Special edition: Flavour inspiration

Guest Post: From fantasy flavours to social media sensations, has confectionery ever tasted so good?

By Liz Gabriel

- Last updated on GMT

'Pixel flavoured' candy anyone? Pic: GettyImages
'Pixel flavoured' candy anyone? Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Flavour Innovation Chocolate Confectionery

Liz Gabriel - Bakery and Confectionery Specialist from international flavour house I.T.S gives an overview of the latest flavour trends shaping the confectionery sector and why adding natural flavours is important.

Flavours are very much market driven. We keep abreast of the latest food trends in the market and can replicate those flavours, in either powder or liquid form, so that they can be used in a manufacturing context across all categories from snacks to bakery, beverages to confectionery. Rather than waiting for an ingredient to become available or come down in price, a natural flavour can be introduced quickly to keep production on track. So, if there’s a flavour that is trending – it might be due to a social media sensation – a flavour can be created for limited edition runs of products for example.

This is very much the case for confectionery products. While we have the stalwarts of the category, it is also driven by fashions and trends in the wider cultural space. Adult sweets for example are a growing area of the candy market and we're seeing a rise in more premium sweets like Candy Kittens to target an older audience with more sophisticated, adult flavours. We are also seeing some interesting booze-inspired flavours in adult sweets, especially cocktail flavours which are important across both beverages and bakery too. Pina Colada gummies? Count us in.

Pixel flavour

Fantasy flavours such as birthday cake, unicorn or ‘bottom of the cereal bowl’, which started out in bakery then moved to beverages with Coca-Cola launching their Pixel flavour and other ‘out there’ fantasy style flavours are really picking up in candies and sweets, with brands looking to create new and off-the-wall flavours. The sky is the limit in this area so expect to see lots of brand collaborations and themed products appealing to both younger and older consumers alike. The launch of the new Willy Wonka movie this year will also help drive some exciting new confectionery flavours.

The chocolate confectionery market is incredibly crowded, so brands are increasingly looking for new ways to grab market share and add value to their products. While we have the classics which consumers love, they are also looking for new flavour combinations.

Blonde Chocolate is the latest flavour to take the confectionery market by storm. Caramel and sweet chocolate have been everywhere recently with all the big brands ensuring they have this new flavour ticked off in their range. Easter next year could be a big year for blonde chocolate.

Dessert Flavours are a huge trend in the confectionery space - especially in the chocolate and fudge market. We work with several chocolate and fudge manufacturers and are increasingly seeing requests to recreate flavours from indulgent and nostalgic desserts. Flavours from our favourite desserts can be applied to all kinds of food categories, from sweet bakery to protein snacks and flavoured beverages to confectionery products. It’s part of a drive towards nostalgia with flavours such as lemon meringue or sticky toffee offering comfort to consumers so why not include these flavours in confectionery products too?

Increasingly consumers are looking for indulgence that delivers an added health benefit. Natural flavours help to enhance a finished product when another ingredient has been added or taken away. Protein is now not just seen within the sports nutrition and health sectors, but it is going mainstream and becoming part of product formulations for confectionery products. Many chocolate manufacturers especially are looking at how best to incorporate protein into their products to give that added trend appeal and perceived health benefit. Natural flavours offer a useful tool in helping to mask unpleasant off-notes from the addition of protein sources.

Plant based chocolate is a fast-growing product category. Research shows that the number one reason consumers wouldn't purchase plant-based products is because of lack of flavour (Innova Market Research) and this is certainly the case with plant-based chocolate where natural flavours are essential for helping to add the indulgent milky and creamy notes found in regular milk chocolate.

  • For more information www.itstaste.com

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