It’s that time of year when the predictions come for what will be the next drinks trends that will dominate consumer choices, and US beverage company, Flavorman, has revealed its three key trends for 2022.
While the last couple of years have seen trends skewered by the pandemic, we can all hope that 2022 will see lockdowns behind us and some semblance of normality entering our lives. But all that time spent at home, trying to replicate bar experiences and drinks will, no doubt, influence what consumers want.
Flavorman says there will be three key trends driving the flavours and styles that consumers will want from their drinks in the New Year.
1. A return to simplicity
When will things be simple again? Who knows, but simplicity brings comfort to consumers especially during times when it feels like life has become much more complicated. This particular trend is an extension of both premiumisation and ‘better-for-you’ with consumers seeing quality of ingredient as much more important than quantity.
“Transparency has, time and time again, proven to be important to consumers,” said Katie Clark, Flavorman’s Lab Manager.
“Beverage retailers have simply opted to do away with sweeteners or added colours instead of combing through the accepted ingredient lists [and] consumers don’t seem to mind.”
With health and wellness continuing to drive trends as we move into 2022, beverage brands will opt for simplicity in beverage formulations across the board. In the spirits sector, simplicity takes the form of moderation.
“Going low- or no-alcohol is a lifestyle choice that some consumers are rallying behind as a way to achieve holistic health goals,” said Katie. “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.”
2. Guilt-free indulgence
The pandemic has seen many people evaluate the balance of their lives and rather than sacrificing on indulgent experiences, consumers are embracing them with some slight modifications.
Citrus flavors have been a cornerstone for the drinks industry, but consumer tastes are now evolving towards botanical-forward beverages—particularly in the premium sector. Floral profiles like hibiscus, lavender and elderflower are becoming more mainstream and making way for the earthier, more herbal flavors of turmeric, anise and rosemary.
“Many of the ingredients you would find in your kitchen spice cabinet can introduce an extra element to a drink, providing new dimensions of flavor 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.”
“In the spirits world, amaro, absinthe and other botanical spirits are seeing a renaissance,” said Colin Blake, Director of Spirits Education at Moonshine University, the sister company of the Flavorman Beverage Campus. “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.”
3. Going big and bold
While the subtle flavours of seltzers continue to make massive strides, Flavorman predicts that will change in 2022 as the market becomes saturated and bigger and bolder profiles will become a way to differentiate and resonate with consumers.
Whereas before, clients would be looking for a gentler spritz of nuanced flavours in their drink, we are now seeing more clients ask for loud and proud, single-note flavours,” said Tom Gibson, Flavorman’s Chief Flavorist.
In the wake of COVID-19 – a virus that is notorious for attacking a person’s taste and smell – it makes sense that drinks with prominently featured and straightforward flavours may provide reassurance to consumers still recovering from sensory loss related to the virus, or those who are just concerned with changes to their senses in general.
Childhood favourites like watermelon, strawberry, cherry, apple and grape will see a resurgence as consumers reach for those immediately recognizable and nostalgic profiles.
What flavours and trends do you think will take off in 2022? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.