. The packaging describes the beverage as “guilt-free” and perfect for any time of day or occasion (Mintel GNPD, March 2023).
Social Media Creates Global Taste Buds
With the daily, sometimes hourly, connectedness to social media, people are communicating online more often and exploring new platforms. We’ve discussed how social media can inspire people to try new tastes. And you can’t deny the power of the growing popularity of the video app, TikTok. Mintel notes that platforms like TikTok are ideal for generating excitement around new flavors or formats in food and beverage. The app has 1.06 billion active users and offers a way for people to explore cuisine outside their home countries and find new recipe ideas. Snacks and beverages, in particular, are approachable categories where shoppers can try international styles and flavors with relatively low risk.
Snack foods with dual flavor combinations like sweet heat can incorporate flavors from international cuisines like mangoes, figs, or plantains. The persona interacting with the term “sweet heat” on social media are people between 25 and 34 (Mintel). Beverages can become international with twists on chocolate (like adding spice) or using exotic fruits like yuzu and lychee.
Stand Out Statistics
- So far in 2023, TikTok users spend an average of 55 minutes a day on the platform (Oberlo).
- 47% of restaurant consumers aged 18-24 say social media is a great way to learn about new, trending flavors (Mintel).
- Nearly 80% of Canadian adults believe internationally inspired foods are good ways to experience other cultures (Mintel).
- Of U.S. restaurant consumers, 41% want spicy flavors in beverages, and 37% want spicy flavors in desserts (Mintel).
What are the Experts Saying?
- Delish listed “Food TikToks” in their We Predict These Will Be the Biggest Food Trends of 2023 article.
- The Food Institute names TikTok a food industry influencer. Robyn Carter of Jump Rope Innovation (JRI) and Brooke Stewart of Power Moms Media said recipe videos are so popular because users “are looking for quick, easy, healthy meals that are also homemade and unique. TikTok delivers recipes that fulfill those needs in an easy-to-understand, visual format.”
- A 2022 study from Indiana University Bloomington, “TikTok Made Me Do It”: Teenagers’ Perception and Use of Food Content on TikTok, study revealed teens:
- Learn about food preparation techniques
- Save food ideas using the “favorite” feature
- Get practical inspiration for everyday healthy eating
- Try specific food items mentioned in videos
- Experiment with new recipes
- Discover (and adopt) trendy dietary regimens like intermittent fasting or mindful eating.
Yuzu in the Spotlight: Launched in June, Moshi Red Shiso & Apple Sparkling Yuzu includes education about this international fruit: “Yuzu is a prized citrus native to East Asia that is known for its incredible fragrance and aroma” (Mintel GNPD, June 2023). The brand has almost 48,000 views on TikTok!
Unique Flavors: Chamoy is a popular Mexican condiment made from pickled fruits and chilies with a distinct tangy taste. Chomis Gomis by Sabores Michoacan recently launched a kids’ variety with a fruity mix of flavors. We noticed this unique product at Sweets and Snacks Expo 2023 in Chicago (Mintel GNPD, June 2023). Almost 10,000 TikTok followers give the brand kudos as ‘the best tasting chamoy candy.’
Chef Pii (Veronica Shaw) recently partnered with Dave’s Gourmet to bring her Pink Sauce to home kitchens. Shaw posted her culinary creation as a way to dress up fried chicken, French fries, and veggies with a one-of-a-kind sauce. Ingredients include dragon fruit for taste (and the pink hue), sunflower seed oil, honey, chili, and garlic.
Crossover Formats: A viral trend that originated during 2020 lockdowns made the move to retail shelves. Belgian Boys cereal, launched in March 2023, is an easy-to-serve version of a recipe that emerged on TikTok. The hashtag #pancakecereal currently has over 1.7 billion views on TikTok.
Develop Your Next Experience-Inspired Food or Beverage with FlavorSum
Ready to start your next experienced-inspired innovation? Why not collaborate with flavor and applications experts who can help you navigate development hurdles and speed time to market? We can help you create memorable experiences that have shoppers coming back for more. Connect with us to get started!