MELVILLE, N.Y. — Flavor trends in 2020 will be shaped by plant-based snacks, low or no alcohol beverages, Asian food and nostalgic sweets, according to Comax Flavors. The company is introducing four flavor collections in response to these increasingly influential trends.
The big story in recent years is the rise of plant-based foods. The number of eating occasions also is growing, as more consumers seek out healthy snacks to stay satisfied throughout the day. Snacks with a health claim grew 17% between 2013 and 2017, according to Innova Market Insights, and snacks with a nutritious claim grew 22%. Launches with plant-based ingredients grew 44% during the period.
Flavors in Comax’s new Plant-Powered Snack collection include maple bacon ranch, honey siracha and lemon truffle. The collection is vegan, kosher and may be used a range of plant-based applications, the company said.
Bottled low and no alcohol beverages are expected to grow by 32% between 2018 and 2020, according to IWSR. Research from Morning Jump shows nearly half of consumers across all age groups have purchased non-alcoholic alternatives. Currently, around 40% of the drinking-age population doesn’t drink.
“Individuals are cutting back on drinking for a variety of reasons and many are looking for low or no alcohol beverages with fewer calories, less sugar and better-for-you profiles,” said Catherine Armstrong, vice-president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors.
Comax created the No Proof Needed collection, which includes matcha pineapple punch-less, no-geroni and mango-no-tini flavors, to meet this growing demand.
The boom in Asian food and beverages is driven by younger, adventurous consumers seeking authentic global cuisine. Asian flavors on menus at fast-casual restaurants grew nearly 30% year-over-year, according to Foodable Research Labs, and orders of Asian flavor-based menu items increased 12% year-over-year among millennials.
“Comax recognizes the younger generations’ desire to experiment, explore global flavors, and broadcast their experiences on social media,” Ms. Armstrong said.
The company’s new Asian Influences collection may be used in several applications such as non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, beverage syrups, dairy, ice cream, baked foods and nutrition and performance products. Flavors include milk tea, Japanese pancake and ube vanilla.
Eating raw cookie dough remains a popular way for consumers to enjoy nostalgic treats, and pasteurization and heating treatment have made safe, edible raw cookie available to consumers of all ages. The cookie category increased 2.6% last year, according to I.R.I. data. Technomic reports that cookie dough menu items grew 9% year-over-year in 2019.
With this mind, Comax created the So Doughlicious assortment as a nod to childhood, Ms. Armstrong said. Flavors include birthday cake cookie dough, cold-brew coffee cookie dough and s’mores cookie dough. They are suitable for use in dairy, ice cream, baked foods, nutrition and performance products, confections, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages and beverage syrups.