Healthy flavours drive beverage innovation
While flavour trends can vary markedly by region, research data from Innova Market Insights indicates that rising interest in superfruits is evident globally, with pomegranate leading the field. It accounted for over 40% of tracked beverage launches featuring superfruit flavours 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 flavours in the North American beverage market,” said Lu Ann Williams, head of Research at Innova Market Insights. “US 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 flavours are also featuring strongly, Williams reports, often in combination with fruit flavours, in juices, smoothies, and teas, adding health-giving phytochemicals, as well as a new flavour 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 flavours in the US 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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