Traditional favourites and new beverage platforms on the menu as foodservice bounces back

Pumpkin spice, caramel, and chocolate come out on top, but Kerry is now seeing increased demand for iced beverages, plant-based offerings, and drinks with health benefits.

 A new report published by, Kerry, the world’s leading taste and nutrition company, has found that traditional favourites such as pumpkin spice, caramel and chocolate remain the most popular flavours among consumers, but they are increasingly seeking more benefits and customisation from their drinks.

Examining over 200 limited time offerings (LTOs) across the Europe and Russia region, the new Art of Taste and Nutrition 2021 autumn analysis categorises top beverage platforms and flavours while examining future trends and influences across the world. According to the research, the top three autumn LTO trends are as follows:

  • Seasonal indulgence: Flavours like salted caramel, chocolate, maple, and vanilla bring a sense of much-needed indulgence, comfort, and nostalgia for the consumer.
  • A touch of spice: Flavours like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and chai to add a spicy and exciting dimension to LTO offerings. Consumers also link flavours like ginger and turmeric to wellness and immunity, highlighting the increased focus on health benefits for beverages.
  • Healthy harvest flavours: Pumpkin has become a staple during the autumn LTO season, however, seasonal harvest flavours such as, apple, blackcurrant, raspberry, and pear are now coming through in the market.

Commenting on the new report, Aoife McDonald, Foodservice Marketing Director for Europe at Kerry said: “Our analysis has shown that though traditional flavours are popular among consumers, they are seeking a taste of something different through the addition of warm and energising spices like chai and cinnamon. Some of these flavours, like turmeric, are linked to health benefits, with a heightened focus on wellness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers seeking healthy halo ingredients, our Kerry Trendspotter data shows that immunity focused drinks are starting to make an impact across foodservice. We can also predict that demand for authentic fruit and berry flavours will increase beyond autumn 2021, with flavours such as raspberry, cherry and cranberry gaining traction this year and a prediction that flavours such as blackcurrant, elderberry and cloudberry will be a future focus of beverage innovation.”

With the foodservice channel recovering across Europe, the analysis also found that the number of LTOs available in autumn 2021 was double that of 2020.

“LTOs are an important tool for foodservice operators as the European foodservice market continues to recover. Indeed, our research shows that 54% of consumers will pay a premium for an LTO they like, with 62% agreeing that LTOs encourage visits to an outlet. Consumers want LTOs that are novel and exciting enough to post on social media platforms, but also satisfy their need for comfort and taste for nostalgia,” McDonald adds.

New platforms emerging

Although latté, tea and hot chocolate are the most popular platforms for autumn, with hot beverages consisting of 79% of LTOs in the UK and Ireland, the analysis noted a 9% increase in iced beverage LTOs compared to 2020. The popularity of these drinks is now developing beyond the summer months and into the colder seasons, offering brands the perfect opportunity for innovation in 2022.

The analysis also highlights the growth of plant-based LTOs in both food and beverage, with vegan white chocolate, and horchata both trending online this autumn. Customisation is coming to the fore, with consumers looking for ways to enjoy traditional flavours like pumpkin with vegan toppings or as a hot chocolate.

“As we know there is an ever-growing demand for LTOs as consumer crave new and innovative beverages, but there is also now a demand for these to be customisable to the consumer. Gen Z and millennials consumers want to be able to mix and match depending on their preferences and allowing them to create their beverage the way they want it, whether that be sugar-free or plant-based, will translate into opportunity,” adds Ms McDonald.

“As foodservice recovers across Europe, it has never been more important to create products that resonate with consumers. With thoughts now turning to 2022, Kerry can partner with brands by leveraging our leading insights and technology to create beverages that leverage new trends and win consumer preference.”

Access the report here.


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