How are Indulgence and Multisensory Shaping the Food and Beverage Industry?

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With flexible approaches to ownership from houses to cars, experiences outweigh ownership from a millennial’s perspective, in comparison to previous generations. This is redefining adulthood and the perception of what is considered important. As told by Eventbrite, “When it comes to money, ‘experiences’ trump ‘things’: More than three in four millennials (78%) would choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over buying something desirable.” This trend is further exemplified by the competitiveness of image-centric social media, generating demand for novel and experience-based products that can generate share-worthy content.

Re-Discovering Indulgence

As a counter-trend to sugar reduction, consumers are re-discovering indulgence, allowing consumers to find comfort in rich, flavourful food and drink. This trend allows brands to capitalise on premiumisation with “craft-style drinks”, as well as push flavour boundaries. From Global Data’s 2017 survey, research shows that “Consumers are more willing to experiment with flavours when choosing non-alcoholic drinks, than in any other sector.”
The indulgence trend is augmented by:

• Globalisation – A greater exposure to foreign cuisine leads to the development of more distinct flavours
• Escapism – The need to “treat yourself”
• Rising incomes - Global economic growth allows for more luxurious purchases
• Hyper-premiumisation – Allows for added value (especially in the non-alcoholic drink sector where craft-style drinks are becoming popular)
• Identity branding – To reinforce status and identity through purchases

Fona Insights tells us, “83% of consumers snacking daily and 26% of those consumers snacking between meals to “treat or reward” themselves.” Indulgent flavours include chocolate, peanut butter, strawberries and cream and dessert flavours such as lemon cheesecake or pumpkin pie. However, consumers want to strike a balance between health and indulgence. Sports nutrition is a key area for combining indulgent flavourings with added functionality.


Multisensory is growing innovation in the food and beverage industry. Novel and experiential experiences are being created through taste, texture, smell, sound and shapes to enhance sensory fusion. Using molecular biology, we can be led to believe things are sweeter than they seem, with rounder and softer shapes heightening the perception of sweetness. As well as colour, with red said to increase sweetness by up to 10%. Angular shapes are proven to enhance crispness and more astringent properties.

Global Data says, “Consumers' quest for distinctiveness in their purchases is a trend prevalent in all age cohorts, but is particularly notable among Millennial, Generation-X, and female consumers.” Drinks such as such as clear coffee, black charcoal water and tea infused alcohol are capitalising on this trend, playing with our senses to provide us with multi-sensory experience-based products. Innovative technology such as 3D printing also offers a multi-sensory and multi-dimensional approach, allowing unexpected, edible objects to be designed in cocktails, enhancing texture and creating memorable experiences.

How We Can Help?

Discover how we can work with you on these trends. Whether you want to reduce sugar levels in your beverages, whilst maintaining the same great taste or enhance your products with our range of flavour ingredients. Email to get started.