The 4 top summer flavors set to delight consumers in 2024

28 May 2024

Hype & Trend Signal

Summer 2024 promises to be a season rich with innovative and refreshing flavors that cater to evolving consumer preferences. We’ve used analysis of online conversations and searches to determine what flavor trends are shaping the market and should be on the radar of product developers and professional pastry chefs. From floral infusions to tropical delights, here’s what’s hot this summer.

1. Floral renaissance

Think of: dandelion, rose, lavender, chamomile and orange blossom 

Consumers are captivated by the delicate and aromatic profiles of florals. These flavors have been trending in the drinks category for a bit longer and are now making waves across the food industry. 

Especially consumers in the US, UK and Spain can’t seem to get enough of floral treats, but the interest spikes particularly high in Canada.

Dandelion, peach rose, and orange blossom are leading the change as the floral flavors that spark the most online debate: 

  • Dandelion spikes in the UK, Bahrain and Malaysia. The earthy and herbaceous flavor most often comes from tea steeped from the flower petal that is delicate and sweet. Roasted dandelion root teas are bold with smoky, toasty notes.

  • Peach rose spikes in Canada, France and Australia. The combination ofsweet and delicate white peach and fragrant, floral rose petals has proven to be exceptional.

  • Orange blossom spikes in Canada, Italy and France. This sweet, citrusy and floral flavor has long been used in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, but now spreads out over the world.

We spotted some applications of the floral trend already this spring. Chocolate company Raaka released a limited edition Botanical Collection which featured a soothing and calming chamomile lavender bar. In Japan, tea company Itohkyuemon released a treat menu inspired by hydrangea flowers. The hydrangea parfait consists of matcha ice cream, hydrangea agar, leaf-shaped cookies and blueberries. 

According to Innova Market Insights, the popularity of florals comes from their aura of healthiness and relatedness to sustainability. In one of their recent surveys, almost half of global consumers stated they see food products with herbal or floral botanical flavors as being good for their health. As much as two out of three consumers perceive botanical ingredients as generally more sustainable. No wonder that 1 in 3 consumers sought out more floral flavors in their food and beverages in 2023, if they believe those to be good for both their well-being and the planet. The fastest-growing floral flavors from 2018 to 2023, according to Innova, include chamomile (33%), peach blossom (23%) and honeysuckle (19%). So while the floral trend will be huge this summer, this data proves these flavors have long-term potential too.  

2. Tropical escapades

Think of: passion fruit, guava, pineapple, dragon fruit and coconut

Especially in summertime, we all crave to inject our everyday life with a taste of exotic paradise. No wonder tropical flavors continue to dominate the food and beverage industry this summer. Consumers from the US, Brazil, UK, Spain and India are especially fond of tropical-flavored treats, but the trend is the largest in Mexico, Australia and Canada. Two combinations are leading the pack: passion fruit & guava and pineapple & coconut, which offer vibrant and exotic tastes that transport consumers to far-away beaches or luscious jungles. 

  • Passion fruit & guava spikes the most consumer interest in India, Malaysia and Singapore. The tangy, sweet passion fruit combines perfectly with the milder guava, whose tropical taste is reminiscent of pear and strawberry with a hint of muskiness.

  • Pineapple & coconut spikes the most consumer interest in Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia. The creamy and nutty flavor of coconut pairs perfectly with the bright, tangy sweetness of pineapple, creating a refreshing tropical combination reminiscent of a piña colada.

The tropical theme can already be found on Starbucks’ summer food menu. The new Pineapple Cloud Cake consists of a light and airy cake topped with pineapple cream and pineapple spread studded with whole fruit pieces. The Pineapple Cloud Cake is also topped off with a sweet icing drizzle. On the other hand, the new Orange Cream Cake Pop consists of orange cream cake made with buttercream dipped in a white chocolate icing and that boasts a cute orange slice design on the exterior.

In pastry, these bold tropical flavors are frequently paired with white chocolate. Its creamy, buttery flavor and texture complement the sweet and often tangy notes of fruits such as mango, pineapple and passion fruit, enhancing the overall richness of the combination. Bakery cafe NO 10 Coffee applies this pairing magic to its cubed croissant that is filled with a white chocolate passion fruit cream and topped with melted white chocolate and dried flowers. 

3. Spicy fusion

Think of: mango & chili, orange & ginger and strawberry & pepper

The swicy – sweet and spicy – foods trend continues into summer with a surge of spicy fruit fusion flavors in bakery, pastry and chocolate. Consumers are seeking out bold and adventurous flavors especially in Indonesia and Canada, while we see growth in the number of online conversations on these flavors in Australia and the UK. In other countries, specific sweet and spicy combinations are trending:

  • Mango & chili is growing in Spain, Canada, India, Thailand, Malaysia and the UK. This combination has long been popular in Latin America, where the mangonada dessert consists of mango sorbet and chamoy, finished with a sprinkling of fierce chili powder. 

  • Orange & ginger grows in the US, Canada, Nigeria. A winning match, because the bright, citrusy sweetness of orange complements and balances the warm, spicy notes of ginger.

Spicy foods are perfect for summer, because eating fiery foods can help your body cool down. The pairing of spiciness with fruits makes it even more refreshing on a hot day. But this flavor combination offers consumers something new and interesting to try. According to our latest global Taste Tomorrow consumer survey, 60% of consumers that are looking for new experiences in food and another 65% of consumers worldwide now want to try combinations of tastes, which are unusual at first. The interplay of sweet and spicy in a mango chili macaron perfectly scratches that itch.

Insomnia Cookies perfectly understands those consumer needs. That’s why they release a lot of limited-edition cookies in interesting flavors, giving people the chance to experience something unique. This spring, they offered a Strawberry Cornbread Filled Deluxe cookie. A plant-based cookie filled with strawberry jam that came with a packet of hot honey to drizzle over the cookie to create a truly interesting and indulgent dessert, completely in line with the recent swicy hype. 

4. Herbal infusions

Think of: blueberry basil, pineapple mint, lemon lavender and orange fennel 

As consumers are looking for refreshing and unique flavors, herbal infusions are set to make a strong impact as well this summer, with flavors like blueberry basil and lemon lavender leading the trend. These combinations offer a refreshing twist on traditional flavors, appealing to consumers looking for flavors they haven’t tried before. The herbal flavor trend is particularly large in the US, UK, India, Canada and Russia. But we also see a spike in online conversations around this flavor in Canada, Brazil and the UK. The most popular herbal pairings are:

  • Blueberry basil, which spikes consumer interest in the US, UK and grows in India. Products like blueberry basil tarts and beverages are gaining traction, offering a sophisticated and refreshing option for summer menus.

  • Lemon lavender, which spikes  consumer interest in Canada, Montenegro, France, and grows in the US and India. This soothing blend is ideal for desserts, offering a calming and fragrant experience. 

If you wish to give the herbal infusion trend a go, there are many combinations to try such as orange fennel, grapefruit rosemary and pineapple mint. But also venture outside of fruits, because flavor pairings like honey thyme, coffee cardamom and caramel sage work perfectly as well. TikTokker Olivia Lam combined lemon and basil with olive oil for some elegant madeleines, which is a delightful zingy and herbal pairing too.

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