Is there a theme that links flavor with innovation in non-alcoholic beverages? Wilkes: With a rising demand for organic beverages, innovation will be tied to the avail-
ability in the supply chain of raw materials for flavors that meet USDA criteria. This is becoming an important point of differentiation. Harte: The well-trav-
eled kitchen encompasses a kitchen influenced by the world. Due to the improved relations with Cuba, beverages with Cuban
influence are of interest. India has inspired many beverages with unique spices. Global street food is food and beverages found in regions across the world being offered at food carts/trucks. Consumers are bringing these authentic flavors from city streets into their kitchens from regions like Marrakech, Mexico City, and Montreal. Armstrong: Many enhanced beverages require innovative masking and mouthfeel type flavors in order to improve their taste.
O’Brien: One of the other
aspects of the art of craft that we’re closely following is the growing movement towards more purposeful and holistic eating and drinking experiences. This theme is driving significant innovation, and our own consumerbased research reveals that people are paying closer attention to product color, flavor, taste, mouthfeel, body, texture, linger –- and the whole experience they’re having with the food and beverage choices they’re making. Ames: Most popular flavors originate from the success of other products on the market. For instance, right now, we are doing a lot development with grapefruit in non-alcoholic applications. The driver of grapefruit as a top flavor in non-alcoholic beverages is due to the success of grapefruit in the alcohol category.
We see a lot of new, non-traditional flavors that find success in the alcohol, confection, dairy industries that will transfer well into the non-alcoholic beverage category.
Among non-alcoholic beverage categories, where is the greatest demand for new and innovative flavors?
What are some of the challenges or opportunities in working with fastgrowing beverage categories, including:
Wilkes: We see the greatest demand for new innovative flavors in the area of plant-based beverages, fermented beverages, high-protein drinks, coffees, teas and sparkling waters.
Wilkes: One of the challenges with cold-brew is its lack of aroma and complex structure of traditional coffee which tends to be preferred by older coffee drinkers. The cold-brew process doesn’t extract the oil phase of coffee, which dramatically affects the finished beverage aroma. Cold-brew extraction tends to minimize acid, which makes it smooth to drink but also challenging to identify because acid is a key taste differentiator in coffee bean origins. With the growth of cold-brew coffees, we see a mashup of traditional vanilla or mocha with Hispanic influenced chili spices.
Harte: New and innovative flavors are in demand in a variety of beverage categories: hand-crafted sodas, flavored waters, tea, coffee, juices, drinkable yogurts, probiotic/digestive beverages, and shakes and smoothies. Spicy and sweet combinations are popular in shakes and smoothies. Savory flavors are emerging in meal replacement juices and drinkable yogurts for people onthe-go. We are seeing sodas being infused with vegetables like beets and fruit flavors. Armstrong: In terms of innovative flavors, I think the greatest demand is in the health and wellness category. Consumers are searching for more healthy options but it still needs to taste good. O’Brien: The plant-
based space, especially plant-based proteins, is exploding as well as enhanced waters and other functional performance beverages.
PROTEIN-INFUSED BEVERAGES Armstrong: We are working a lot with plant proteins. The challenge is most certainly the offnote tastes and mouthfeel for protein-infused beverages as well as dairy alternatives. This category provides a huge opportunity for us with masking and enhancement technologies. O’Brien: There are a
wide variety of protein options – from dairybased to plant-based – and each has benefits
and downsides. The challenge is to find the right protein formulation for each product and then find the right balance of flavor enhancement to create an end product customers will enjoy. Wilkes: The biggest challenge for beverage developers when flavoring protein-infused drinks is understanding how that flavor will be impacted after the thermal processing and over the shelf-life of the beverage. Typically, we have found that certain proteins are resistant
BEVNET MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2016
The October 2016 issue of BevNET Magazine.