Healthy flavors, such as herbs and spices, honey and new-generation superfruits will be the next hits in the global beverages market, according to Innova Market Insights, the Netherlands. Although flavor trends can vary markedly by region, research data from Innova indicates that rising interest in superfruits is evident globally, with pomegranate still leading the field. It accounted for more than 40 percent of tracked beverage launches featuring superfruit flavors from June 2008 to May 2013, ahead of açai and lychee with 12.5 percent and 12 percent, respectively, according to Innova data. Emerging or new-generation superfruits are led by guanabana/soursop, cactus/prickly pear and marula.

“Cactus/prickly pear is one of the emerging superfruit flavors in the North American beverage market,” said Lu Ann Williams, head of research for Innova Market Insights, in a statement. “U.S. launches over the past year [included] Cactus Juice and Cactus Tea from Nopal and Prickly Pear Cactus Tea from Hunter & Hilsberg as well as Martinelli’s Prickly Passion Lemonade juice drink featuring prickly pear puree.”

Vegetable flavors also are featured strongly, often in combination with fruit flavors, in juices, smoothies and teas, adding health-giving phytochemicals as well as a new flavor element, Williams added. The number of beverage launches featuring celery increased six-fold in 2012, and those featuring cucumber and beets doubled. Kale also started to be featured in the beverage market in 2012, according to Innova data.

The generally rising level of interest in hot and spicy flavors in the U.S. food market also has spread through to beverages. This has led to the emergence of hot and spicy variants featuring ingredients such as black pepper and chilies, including habanero, jalapeño and chipotle, Innova reports.

Innova Market Insights will report on the latest non-alcohol beverage trends and emerging flavors at its Taste the Trend Pavilion (booth No. 1576) at this year’s IFT Food Expo, July 14-16, in Chicago. Daily live presentations at the booth will include the topic “Health Drives Flavor Hits.” In addition, Innova will feature a series of presentations at IFT on consumer trends taking product development forward, with insights on flavor, packaging and technology drivers.

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