As the world becomes more accustomed to the challenges of an ongoing pandemic, consumers are striving for balance in all aspects of their life. Still, rather than sacrificing on indulgent beverages, consumers are embracing them with some slight modifications, experts note.

Last fall, experts at the Louisville, Ky.-based Flavorman revealed that drink trends to watch for in 2022 include big and bold flavors, along with guilt-free indulgence, as a return to simplicity will dominate drinks in the new year.

Although drinks with subtle displays of flavor had previously taken center stage, that is likely to change in 2022, the company says. With the seltzer market beginning to saturate, beverage-makers now are seeking ways to differentiate from the competition, opting for bigger and bolder profiles, it adds.

“Client requests have taken a 180-degree turn on flavor, especially where seltzers and sparkling waters are concerned,” said Tom Gibson, chief flavorist for Flavorman, in a statement. “Whereas before, clients would be looking for a gentler spritz of nuanced flavors in their drink, we are now seeing more clients ask for loud and proud, single-note flavors.” 

Favorites like watermelon, strawberry, cherry, apple and grape will see a resurgence as consumers reach for those immediately recognizable and nostalgic profiles, the company says.

Additionally, floral profiles like hibiscus, lavender and elderflower are becoming more mainstream and making way for the earthier, more herbal flavors of turmeric, anise and rosemary, as consumer tastes now are evolving toward botanical-forward beverages — particularly in the premium sector, it adds.

Moreover, as premium beverages are often associated with quality ingredients, consumers indulging in these drinks aren’t as concerned with calorie restrictions or sugar because they recognize that they are treating themselves to a unique experience, it notes. The same can be observed in the spirits and beverage alcohol sectors, while simplicity takes the form of moderation, it says.