The younger demographics and changing eating habits of today’s consumers are pushing brands to release innovative flavor combinations, use versatile ingredients, and incorporate unique textures into food and beverage products, according to Comax Flavors, Melville, N.Y. In response to the changing times, Comax Flavors has developed a list of the anticipated flavor trends for 2015 and divided them into four groups: Melting Pot, In a Nutshell, Coffee House and Breakfast Anytime. Flavors in each of these collections are versatile and can be used in a variety of food and beverage applications including ready-to-drink beverages, alcohol beverages and dairy products, among others, the company says.

Melting Pot
According to the U.S. 2012 Census, both the Hispanic and Asian populations are expected to double by 2060. The Hispanic population is projected to increase from 53.3 million people in 2012 to 128.8 million, and the Asian population is expected to grow from 15.9 million people to 34.4 million.

“The United States is a true melting pot, and we want to offer versatile flavors that cater to the large and growing multicultural population and younger demographics,” said Catherine Armstrong, vice president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors, in a statement.

Flavors in this group include brigadeiros (Brazilian chocolate bon bon), butterscotch curry, cherry yuzu, sriracha maple and za'atar (Middle Eastern spice blend).

In a Nutshell
According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the value of U.S. tree nut production in 2012 was more than $7 billion, with almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans accounting for most of the sales. Nuts are increasing in popularity because of their nutritional properties, including omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals, the company says.

“To address the health and wellness trend, we developed a collection of powerhouse nut flavors to emphasize their diverse tastes and textures,” Armstrong noted in a statement. Flavors in this group include almond rose shortbread, bourbon caramel pistachio, pecan chipotle, pumpkin praline fudge and vanilla walnut fig.

Coffee House
According to the National Coffee Association’s National Coffee Drinking Trends 2014 market research study, 34 percent of Americans consume gourmet coffee daily, compared with 31 percent in 2013. Mintel expects the ready-to-drink coffee market, which includes refrigerated and shelf-stable products, to grow to $2.6 billion by 2020. Furthermore, according to Information Resources Inc. data, shelf-stable cappuccinos and iced coffees increased 10.6 percent in dollar sales in the 52 weeks ending July 13, compared with the prior-year period. Coffee is so well liked by Americans that it even has its own holiday: National Coffee Day on Sept. 29.

“To tap into the convenience trend and meet the demand for barista-style coffees, we created a range of unique coffee flavor combinations that appeal to a wide audience,” Armstrong said in a statement. Flavors in this group include affogato, cabernet espresso, cinnamon brew, CoffTea and Vietnamese iced coffee.

Breakfast Anytime
Driven by the “snackification” of America, more and more consumers are eating around the clock. As such, breakfast is no longer just a morning meal; it’s being eaten throughout the day and night. It also comes in multiple forms, including hot and cold foods and beverages, consumables featuring sweet and savory flavors, and portable, convenient items, Comax Flavors says.

“As categories are blurring, there are now more breakfast options than ever before, and we want to meet consumers' changing tastes and behaviors,” Armstrong said in a statement. Flavors in this group include chicken and waffles, honey banana oatmeal, savory butter, s’mores pancakes and strawberry coconut milk.