- In its annual ingredient trend forecasting report, ingredients giant ADM projected bold colors and flavors — along with a desire for affordability and wellness — will drive new products in the food and beverage space in 2024.
- As technology evolves, ADM said AI-shaped aesthetics and viral food trends will continue to have a greater impact on flavors. This includes hedonistic tastes and products that reflect consumers’ values, such as sustainability.
- The report said a desire for foods that are functional but don’t compromise on taste is so widespread that “health without stealth” is a baseline expectation for new products with consumers.
ADM’s projection of what flavors and ingredients consumers will gravitate toward next year is reflective of how wellness trends and economic hurdles are upending the traditional food and beverage space.
Higher prices on grocery shelves has put a greater focus on affordability for consumers. While inflation cooled somewhat in 2023, food at home prices increased 2.4% year-over-year in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Price Index.
The report said the rise of premium private label products gives consumers the opportunity to indulge in foods that otherwise would have been too expensive. Moving from synthetic to natural colors can help foods mimic “authentic” flavors and tastes in new formats, ADM said.
Formulators can signal wellness properties in their products by using colors like pistachio green and floral pink, along with implementing better-for-you ingredients, according to the report. This includes fermented foods as consumers continue to prioritize gut health.
ADM said an interest in nutrition, as well as economic factors, are creating a greater interest in “authentic” and natural flavors — such as Asian and Mediterranean tastes like yuzu and blood orange. Bold colors, it said, also give formulators an opportunity to signal health and functionality in products.
Unconventional colors and tastes give those working on food and beverage products the opportunity to shock and surprise consumers looking for more unique sensations, according to the report. These include bold red, earthy green, rich purple and vibrant pink color palettes.
Rising interest in flavors from other cultures, along with evolving technology, is driving innovation at the biggest CPG ingredient companies. Ofi announced last month it developed a selection of cocoa pairings with Asian-inspired flavors using AI, including yuzu and lychee, to boost the citrus flavor profile in chocolate treats.