Eating and drinking are intimate moments we share for pleasure, sustenance and health. One lure to trial of a new product is the taste it promises. Attached to this is the color it wears.
A new product or product line will make its way to the consumers household when it hits the right notes in both flavor and color. And today’s shopper is unapologetic in what they want, which is bold new flavors, exotic and whimsical combinations, a healthy 'halo' and colors that bring a smile to their eyes – all that lean into and bolster their desires. Consumers are increasingly indulging their personal desires, which is reflected in four emerging flavor and color trends that will rise to the top in 2024.
Unexpected flavors and colors that challenge the status quo, push boundaries and transcend traditions are delighting consumers’ senses and reinventing what consumers expect to see on their plates. From diving deeper into self-expression to embracing individual wellness goals and lifestyles, we will see both a mingling of flavor and color themes, as well as distinct differences.
1. Luxe self-expression
While today’s consumers want affordable food and beverage choices, they unapologetically want those choices to evoke indulgent, luxurious experiences that align with their unique personalities. Consumers are inspired by viral trends on social media and want it IRL, and viral food trends are showing up in consumer packaged goods.
For example: the sweet flavors of caramelized fruit and cinnamon sugar, or sweet combinations with savory umami deliver on exotic indulgence. Shades of blue atoll, sparkling grape, fired brick and apricot crush not only provide a visual treat, they play to consumers’ emotions and identities through the bright and satisfying foods and flavors they correspond with.
Viral food trends delight and inspire as consumers scroll through their TikTok and Instagram accounts, fostering an almost hedonistic desire for taste satisfaction and colorful visual appeal. Undeniably, technology is closely tied to this space as these trends move from phone screens to stores shelves.
Consumers continue to seek out products that resonate with their personal values, such as those sourced and made sustainably. Brands that respond in kind will attract such discerning – and adventurous – consumers.
2. Dare to #dupe
With more than 2.3 billion views, “#dupe” – the sassy form of “duplication” – is a powerful consumer concept. The “#dupe” trend is familiar in personal care and fashion, but the concept has begun to infiltrate the food and beverage space. With a rapid growth over the past five years, #dupes have evolved far beyond being “knockoffs.” For foods and beverages, the rise of premium private label products is paving the way for exhilarating experiences without a hefty price tag – echoing Luxe Self-Expression.
#Dupe also lends well to reinvention of nostalgic favorites, infusing familiar tastes in new formats. This reimagining synergizes with demand for closer-to-nature ingredients. In the world of colors this means a shift away from synthetics toward naturally derived hues that have a similar striking visual appeal. Think playful and cheerful colors from magical marigold to pistachio green.
Now more than ever, consumers are empowered to revisit their memories, ruminating about what “authentic” truly means to them and where to find it. Whether it’s freshly peeled citrus fruit at breakfast or childhood memories of rainbow sherbet, this trend is unpacking what nostalgia-tinged authenticity can look and taste like in foods and beverages.
3. Health without stealth
With health and wellness top-of-mind, functional support has become a primary factor for many consumers. But it doesn’t stop there and a health and wellness attribute is not the be all end all. Along with that benefit, consumers also desire a sensory experience – from appearance to taste – to reflect and enhance the support they seek. Being healthy should be fun, not a chore. Flavors and colors may signal that products are positioned to support relaxation, energy, and hydration, and consumers want these to be loudly broadcasted so they can proudly showcase their healthy lifestyles to others.
In both foods and beverages fermentation is bubbling, think kimchis and booches, respectively. Fermentation continues to pique curiosity and garner more acolytes, especially as consumers recognize how fermentation promotes proper gut function and this in turn can support their overall well-being. Fermentation and health via the gut are opening doors for flavors with sour notes commonly associated with on-trend kombucha or the process of pickling. Olive oil green and other vegetal colors pair harmoniously with these funky flavor profiles.
In tandem, clean and tangy citrus fruits and delicate florals (hibiscus) continue to captivate wellness-minded shoppers. For 2024, consumers will be enthralled with lively flavors like tangy yuzu and blood orange, as well as floral cherry blossom coupled with a range of vibrant hues, including spectra yellow, persimmon, very violet and floral pink.
Because “better-for-you” foods and beverages are increasingly in demand (there was a huge leap of 54% in “minus” products from Q3 2022 to Q2 2023) there is a more staunchly dedicated focus on low- or no-fat, sugar or salt products, shaping what consumers want to see in these products.
In the new year, manufacturers will continue to be challenged to find the right balance between the expectation of a sensorial experience and delivering on wellness demands – here is where ADM’s flavor and color expertise steps in to innovate solutions that hit all bases.
4. Breaking boundaries of taste and color
Embracing the unconventional with an unapologetic flair is the new norm. With social media bringing all corners of the globe to us instantly by removing barriers, it enables us to discover new favourite foods and beverages. For example, #eggdropsandwich received approximately 9.6 million views on TikTok.
Viral posts on social media are also evoking awe in consumers, stoking their appetites with screens festooned with rich purples to splashes of blues and saturated yellows. These impressionable moments online are fuelling the desire for radiant and distinct sensory experiences. Flavors from far-flung locales, such as lychee and shacha, are gaining traction with consumers, as they look beyond their home region for novel ways to express themselves. Products responding to this trend can disrupt the norm of what is expected through tapping unconventional combinations or formats.
Not only do consumers want more, they want to play, to mix it up, and create their own food sensations and drink adventures. Innovation is reaching new heights – allowing for the ability to create a bespoke experience centered on uninhibited exploration.
These four trends enable opportunity for boundless innovation to create captivating foods and beverages, sparking excitement in foodies of all ages.
Begin the journey with ADM
Every food and beverage innovation journey begins with that first step. Utilizing AI technology enhances the ability to translate the trends woven throughout social media and global product launches. This is part of a finely honed technique that also includes constant sensory experience input along with human intelligence, all which drive ADM’s skillset in creating and colors and flavors consumers will gravitate to, ensuring your product is the sought-after experience provided IRL.
By working with a global partner that utilizes flavors and colors derived from natural sources, along with vast formulation expertise, food and beverage brands will have a kaleidoscope of colors and distinct flavors to ring in the new year with innovative offerings.