It’s said variety is the spice of life, and that’s especially true when it comes to flavor.
New research from Innova Market Insights reveals three-quarters of global consumers “love to discover new flavors.” Not surprisingly, Millennials are the most likely to be inspired by new flavor options, while Baby Boomers tend to stick to what they know.
What is surprising, according to Innova’s research, is that Generation Z consumers appeared to be a little less adventurous with flavor than Millennials.
“When asked if they like new, mixed or seasonal flavors, Gen Z agreement was generally at least 10 percentage points lower than that of Millennials,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “But there is still an element of boldness when it comes to genuine novelty, with 45 percent of Gen Zs agreeing that ‘the crazier the flavor, the better,’ a much higher percentage than is found among the over 45s and over 55s.”
This hits home for me, a card-carrying Millennial who scans grocery store shelves for new flavors from brands I love every time I go shopping. Just last night I was stoked to find a new flavor of sparkling water at Aldi. (Could there be a more Millennial sentence?)
Innova also pointed to how this research fits into overarching trends it identified in the food industry this year. More detailed flavor descriptors and an emphasis on the flavor’s origin reflect the No. 1 of trend ‘Storytelling: Winning With Words.’ Growing diversity in the produce and botanicals used in flavorings falls under the No. 2 trend ‘The Plant-Based Revolution.’
Innova also cited ‘Hello Hybrids’ as another major theme, represented by flavors familiar in one category crossing over into others. The research firm added special-edition and seasonal flavors can help invigorate brands and serve as a good way to test new tastes on the public.
I say bring it on. Trying products with unexpected flavors offers a moment of wonder, and the act of actually discovering it adds to the anticipation.
Furthermore, as the U.S. becomes more ethnically diverse, and younger consumers gain more of the spending power, they’re going to look for products that differ from the traditional.
Here’s to being bold enough to try unique flavors, both as manufacturers and consumers.