Trends

Written on June 9, 2021.

Whether you gulp it down by the glass or simply enjoy a splash of it in your breakfast cereal, milk has been a staple in homes around the globe for generations. Now, that seems to be changing. Evidenced by several decades of declining milk sales, consumers seem to be turning their backs on dairy, opting instead for trendy “alternative milk” products made from plants. The latest craze? Oat milk.

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Written on June 2, 2021.

2020 gave us the “summer of seltzer.” Now halfway through the new year, it’s clear that the seltzer craze is here to stay. An already $4 billion industry, hard seltzer is projected to keep on growing at a rapid-fire pace; in fact, experts at Goldman Sachs expect the category to reach a whopping $30 billion in sales by 2025—yep, that’s a lot of White Claw!

Of course, the question remains: as competition heats up and the category continues to evolve, what lies ahead? How will brands stand-out in an already crowded market?

Well, if the explosion of hard seltzer has taught us anything, it’s that there’s a strong demand for “better-for-you,” lower ABV alternatives to traditional beer, wine, and spirits. With hard seltzers now dominating the mainstream, there’s plenty of opportunity for beverage companies to diversify their offers with new and innovative twists on other hard alternatives.

That’s right, hard seltzer might be the star of the show right now, but they make up just one aspect of the hard alternatives market—here’s 5 other segments in the category worth watching:

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Written on May 26, 2021.

A traditional American staple, dairy milk is facing a new challenge: plant milk. That’s right, the once niche category has officially made its way into the mainstream. Driven by health trends and consumer concern for the dairy industry’s effect on climate change, animal welfare, and ethical food production, there are now more reasons than ever for consumers to turn their backs on dairy—but the industry is fighting back. Before you pick your own side in the debate, read this:

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Written on March 17, 2021.

Whether you’re a hardworking college student, busy professional, or just someone looking for an edge, nootropic beverages offer an attractive promise—a brain boost.

As consumers continue to demand more functionality from their favorite drinks, brands are taking note. Driven by health trends prioritizing all aspects wellness—including mood, cognitive performance, and mental health—brands are exploring creative beverage solutions with benefits that extend beyond those important to physical fitness.

While still a fairly new category, nootropic beverages are emerging as an exciting frontier in the functional beverage realm—and one that is expected to reach more than $7 billion in value by 2025. But what exactly are nootropics? Here’s what you need to know:

Nootropics: What Are They?

While you may have only just started paying attention to the term recently, as a class of ingredients, nootropics are not new—in fact, the term was coined by Romanian psychologist and chemist, Corneliu E. Giurgea, who in 1972 used it as a “catch-all” to describe brain productivity enhancers.

Today we understand nootropics in much the same way; as substances thought to be linked to improved performance. Nootropic ingredients are used to enhance focus and memory, boost energy, and even elevate mood. Historically, nootropics have been primarily utilized in the development of drugs and health supplements, not beverages—but that seems to be changing.

Nootropics & The Beverage Industry

It’s important to note that some nootropic ingredients are already well-known and widely adopted in the beverage space—and have been for years! L-theanine, for example, is a compound naturally derived from tea that improves retention, recall, relaxation, and mood. Or perhaps you’ll recognize caffeine and its nootropic effects—focus and alertness—more immediately.

Of course, other nootropic ingredients have been slower to trickle into the sector and they’re why consumers have taken notice of the category, overall. Medicinal mushrooms (like reishi, chaga, and Lion’s Mane) are great illustrations of emerging ingredients that are making their way into a variety of drinks, thanks to a variety of adaptogens and antioxidants providing a powerhouse of cognitive and mental wellness benefits.

Building from the “Functional Plus” trend, a growing subculture of consumers have been experimenting with combinations of different nootropic ingredients—called “stacks”—which are believed to deliver a variety of benefits when paired. Supported by consumers’ continued interest in custom beverages and personalized nutrition, this may signal an opportunity for producers to create specialized blends of nootropic drinks that cater to this emerging market.

Developing a Nootropic Beverage

As the functional sector of the beverage industry continues rapid-fire growth, nootropics are being added to beverages of all kinds. From chocolate milk “elixirs” supporting immunity and “balance” to energy drinks designed to promote focus and alertness without the jittery side effects—the possibilities are endless, though not seamless. Here’s what we mean:

Whenever functional claims are involved, the regulatory landscape can be a challenge to navigate. If you’re interested in bringing your own nootropic drink to market, you’ll need to make sure it is formulated for success and labeled appropriately.

