Fizzy feeling: healthy soft drink flavours on the rise

03 July, 2013

Healthy flavours, such as herbs and spices, honey and new-generation superfruits will be the next hits in the global beverages market.

While flavour trends can vary markedly by region, research data from Innova Market Insights indicates that rising interest in superfruits is evident globally, with pomegranate still leading the field.

Innova Market Insights will report on the latest soft drink trends and emerging flavours at its Taste the Trend Pavilion at this year's IFT Food Expo in Chicago (July 14-16). Daily live presentations at the booth will include the topic "Health Drives Flavour Hits." [Watch the video.]

Pomegranate accounted for over 40 per cent of tracked beverage launches featuring superfruit flavours over the June 2008 to May 2013 period, well ahead of açai and lychee, with 12.5 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. Emerging or new-generation superfruits are led by guanabana/soursop, cactus/prickly pear and marula.

"Cactus/prickly pear is one of the emerging superfruit flavours in the North American beverage market," says Lu Ann Williams, head of research at Innova Market Insights.

"US launches over the past year including Cactus Juice and Cactus Tea from Nopal and Prickly Pear Cactus Tea from Hunter & Hilsberg, as well as Martinelli's Prickly Passion Lemonade juice drink, featuring prickly pear puree," she notes.

Vegetable flavours are also featuring strongly, Williams reports, often in combination with fruit flavours, in juices, smoothies and teas, adding health-giving phytochemicals, as well as a new flavour element. The number of beverage launches featuring celery rose six-fold in 2012, while those featuring cucumber and beets doubled. Kale also started to feature in the beverages market in 2012.

The generally rising level of interest in hot and spicy flavours in the US food market as a whole has also spread through to beverages. This has led to the emergence of hot and spicy variants featuring ingredients such as black pepper and chillies, including Habanero, Jalapeno and Chipotle.

Source: Innova Market Insights