Flavor Innovation Flourishes

maddy & maize

Remember when pumpkin-infused coffee and snacks were outliers? Today, the flavor has become commonplace.

Increasingly, new types of flavor profiles are finding their way into multiple food and beverage categories—from peach cereal to Thai coconut curry popcorn.

The acceptance rate of certain flavors integrated into foods and beverages is good news for consumer packaged goods companies eager to push the boundaries and add line extensions.

Click through to read about nine flavor pioneers in several categories, including cereals, candy, snack chips and popcorn.

1. Taco sauce

taco bell chips

This May, Taco Bell will bring sauce-flavored chips to the snack aisle. The tortilla chips will come in three varieties: Mild, Fire and Classic, named after the quick-service restaurant’s taco sauce varieties. “This launch of our first line of sauce packet-inspired chips gives our fans a new way to access a taste of Taco Bell,” said Chief Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg.

2. Rum raisin

kit kat mini rum raisin

American Kit Kat fans must feel slighted. That’s because the Kit Kat flavors available in Japan are exotic and off the charts. It’s all motivated by the gift-giving tendencies of the Japanese culture. In Japan, Kit Kat, made by Nestle, can be had in 350 flavors, more than 30 of which are on the market at once. Two for the taking are Mini Rum Raisin (with local Tokyo ingredients) and Purple Sweet Potato (an Okinawa specialty).

3. Thai coconut curry

maddy & maize thai coconut curry

Maddy & Maize, a small-batch gourmet popcorn company based in St. Paul, Minn., offers flavors such as Thai Coconut Curry, Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake, Dark Chocolate Caramel and Birthday Cake. Data from Nielsen shows a 12.4% compounded annual growth rate in dollar sales of popped popcorn over the past four years, although growth has slowed over the past year.

4. Bacon

chocolate dipped bacon

In making its Chocolate Dipped Bacon, Genesee Candy Land LLC uses full slices of hardwood-smoked bacon that’s enrobed in fine dark chocolate before again being drizzled with chocolate. A countertop box includes 16 slices of bacon vacuum-sealed for a three-month shelf life. Chocolate Dipped Bacon is available in Hardwood Smoked and Jalapeno flavors. The family-owned supplier also offers 30 flavors of fudge plus assorted chocolate treats.

5. Strawberry basil

twisted chill

The Icee Co. recently introduced a Strawberry Basil flavor as part of a mass flavor expansion. Its recently launched Twisting Chill machine, mixing multiple flavor infusions with a base flavor in a single cup, offers consumers the chance to assemble their own unique flavor combinations.

6. Coconut

red bull

Red Bull will launch its fourth annual Summer Edition at the end of April, this time in a Coconut Twist flavor. The national limited-time offer will continue through Labor Day. Red Bull Summer Edition Coconut Twist is packaged in a white slim can and features a light and summery coconut taste profile, according to the company.

7. Sweet and savory

twinkies cookbook

Hostess Brands in October 2017 debuted sweet and savory Twinkies recipes that represent a collection of recipes submitted by snack-cake fans and published in The Twinkies Cookbook. Recipes included Twinkie Kebabals (combining fresh fruit and Twinkies on wooden skewers) and Dave’s Twinkie Burger (with Twinkies as the bun).

8. Sriracha

auntie aunt sriarcha

Auntie Anne’s recently handed consumers the keys to new flavor selections as part of a vote for its next pretzel flavor. Sriracha prevailed over flavors such as S’mores, Korean BBQ, Pink Lemonade, Dill Pickle and Maple Brown Sugar.

9. Peach

peach cheerios

In many ways, this is not a stretch: Peaches and cereal go together naturally. Peach Cheerios is arriving on store shelves from General Mills as a limited-edition product that contains peach puree. Gluten-free with no artificial flavors and no colors from artificial sources, Peach Cheerios contains 8 grams of sugar, 16 grams of whole grain per serving and 110 calories per serving.