Healthy flavors, such as herbs and spices, honey, and new-generation superfruits will be the next hits in the global beverages market.
While flavor trends can vary markedly by region, research data from Innova Market Insights indicates that rising interest in superfruits is evident globally, with pomegranate still leading the field.It accounted for over 40% of tracked beverage launches featuring superfruit flavors over the June 2008 to May 2013 period, well ahead of açai and lychee, with 12.5% and 12%, respectively. Emerging or new-generation superfruits are led by guanabana/soursop, cactus/prickly pear, and marula.
"Cactus/prickly pear is one of the emerging superfruit flavors in the North American beverage market," said Lu Ann Williams, Head of Research at Innova Market Insights. "U.S. launches over the past year including Cactus Juice and Cactus Tea from Nopal and Prickly Pear Cactus Tea from Hunter & Hilsberg, as well as Martinelli's Prickly Passion Lemonade juice drink, featuring prickly pear puree."
Vegetable flavors are also featuring strongly, Williams reports, often in combination with fruit flavors, in juices, smoothies, and teas, adding health-giving phytochemicals, as well as a new flavor element. The number of beverage launches featuring celery rose six-fold in 2012, while those featuring cucumber and beets doubled. Kale also started to feature in the beverages market in 2012.
The generally rising level of interest in hot and spicy flavors in the U.S. food market as a whole has also spread through to beverages. This has led to the emergence of hot and spicy variants featuring ingredients such as black pepper and chiles, including habanero, jalapeno and chipotle.
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