“Beverages cannot make health claims, so the marketing language you might use on a so-called ‘nootropic beverage’ is pretty limited,” says Flavorman’s Director Beverage Architect, Kristen Wemer. “Many of the claims associated with nootropics can be construed as health or structure-function claims, which we would advise against putting on a beverage.”

Of course, you can still make a beverage with ingredients that imply or are known by consumers to offer nootropic benefits—that’s often how brands accomplish this without making claims.

A beverage you might drink to relax could include lavender, passionflower, GABA, and lemon balm. Each of these ingredients are GRAS and allowed in a beverage, and you can highlight that the beverage contains them with hopes that a consumer will understand what they’re in there for—but the more explicit you get about the potential functionality of those ingredients, the higher risk there is that it will be construed as a health or structure-function claim.

As brands continue to pack their drinks full of functional ingredients, beverage builders have their work cut out for them to ensure these beverages can also achieve a desired mouthfeel and flavor profile while delivering on anticipated benefits.

“The functional beverage category has become increasingly complex over the last several years,” says Wemer. “Beverage developers are being asked to formulate drinks loaded with beneficial ingredients, each of which come with their own set of formulation challenges.”

“At Flavorman, we custom create our clients’ beverages, including each flavor that goes into their drink,” says Flavorman’s Chief Flavorist, Tom Gibson. “As a flavorist, I work alongside the beverage development team to create flavors that taste great while being compatible with trending ingredients.”

Our experts can formulate your nootropic beverage with flavors that emphasize the presence of any functional ingredients, while ensuring the integrity of the drink’s quality. And while our expertise is specialized in beverage development, our team boasts the resources, services, and industry connections you’ll need to make your nootropic beverage idea a success. From start through finish®, that’s the Flavorman promise.

If you’re going to launch a beverage brand, make sure you do it right the first time. When you’re ready to talk about your idea for a breakthrough nootropic beverage, give us a call at (502) 273-5214 or get started by telling us your story here.

To learn more about how Flavorman can help you change what the world is drinking, see our process.

 

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20201 Flavor Trends

Written on March 3, 2021.

Health and wellness have always been important to consumers, but in the face of the current outbreak, that’s truer now than ever before. As the world grapples with a global pandemic, consumers have found ways to take their health into their own hands—and stomachs.
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Written on January 6, 2021.

One of history’s most popular beverages is also one of the healthiest drinks that consumers enjoy today— yep, we’re talking tea! Thanks to its functionality and diversity of flavors, there’s a style to satisfy any palate. That’s also why tea has remained the world’s second most widely consumed beverage, eclipsed only by water. If you’ve never given much thought to the history or production methods behind the brew in your cup, don’t stress (though if you do, there’s a tea for that!) Instead, ease your mind with this brief background on two of the most consumed tea types— green and black tea. Grab your favorite mug and settle in.
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Written on December 8, 2020.

Our beverage experts formulate dozens of new and innovative drinks for clients every day, making them a valuable resource on the latest flavor trends. After a particularly turbulent year, our team got together to share their insights on the top flavors we expect to take over the beverage industry in the New Year.

Driven by the long-term effects of an on-going pandemic, this year’s forecast is shaping up to be focused on creating experiences in a socially distant landscape. Here are the 2021 flavor trends to watch out for:
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Written on October 21, 2020.

Combining coffee and alcohol isn’t new— Irish coffee, White Russians, espresso martinis, and other cocktails dripping in coffee liqueur have long laid the groundwork for the innovation we’re experiencing today. Craft brewers have also played a significant role, using coffee beans to create roasted, nutty, and chocolatey flavors in porters and stouts. Ready-to-drink (RTD) hard coffee is just the next evolutionary take on the pairing.
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Written on October 14, 2020.

By now, you’ve likely heard of whipped coffee— but what about whipped hot chocolate? That’s right, following in the footsteps of the famously fluffy dalgona coffee, this winter classic has recently gotten an upgrade thanks to the innovative spirit of TikTok-ers everywhere.

As long as you haven’t been off of the Internet throughout your self-quarantine, it’s easy to see why dalgona coffee took off when it did— and why hot chocolate has become the next big thing.
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Written on October 7, 2020.

Seasons change— even in the beverage world. But one drink you can always count on seeing when autumn finally rolls around is the pumpkin spice latte. In fact, after a particularly challenging year coffee shop giants like Starbucks and Dunkin made the decision to launch their signature pumpkin spice drinks earlier than ever; that’s why we wouldn’t blame you if you’re already tired of it (though you’re friends might!) Luckily, there are plenty of other flavorful beverages to try this season. Instead of a PSL, consider sipping on one of these fall drinks. You might just find your next favorite!
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