While consumers’ feet have been mostly grounded since the pandemic, their tastebuds are still eager to explore, with a tasty 74% of global consumers saying they like food and drinks products with new and unusual or exotic flavours. (FMCG Gurus 2021).
It’s no surprise that an increase in home cooking, little or no travel and limited entertainment options have led to a desire to break the monotony, expressed through a willingness to try new experiences. This issues beverage manufacturers a mandate to become more creative and ambitious with their products.
How is this affecting consumer behaviour?
We consider this part of a broader ‘re-imagining of consumption’, highlighted in three key areas:
- Seeking experiences through both novel and nostalgic flavours – new flavours can deliver on consumers’ increasing appetite for experiences, tapping into their curiosity and evoking feelings of escapism through flavours. More classic or nostalgic flavours offer comfort and speak to safer times. Trends of nostalgia and familiarity are causing consumers to sometimes avoid the unusual in favour of established flavours that they perceive as having heritage.
- Tastebud exploration – as mentioned earlier, mainly due to lack of international travel and increased home cooking, resulting in an increase in adventurous tastes.
- Direct to consumer – successful brands today have a direct relationship with their customers and customers can communicate their needs directly on social media and other online channels. Of those who interact with brands online, 89% say brand interaction has an influence on their purchasing habits. (Infosys survey).
What’s your flavour?
Despite this move towards the new and exotic, more traditional flavours are far from being discarded.
A resurgence in consumers seeking reassuring home comforts during the pandemic has seen shoppers turn to familiar flavour combinations too. What’s more, the growing awareness of the impact products have on the environment is not going away any time soon. This means sustainability and the story behind the ingredients (processing, farming, shipping and more) will continue to play a bigger role in the development of products. Consumers, particularly the Gen Z group, are keen to make sustainable purchases, and will often pay a slightly higher price for a product that has less impact on society or the environment.
Novel products will need to pay heed to both people and planet if they are to successfully respond to the adventure‐seeking trend.
Perfectly placed to delight consumers
Lamia Gaman, Treatt Applications Manager, comments: “We’re constantly scanning consumer trends to understand what new flavour combinations are on the horizon and we have certainly seen the emergence of an adventure‐seeking trend as a result of the pandemic. Using our unique technologies, we can create extracts, flavours and distillates that fit with any existing or future trends.
“In the case of the exotic, adventurous movement, we looked ahead to produce some items that are already becoming well‐established now, such as yuzu, blood orange, pomelo and chipotle. All of these extracts and flavours offer something a little bit different but with the reassuring link to health benefits.”