10 Flavor-Forward Beverage Offerings

Cold Vault

cold vault

True to fruit, culinary-inspired, indulgent, earthy and veg-centric top Imbibe’s list of flavor-forward beverage trends.

The Niles, Ill.-based beverage development company’s midyear flavor-trend report shone a spotlight on the most popular flavors sought by consumers. The flavors are often associated with better-for-you ingredients, enhanced sensory experiences and added function.

Click through to view products that fall within Imbibe’s five core beverage flavor trends.

Arcadia Beverage's Zumora Sweet Tea

zumora sweet tea

Top true-to-fruit flavors include grapefruit, apple, coconut, ginger, orange, lemon and mango, according to Imbibe. Arcadia Beverage’s Zumora total beverage solution for foodservice and retail applications includes some of these flavors. Its 12-ounce bottles come in mango, cucumber and pineapple coconut flavors to name a few, while the Zumora Beverage Base 3:1 Concentrate Mixes come in lemon, mango, pineapple coconut and more.

Sauza Agua Fuerte

sauza agua fuerte cans

Sauza Agua Fuerte is a ready-to-drink spiked sparkling water made with Sauza Silver Tequila. It has a taste profile of fresh, green notes and a natural fruit essence. Sauza Agua Fuerte comes in three flavors, including grapefruit and mango. Each variety has a 5% ABV.

Bos Iced Tea

bos iced tea

Also within the true-to-fruit trend, clementine and yuzu have grown 60% or more as soda flavors on menus over the past year, Imbibe found. The company expects to see these flavors in ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages over the next year.

Bos Brands, a South African premium iced-tea brand, is perhaps ahead of the trend with its Bos Iced Tea that recently launched in the United States. The line of RTD organic iced tea is made with rooibos, a nutrient-dense South African superfood rich in antioxidants, electrolytes and essential minerals. Three flavors include Lemon, Yuzu and Lime & Ginger.

Evolve Toasted Almond Protein Shake

evolve protein shake roasted almond

Culinary-inspired flavors offer a more complex profile that can position a product as being more premium, said Imbibe. Premium beverages often also feature exotic ingredients, sophisticated combinations or call out the preparation method. One example is Evolve Toasted Almond Protein Shake, which is made with high-quality North American-grown, non-GMO pea protein. Peas are used as a companion rotational crop, a practice that returns much-needed nitrogen back to the soil.

Starbucks Molten Chocolate Latte

starbucks molten chocolate latte

Another culinary-inspired variety cited by Imbibe in the premium and somewhat complex flavor profile bucket was Starbucks Molten Chocolate Latte, which features rich chocolate chips melted with espresso and combined with mocha-infused steamed milk. It is then topped with mocha-espresso whipped cream and mocha-espresso drizzle.

Dunkin' Donuts Cookies and Cream Iced Coffee

dunkin conuts cookies and cream iced coffee

Indulgent flavors inspired by sweet treats are popular year-round. These flavor profiles are especially popular in foodservice and sports nutrition products. Cookie dough, caramel, cookies and cream, chocolate, marshmallow, and peanut butter are some of the most popular indulgent flavors on menus and in beverages.

A Cookies & Cream flavor recently joined Dunkin’ Donuts lineup of RTD iced coffee. The beverages are made with high-quality Arabica coffee blends and real milk and sugar.

Lester's Fixins Pumpkin Pie

lesters fixins pumkin pie soda

Many nostalgic flavors also fit into the indulgent trendy, including ones inspired by classic desserts, candy, cereal and historically popular sodas. Lester’s Fixins Pumpkin Pie Soda brings the warm, comforting flavor of homemade pumpkin pie. Each 12-ounce bottle is made with pure cane sugar.

Feeling Cheeky Ginger Beer

feeling cheeky ginger beer

Consumers have embraced products with earthy ingredients such as matcha, turmeric, ginger and mushrooms. Many are as functional as they are flavorful, which has contributed to their success, Imbibe said. Ginger was the top searched earthy flavor according to the 2017 Google Beverage Trends Report. Top flavor associations with ginger in the U.S. by volume of searches were blackberry, lemon, honey and turmeric.

The Ginger People’s Bottoms Up Ginger Beer is made with single origin ginger and a clean ingredient list.

Motto Tea Matcha

Motto Matcha Tea

Matcha was the second most popular earthy flavor searched, experiencing 202% growth year over year, Imbibe said. Motto is a bottled beverage delivering all the health benefits of matcha green tea, the company says. It is made by brewing premium matcha tea with fresh, simple ingredients in small batches.

Imagine Beverages

imagine beverage line

Consumer demand for better-for-you options has contributed to the growth of the veg-centric trend, as evidenced by recent juice, kombucha and drinkable soup rollouts. These products often contain veggies not typically integrated within beverages, such as red pepper, kale and lentils. Imagine That launched a line of shelf-stable single-serve beverages that provide a day’s worth of vegetables or fruits—from spinach and kale to whole strawberries and blueberries.