Our beverage experts taste dozens of new and innovative beverages every day. They experience first-hand what new flavor trends are hot and what’s trending. Here is what they had to say about 2019…

Trends for 2019….  Back to the old/simplicity

Berry Flavors: It’s not a new flavor concept, but we foresee Mixed Berry combos as a driver in the beverage area. Think red berry, wild berry, dark berry, and tropical berry blends to drive the category. Berry flavors are common identifiers in all beverage segments and can provide an indulgent profile (strawberry shortcake) health and wellness benefits (blueberry paired with other antioxidants) and work well as a masking agent in different beverages such as protein beverages. Look to see berry make a splash (again!) in 2019.

Herbal Bitters: Building off the botanical trend from last year, we see a more specific focus on herbal bitters. We see the drive in the alcohol segment for liquors such as Aperol, Amaro, and Campari to the top of trending liqueur profiles. But not only will the alcohol segment utilize these bitter trends, we predict this trend will bleed over to the non-alcoholic segments as well. You can see this present in a growing shrub category and a growing authentic tonic category.

Citrus: Last year, grapefruit was king, but the drive is still growing in all categories to benefit from the zesty, juicy aromas of citrus flavors whether that be as a single fruit (with lemon and lime at the top) or as combos as a toner (orange-mango, lemon-ginger), citrus flavors are vibrant flavor drivers of the beverage category. In the past, where exotic citruses have trended – think calamansi, buddhas hand, and nartjie – the standards are alive and present in trends for 2019.

Watermelon: This flavor was low on the totem pole at the beginning of 2018, but we have seen it making a big drive toward the end of the year. What better flavor than watermelon to provide a refreshing, sweet profile to your beverage? Its perception of sweetness alone can drive the assumed sweetness of a product, meaning it is a flavor which can deliver sweetness without the presence of sugar, making it a great standalone flavor in unsweetened products (a category which also just so happens to be dominating the trends this year). We predict an influx of watermelon flavored beverages in the market for the spring/summer of 2019.

Cucumber: Nothing evokes a day at the spa quite like the crisp aroma of cucumber. This tricky profile has been popular in concept, while execution has been best left to the experts. The most successful applications highlight the fresh, green notes and deftly avoid the vegetal, overripe characteristics. Done well, cucumber paired with mint or citrus is poised to continue to be popular in 2019.

Mule Variations: Alcohol (not just vodka anymore) + ginger beer. This popular drink encompasses many of the top flavor trends that we have seen in past years and this current year: citrus (lime), ginger, and alcohol flavors. Its refreshing, zesty, and spicy profile is on the rise. It will continue to be popular in 2019 in a variety of segments but primarily in the alcoholic beverage segment.

Herbal Teas/Tisanes: Unsweetened beverages continue to grow, and people are playing with combining different herbal ingredients to make herbal teas or “tisanes” which can end up being very earthy, floral, spicy, bitter, sweet, sour, or any combination. The lack of sugar combined with the herbal ingredients’ purported benefits give people a drink that they’re glad to indulge in.

Other predictions: 

Flavored seltzers will continue to grow and branch out with newer/trendier flavors beyond the classics.

Everything in a can.

Less focus on energy, more focus on wellness.

That’s So Last Year. The top flavors of 2018 were maple, honey, grapefruit, and botanicals.

Written on December 11, 2018.