Peach now crowned as 2024 flavour of the year

dsm-firmenich has declared Peach+ its 12th annual “Flavor of the Year” for 2024. Peach+ is also inspired by Pantone 13-1023 Peach Fuzz, the global colour authority’s 2024 Color of the Year.

dsm-firmenich has identified “boundless possibilities” for peach and the flavour house identifies how food brands can lead with emerging trends to create F&B products with “high impact, tapping into sensory and emotional needs”.

The selection for Peach+ and Pantone’s 13-1023 Peach Fuzz are based on emerging signals in the cultural and consumer landscape where trends in “kindness, community, goodness and comfort” have all been identified by dsm-firmenich as having increasing relevancy.

Multifaceted meanings

Peach+ is being slated as an opportunity to innovate with the flavour, to go beyond the traditional juicy sweet aspects to also consider softer, smoother, lighter, more refreshing, textural elements.

The peach is one of the oldest cultivated fruits in the world, with a 4,000-year-old history that began in China and continues to this day. China is the world leader in peach production and exportation, with over 400 varieties under cultivation.

Across Asia, peach moving from being a “seasonal” flavour with a heavy bias toward beverages to one that is more consistently enjoyed all year round across all categories, notes Mikel Cirkus, global creative director for Taste, Texture & Health at dsm-firmenich.

“Our research reveals that peach has many multifaceted meanings,” adds Jeffrey Richard Schmoyer, VP of human insights for Taste, Texture & Health at dsm-firmenich. “And peach is incredibly emotional. While the peach has a long history, it also has an innovative future.”

Connecting to consumer emotion

According to Emotions 360, a proprietary dsm-firmenich consumer study that measures consumer emotions associated with ingredients, the peach is somewhat unique in that it has many innate contrasting qualities, such as being both “indulgent and pampering,” but also “refreshing and revitalising and youthful, yet nostalgic.”

Peach has been an “evergreen fruit flavoor” in many categories for decades, with a steady share of presence in innovations in most regions. Today, peach is growing in popularity in some regions and categories, both as the primary tonality and in combination with others.

Application opportunities

According to dsm-firmenich, the most prevalent areas of growth for peach NPD are carbonated soft drinks, nectars, candies, ready-to-drink teas, teas, flavoured alcoholic beverages, yogurt and fruit preparations, dairy drinks, juices containing peach and fruit preserves.

“For brands looking to push the boat out a little further and offer consumers something more unique and unexpected, we’re seeing a rising potential for peach in plant-based dairy alternatives, functional and nutritional drinks and fermented beverages such as kombuchas, as well as more savoury options including dressings and table sauces, side dishes, cooking sauces and noodles,” explains Cirkus.

“While peach itself is already a popular flavour in many food and beverage applications, there is an additional opportunity in using Peach+ alongside nutritional and active ingredients, offering benefits for consumer well-being.”

Cirkus expects to see peach pop up in many new applications next year; everything from almond drinks to zucchini fritters will be fair game for peach’s influence. “We’re especially excited to see how peach is used in functional beverages, savoury sauces and marinades, protein analogs, vitamins and supplements.”