Ready-to-drink (RTD) teas and coffees are growing in both the retail and convenience store spaces. Tea brands have an opportunity to incorporate botanical ingredients to offer consumers an exotic flavor experience while boosting nutrition. And coffee brands have an opportunity with cold-brew, as it may very well be the craft beer of coffee. What's really brewing, however, are new flavor fusions. But the question remains, are consumers willing to venture out and try new flavor combinations, or are RTD teas and coffees limited to the basics like chocolate coffee and herbal tea?
Flavors are finding partners, but not on a romantic match-making website. Food and beverage product developers are combining them in spicy, sweet and zesty ways. Sea salt is being paired with more than just caramel. Coconut water is providing multiple benefits in juice blends. Pumpkin, citrus and cinnamon are other potential partners in flavor formulations.
You don’t have to look very far to see that today’s consumers, especially Millennials and the ‘iGeneration’ born within the past decade, are taking increased interest and pleasure in flavors.
Take Jelly Belly’s® “BeanBoozled®” Jelly Beans, for example. The concept behind BeanBoozled is for consumers to taste two jelly beans of the same color, with one deemed “tasty” and the other, well, “crazy.” Will the flavor be “baby wipes” or “coconut”? “Canned dog food” or “chocolate pudding?” The only way to find out? By tasting, of course. The company even has board games and a contest, “Faces of BeanBoozled.”
Jelly Belly isn’t the only brand cashing in on consumers’ playful mood. Campaigns inviting consumers to vote on everything from their favorite blended coffee to potato-chip flavors have been all the rage among this demographic. All those have the potential to lead to increased sales and success for these consumer brands.
Ever wonder who comes up with the flavors in your favorite foods and beverages?
Enter the Master Flavorist.
Officially, the role of a master flavorist is to expertly develop flavor systems—including flavor duplications, new creations and modifications across a broad range of profiles. At Sensient, our flavorists work passionately to create custom flavors to help propel our customers’ products into greatness. We also work to provide customers with solutions to product and industry challenges through new ingredients and technologies.
Keeping apprised of consumer trends is also big part of the role.
“Flavor design is a blending of art and science,” explains Linda Gleason, senior flavorist, Savory Flavors at Sensient. While master flavorists usually have a bachelor of science or arts degree in chemistry, food science or related science, plus 10 to 15 years direct experience (and experts have a minimum of 15 years in progressive flavor development).
If creating the next Starbucks™ Fan Flavor Frapp or Lay’s® Do Us a Flavor sounds like something you’d like to do, check out the Sensient Technologies internship program at:www.sensient.com.
Sustainability today is just good business. “Sustainability is one key aspect that can directly affect the survival of a business in the long-term, because sustainability is important to consumers,” says Jean Shieh, Marketing Manager, Sensient Natural Ingredients, Turlock, CA, crediting the development of information technology to consumers’ growing interest.
Meeting the demand for natural ingredient solutions, Sensient Flavors developed its Sensient Natural Origins line of 100 percent natural flavor extracts. These ingredients feature extended shelf life, enhanced stability and raw material traceability.