Beverage development company Flavorman has announced the drinks trends it will be watching in 2022.
The US-based business has worked with drinks clients from concept to product production for nearly 30 years. It has examined the beverage projects that have come through its lab in the last 12 months to predict what areas will be in style in the year to come.
Flavorman said trends next year will be driven by the long-term impacts of the pandemic and will centre around celebrating simple pleasures while striving for balance. Such trends interact with a range of global consumption movements which continue to shape the wider drinks industry.
Big and bold flavours
The first trend to watch will be around how producers seek to differentiate from the competition with a range of different flavours. Booming demand for hard seltzer has seen subtle flavour offerings dominate a lot of the market, which Flavorman believes will drive producers into bigger and bolder flavour profile experimentations.
“Client requests have taken a 180 degree turn on flavour, especially where seltzers and sparkling waters are concerned,” said Tom Gibson, Flavorman’s Chief Flavourist.
“Whereas before, clients would be looking for a gentler spritz of nuanced flavors in their drink, we are now seeing more clients ask for loud and proud, single-note flavors.”
The specific flavours that are set to be most popular are those that are familiar and much loved among consumers, especially childhood favourites like watermelon, strawberry, cherry, apple and grape. Flavorman said these profiles will see a resurgence as more consumers seek out nostalgic and instantly recognisable tastes.
As the pandemic continues to influence people’s mindsets around the world, more people are looking for balance in their consumption habits. Celebrating the little things has become more important than ever, as consumers embrace indulgent experiences, with some slight modifications.
Within the ever-present premiumisation trend, Flavorman predicts consumers will be shifting their indulgent drinks choices towards more botanical-forward beverages that are a little bit different. Floral profiles will become more mainstream, while earthier and herbal flavours like turmeric, anise and rosemary will be more sought out.
“Many of the ingredients you would find in your kitchen spice cabinet can introduce an extra element to a drink, providing new dimensions of flavour or functionality,” said Katie Clark, Flavorman’s Lab Manager.
“Consumers tend to react to these twists with greater expectations – an insight that brands can leverage in premium beverage offers.”
Consumers are also set to continue indulging in interesting and occasion-based drinks next year, building from what they learned during on-premise lockdowns and replicating the bar experience at home.
Colin Blake, Director of Spirits Education at Moonshine University, the sister company of the Flavorman Beverage Campus, said: “In the spirits world, amaro, absinthe and other botanical spirits are seeing a renaissance.
“These drinks tend to have a distinctive quality due to their balance of bitter and sweet, and they are consumed in very particular ways, usually before or directly following a meal. Consumers in the premium sector have embraced the ritual involved as another way of replicating a bar experience.”
The simple things
In a time that has become quite complicated, Flavorman predicts consumer perceptions will continue to place more value on simplicity. For example, shoppers are appreciating simple ingredient lists more than ever, in line with the ‘better for you’ movement happening in drinks, and avoiding drinks with added or synthetic flavours, colours or preservatives. They’re also predicted to be happy to just engage in simply great tasting drinks, no matter the alcohol content.
“Transparency has, time and time again, proven to be important to consumers,” said Clark.
“Going low or no alcohol is a lifestyle choice that some consumers are rallying behind as a way to achieve holistic health goals. This trend has fueled explosive growth in non-alcoholic spirits and ready to drink mocktails—as well as lower ABV wine-based cocktails—that we expect to continue into the New Year.”
Keep an eye out for upcoming issues of National Liquor News, which will dig further into the top drinks trends predictions for next year.