By: Angela Hanson | Senior Editor | December 26, 2023

Brand collaborations are also expected to increase in 2024.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A significant surge in the popularity of “sweet heat” fusions, which blend fruity profiles with spicy twists, is likely to occur in 2024, reported beverage development company Flavorman.

Examples include mango habanero pressed juice or a zesty spicy margarita, but whatever the combo, this innovative flavor trend is expected to captivate consumer taste buds throughout the new year, according to Flavorman’s “Beverage Trends of 2024” report, which provides insights into the flavors, ingredients and strategies that will shape the industry in the coming year.

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There is also an increased demand for indulgent flavors even as the beverage industry maintains a focus on health-conscious formulations. Accordingly, the forecast is for growth in indulgent flavor profiles such as sugar cookies, brownies, pastries and red velvet, juxtaposed with a low-calorie label. Whether that means enticing functional beverages that cater to sweet cravings or ready-to-drink cocktails that won’t disrupt a caloric balance, 2024 will be the year for indulging in self-care — but with a health-conscious approach, the report revealed.

Additionally, Flavorman’s Beverage Architects expect to see departure from artificial colors and additives. The ingredient “cloud,” an oil emulsion that adds opacity or haziness to drinks, will likely see reconsideration.

“From a formula standpoint, removing color and cloud is only a positive — they’re not doing anything to stabilize the beverage,” said Kristen Wemer, chief technical officer at Flavorman. “Also, since everything these days is going into a can, the way the liquid looks is much less important. Less ingredients — and less cost — is better for everyone involved.”

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An overall trend toward simplicity in 2024 aligns with a broader shift toward environmental conscientiousness in the technology sector, as major players in the beverage manufacturing space strive for net-zero emissions, likely encouraging others to do the same. Artificial intelligence (AI) will also play a part in beverage development, with some startups already leveraging the technology to analyze consumer preferences and streamline production processes.

Despite anticipating the normalization of AI and robotics, Flavorman stressed the importance of preserving the “human touch in the craft.”

On the branding front, beverage brands are predicted to venture into new territories via collaborations and product diversification. Examples include nonalcoholic brands building alliances with alcoholic counterparts and vice versa, or confectionery companies entering the beverage market via strategic collaborations.

Flavorman anticipates a surge in brand partnerships and market expansions in 2024, underscoring a commitment to innovative strategies aimed at establishing effective market positions. Local craft breweries and coffee shops currently lead this collaborative branding movement as both continue to release creatively flavored varieties.

“Coffee will also continue to expand flavorings and follow-suit of its symbiotic pollinating friends, via botanical and herbal roots,” said Brad Nichols, Flavorman’s director of business development. “Unconventional flavors like rose, pistachio, lavender and rosemary have made their way into latte and syrup.”

Flavorman’s full 2024 beverage trends report is available here.

The company noted that its 2023 predictions accurately foresaw the rise of floral flavor profiles like elderflower and lavender along with the continued popularity of fruity twists such as pineapple and mango. Both of these flavor classes gained traction in the manufacturing space over the last year.

Based in Louisville, Flavorman is a custom beverage development company that helps clients bring custom products to market from concept to production planning and quality control.

Source: Convenience Store News