COVID-19 has impacted consumer behavior and what consumers look for in food and beverages. Consumers continue to seek healthier, better-for-you products, but the focus is on functional ingredients to support a healthy immune system. At home more than ever, consumers are going back to basics, returning to breakfast and finding comfort in baking and cooking. Chicken and plant-based chicken alternatives are raging as consumers search for the ultimate chicken dish.
In response to consumers' changing behavior, Comax Flavors introduces the 2021 Flavor Trends divided into four distinct flavor collections. Immunity Boost focuses on consumers' quest for functional foods and beverages while Breakfast Basics addresses consumers' interest in breakfast at home or on the go. Home Baker taps into rediscovering baking and cooking at home while Chicken Soars spotlights consumers' insatiable appetite for chicken and plant-based chicken alternatives.
Each Comax Flavor collection is comprised of a variety of food and beverage applications such as nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages, beverage syrups, dairy, ice cream, confections, baked goods, plant-based applications, snacks and nutrition and performance products.
Health and wellness have been at the forefront of consumers' minds as the pandemic continues with a focus on immunity. According to Innova's Consumer Survey 2020, six out of ten global consumers are increasingly looking for food and beverage products that support their immune health, with one in three saying that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019.
"Individuals are turning to food and beverages with functional ingredients to stay healthy. To meet the growing demand, Comax Flavors created the Immunity Boost range," says Catherine Armstrong, vice president of corporate communications for Comax Flavors. This healthy collection can be used in numerous applications such as nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages, beverage syrups, plant-based, and dairy applications, baked goods and confections as well as nutrition and performance products.
Flavors in this group include: apple, carrot, ginger, blueberry, elderberry and Manuka honey.
Working from home is becoming the new normal coupled with remote learning for children. This combination has led to a return to breakfast. For example, according to Nielsen, breakfast cereal sales rose 35% for the week ending April 25, 2020 compared with the year-earlier period.
"Whether at home or on the go, consumers are reverting to breakfast. We are seeing a renewed interest in breakfast food and created the Breakfast Basics line," states Armstrong. This classic collection can be used in a variety of applications such as nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages, beverage syrups, plant-based and dairy applications, baked goods and confections as well as nutrition and performance products.
Flavors in this group include: cereal and milk, french toast and jelly donut.
Consumers are spending an unpredicted amount of time in the kitchen, which has led to the exploration of baking and cooking. According to a Hunter study of 1,005 Americans, 54% are cooking more, and 46% are baking more; 50% are more confident in the kitchen and 26% are learning more about cooking.
"What started as 'stress baking' driven by the pandemic has led to the rediscovery of baking and cooking. In response to this, Comax Flavors crafted the Home Baker collection," notes Armstrong. This comforting line can be used in a range of sweet and savory applications including baked goods, syrups, confections, dairy, snacks, sauces and entrees.
Flavors in this group include: banana bread, blueberry cheesecake and pizza.
Chicken is always popular, and the consumption of chicken has soared during this pandemic. Now that Quick Service Restaurants are open, the chicken wars are back. According to Twitter, chicken was the number one "Most Tweeted about food in the US" on the company's top 10 list which compared tweets from March 1 to Sept. 1 of 2019 with the same period from this year.
"Whether it is real poultry or a plant-based analog, consumers love chicken. To address consumers' affinity for chicken, Comax Flavors designed the Chicken Soars collection," states Armstrong. This savory collection can be used in both poultry and plant-based applications as well as seasonings/coatings, sauces, soups and snacks.
Flavors in this group include: chicken vegetable soup, fried chicken and grilled chicken.