Consumers are getting more bitter—and we don’t mean cynical. The flavor’s growing in popularity, according to a bevnet.com post about recent market research noting how the flavor profile has been on the rise over the past few years. The American palate is growing more sophisticated and people are more open to options beyond sweet and salty.
The cult-like embrace of kale and consumers’ love of trendy veggies like Brussels sprouts, chicory and mustard greens, has been fueling bitter’s ascent. The juicing craze has also helped, writes Carole Ortenberg: “Surging demand for “green juice” is one clear example of Americans’ growing interest in bitter vegetables and greens. Along with at-home juicing, the ingredients are found in dozens of juice products and countless varieties in retailers ranging from Whole Foods Market to Walmart.”
She points out a Mintel report that beverages beyond juice are also dabbling in bitter flavors. Cocktail mixers, beer and soda have been incorporating plant extracts, matcha and bitter orange. The report found that bitter foods haven’t reached quite as far into the mainstream, and are mainly found in restaurants, though kale and root vegetable chips have sold well. Strong, bitter flavors are helpful in lower-sodium products, where the flavor kick makes up for the lack of salt.