Sponsored by Monin®
With winter blues kicking in and COVID-19 overstaying far beyond its not-so-welcome reception, floral flavors are a much-needed bright spot—and they’re popping up earlier than ever before. Consumer sentiment remains anxious and unsure, and it’s clear that brands across all industries are in a swift race to uncover and share positivity. From Tommy Bahama’s floral and fruit perfumes and Pottery Barn’s new floral bedding to designer floral clothing lines and Bath & Body Works lotions, candles and creams, floral blends are in full bloom. Illuminating (Yellow), an iconic spring floral color, is also one of Pantone’s 2021 colors of the year. But this trend goes far beyond lifestyle and home goods—this year it is blossoming into the beverage world.
Spring is in the air, and it’s not only because of the breath of fresh air and beauty that florals bring to a dull landscape, but it’s due to the functional benefits that botanicals possess as well. According to Food Business News, botanicals exert a variety of functional benefits, ranging from boosting energy to assisting with relaxation, as well as enhancing memory, burning fat and providing immune-system support.
A welcome addition to beverages
With the benefits covered, florals are a welcome addition to beverages, as they tend to also be light and airy in flavor with a pleasant aroma. They blend well in several applications, from citrus-forward lemonades and cocktails to espresso-based beverages, such as lattes and mochas. A fresh approach in a beverage is to pair florals/botanicals with fruit in order to increase approachability, balance the flavor and add to the appeal. This not only encourages increased trial of a botanical when paired with a fruit, but it also heightens the functional benefits in the beverage, which consumers will be gravitating toward in 2021 “From 2019 through 2020, we witnessed the boom in hard seltzer beverages, which also escalated the botanical flavor trend including elderflower, mint, hibiscus and lavender flavors,” says Megan Byrnes, marketing manager for Gold Coast Ingredients in Commerce, California. “We foresee the botanical trend proceeding through 2021 with innovative botanical and fruit flavor profiles like raspberry rose, watermelon mint, citrus hibiscus, peach elderflower and lavender lemonade.”
Beverage brands of all types and sizes have started to introduce botanical blends. Ketel One Botanicals, Grey Goose Essences, Prairie Vodka and even Bacardi’s Plume & Petal have all hit the market, and the no- or low-ABV category is blooming with botanicals as well. Proteau, Seedlip, Thrive and Bigelow are other non-alcohol beverages that have florals in their product lineup.
Consumers looking for functional benefits
“In addition to a clean list of ingredients, consumers are increasingly expecting a little more from their beverages in the form of functional benefits, such as helping to manage stress,” says Leslie Lannebere, global marketing manager, function & nutritional ingredients at Givaudan. Orange Blossom is known for calming agents, and it is featured in many flavored waters. It’s also one of the Ketel One Botanical blends (Peach and Orange Blossom). Another mellow but crowd favorite, Lavender, is making its way into bars, restaurants, and cafés as the headline flavor in lattes, lemonades, and martinis. The calming benefits of this flavor also make it a perfect addition to teas of all types. Blood orange (antioxidants) is another leading fruit flavor, with rose hips (a good source of vitamin C and good for arthritis) and hibiscus (antioxidants) also flowering with promise.
According to recent research from Mintel, 39% of adults aged 16-24 years old would ideally like their diet to improve their mood and help them to relax. Consumers will continue to look for drinks that not only taste great but also add functionality, and a blend of fruit and florals can do just that. Plus, in most instances, recipes with botanicals and fruits carry a vibrant color and can have a beautiful garnish accompaniment.
It seems that there’s no better time than the present to take over 2021 with a fresh garden of botanicals. Consumers are welcoming this notion of ‘out with the cold’ (and COVID), and in with the spring and the fresh outlook of 2021. And, even though it’s only March, it’s time to plant some proverbial happiness and help consumers discover that beautiful bouquets of florals are a pleasant way to escape. Bright botanicals will capture their attention and fill their hearts, whether it’s in a favorite spirit, coffee or in a low-ABV or zero-proof blend.
Sources: https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2020/02/21/Givaudan-on-beverage-trends-Consumers-are-increasingly-expecting-a-little-more-from-their-beverages https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/1072-slideshow-botanical-beverages#:~:text=Botanicals%20exert%20varied%20functional%20benefits,fat%20and%20immune%20system%20support.