A number of trends have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers look towards local produce, but also seek the familiar during times of crises.

According to leading industry analysts IWSR one trend to emerge sees consumers turning to products with nostalgic flavours, as they seek both comfort and indulgence in these difficult days.

Brandy Rand, COO Americas, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, said: “For many people, pandemic lockdowns amplified aspects of creating coziness. Flavours and smells like chocolate chip cookies, fresh-squeezed lemonade or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich bring back the nostalgia of childhood and are simple comforts.”

The trend is highlighted in the US where the growth of peanut butter-flavoured whiskey has continued at pace during the pandemic. According to IWSR data the leading five peanut butter whiskey brands in the US increased sales by more than 250 per cent from 2019 to 2020.

Rand said that as the trend evolves more brands will look to take advantage of this pandemic-induced nostalgia and incorporate flavours of chocolate.

“The peanut butter whiskey trend that has captured consumers’ interest over the past few years has paved the way for dessert inspired whiskey-based indulgences,” she said.

“As a flavour, chocolate works well with peanut butter so it’s not a surprise that labels are being approved for chocolate peanut butter whiskey brand lines in the US. Other relevant chocolate inspired flavours currently in planning include chocolate mint, original chocolate, s’mores and dark chocolate banana.”

The trend has also emerged in the RTD category, with nostalgia seeing lemonade flavours gain in popularity again. The IWSR says that in rum, banana has become a popular flavour trend with brands such as La Hechicera, Red Leg, Dead Man’s Fingers and Rockstar Spirits launching banana-flavoured expressions in the past year.

So how will the trend evolve in the future? “The taboo of enjoying these sweet, indulgent flavours seems to have waned over the past year, and more brands are likely to release their own nostalgic flavour iterations. We’re also likely to see more flavour combinations hit the market, as well as flavours that reflect regional products or desserts,” Rand said.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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