The keys to flavour success? Storytelling, plant power and wellness

Innova Market Insights has issued its latest report on global flavour trends, highlighting that NPD is “not just about tantalising the taste buds” but is increasingly focused on how flavour use can complement and develop the storytelling behind products and brands.

Other important trends include the rise in plant-based alternatives, wellness associations, macronutrient influences and flavours supporting textural developments.

According to the market researcher, 56 percent of global consumers surveyed agreed that stories around a brand influenced their purchasing decisions. Moreover, consumers are increasingly captivated by the stories behind products and brands, and flavours have a key role to play in this, making “Storytelling” the first of Innova Market Insights’ previously issued Top Ten Trends for 2020. 

Innova Market Insights’ new Top Five Flavour Trends for 2020 are:

1. Storytelling
Increased consumer interest in the origin of their food and beverage products is seeing ingredient provenance as a key element of brand storytelling.

Over 40 percent of global consumers wanted to know the story around a brand because they hoped to learn where the ingredients were from, according to an Innova Market Insights survey.

Storytelling strategies include a focus on authentic tastes, flavours and recipes, as well as uniqueness through ingredient provenance and artisan or small-batch processing.

What is brand storytelling?

Brand storytelling is defined as the art of shaping a company’s identity through the use of narratives and storytelling techniques that facilitate an emotional response and establish meaningful connections.

When done correctly, research shows the powerful impact storytelling can have:

2. The Power of Plants
The use of plant ingredients and plant-based recipes is soaring across a whole range of F&B categories, with an Innova Consumer Survey revealing that three in five global consumers are increasingly incorporating plant ingredients into their diets.

Plant ingredients can provide a healthy and colorful touch, with the use of a multitude of vegetable flavours for a healthy halo, including on-trend purple potato as part of the purple vegetables trend.

3. Wellness Flavours
Pursuit of healthier lifestyles is not only driving the plant-based trend, but also the demand for flavours targeting more general wellness, both mental and physical.

Botanical flavours are increasingly popular for relaxation, stress reduction and sleep enhancement, featuring ingredients such as lavender, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabis and turmeric. Floral-flavoured drinks increasingly have mood associations, being seen as potentially relaxing or energizing.

4. Macronutrient Challenge
Consumer perceptions of macronutrients in relation to health are also evolving. There is a need to maintain taste profiles while reducing sugar, calorie or fat content, with sugar seen as a particular priority.

Active ingredients are also impacting product flavours, as seen in high-protein options, such as cheese, seeds and nuts, as well as the association of “source of vitamin” claims with fruity flavours.

 5. Tapping into Texture
Consumers increasingly recognise the influence of texture on eating and drinking experiences, with seven out of ten global consumers agreeing that texture can make food and beverages a more interesting experience.

Meanwhile, six out of ten say that texture claims influenced their purchasing decisions. As part of this, there is growing interest in flavours that create a richer texture experience, such as honeycomb and toffee, while industry continues to experiment with nuts in a wide variety of applications, including crunchy varieties and smooth bases.

The other Top Trends identified by Innova Market Insights are:

6. Hello Hybrids

7. All Time Favourites

8. Triggering the Taste Buds

9. Brown Flavours

10. Flavours Unlimited

FREE WEBINAR! Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, will present the Top Flavour Trends for 2020 webinar on May 20, 2020 at 4pm CEST/10am EDT.