Our beverage experts formulate dozens of new and innovative drinks for clients every day, making them a valuable resource for the latest flavor trends. In December, our team got together to predict the trends we expect to take over the beverage industry in 2020 and our forecast features ginger as one of the top 3 flavors set up for success in a year favoring the fresh and functional.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at the world’s attraction to ginger as a drink flavor and ingredient, and the ways it’s being used in beverage application. Let get into it!

Ginger as an Ingredient

First of all, what is ginger and where does it come from?

Ginger is a rhizome (or underground stem) that originated and was domesticated in Southeast Asia on the islands between mainland Asia and Australia. From there, the plant was spread as far east as Hawaii and as far west as Madagascar. Today, ginger remains a prevalent ingredient in food and drink culture around the globe.

As an ingredient, ginger offers a variety of health benefits making it the perfect addition to functional beverages. A potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, the main bioactive compound in ginger is gingerol. This substance is responsible for much of the medicinal properties in ginger. Ginger is often used to prevent nausea, reduce muscle and menstrual pain, lower blood sugars and cholesterol, and treat indigestion.

Thanks to all of its health properties, it is unsurprising that ginger is considered natural and is often associated with wellness; this translates to how consumers also tend to view beverages with ginger flavoring, fueling its rise to popularity in drinks of all kinds. Its delicious flavor is just a bonus!

Ginger as a Drink Flavor

One of the first things consumers consider when picking a beverage off of the shelf is its flavor – and ginger happens to support a range of taste preferences. Ranging from hot and spicy, to sweet and warm, ginger maintains a freshness that works well in an assortment of beverage types and flavor combinations. This reflects what we’re seeing come out of the Flavorman lab, where our beverage architects make a variety of ginger drinks – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – based on our clients’ specifications: some are smooth and mellow, while others have a spicier kick.

Ginger can be characterized by a unique combination of citrus and earthy notes with sensations of heat. Despite being a bold flavor in its own right, ginger profiles pair well with a variety of other flavors – from blackberry, to lemon, honey, turmeric, citrus, cinnamon, fennel, and more.

This is exciting news for beverage creators, because it means that the possibilities for developing complex and unique flavor experiences with ginger are endless. For much of the same reason, ginger also works well in beverages of all types.

How Ginger Continues to Change What the World is Drinking

The majority of the interest in ginger flavored drinks has been attributed to its use in tea, beer, and ale specifically, which has sustained growth at 32% year-over-year, according to the latest Google Beverage Trends Report (2017). But that’s not to say that the flavor isn’t seeing innovation in the beverage space. Ginger has applications for a range of categories and is now being used in drinks of all types.

Over the last few years, there’s been an explosion of ginger drinks with infusions, juices, and waters on the rise with 79% in year-over-year growth. In fact, many of the beverage industry’s biggest players has launched their own versions on the market (think Coca-Cola’s Sprite Ginger and Diet Coke Ginger Lime products), signalling that consumer demand is growing.

And as the craft cocktail movement continues to experience its own steady momentum, one trend that’s also unmistakably tied to the popularity of ginger is the success of the Moscow Mule. The cocktail has inspired a new generation of Ready-to-Drink (RTD) varieties on the market and has expanded on menus by 23% year-over-year, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor.

Following these trends and what we’ve seen coming through our lab at Flavorman, our beverage experts predict that ginger will likely be used in 2020 as a pairing to brighten up fruit flavors in everything from seltzers to juices, teas, kombucha, and more.

From a medicine to a refreshing beverage, ginger drinks have a 5,000+ year history that has continued to change what the world is drinking. There’s sure to be more innovation to come, and who knows? Maybe your drink idea will be next.

To learn more about how the beverage development experts at Flavorman can help you bring your ginger drink to life, just fill out this web form, or give us a call at (502) 453-0152 to get started.

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Written on February 19, 2020.