The future of flavour
This summer, I was lucky enough to find myself in the middle of Florida’s theme parks with the family. In an effort to keep the kids hydrated (and because of a serious amount of pester power), I caved in and purchased refillable soft drink cups. Little did I know I had just handed them the golden ticket. Enter left… the freestyle Coca Cola fountain dispenser.
“Mass market products no longer conform to standard flavour profiles. They continually strive to cater for our ever growing individualist needs.”
This next generation fountain dispenser is the stuff of dreams for children. Touch-screen operated using ‘micro-dosing technology’, it can deliver close to 200 different flavoured drinks – half of which are low or no-calorie and over 100 varieties that can’t be found anywhere else – Sprite Peach for example. Its interactive nature means that kids can go wild and mix up their own drinks and flavours. A touch of this, and a splash of that – whatever combination you like.
For me, this is where it gets really interesting. Not only can you customise your flavours, but social media integration means that you can upload your concoctions and share them via the freestyle Coca Cola App. You can also save and send your favourite mix to friends who receive a unique QR code allowing them sample your own personalised drink at the dispenser. What a way to bring out your inner mixologist!
“From a social media aspect, this has it all. Making important and meaningful connections with consumers, while receiving positive responses around the brand. It gives consumers the freedom to make their own decisions, celebrate and share the unique creations with friends online.”
The flavour innovation does not stop with soft drinks. This is a trend that is blazing through the beer industry who have really embraced this space too – in particular with sour beers – which some consumers are going for because of how drinkable they are – in particular in comparison to full-flavoured hoppy beers. Sour beers have become so popular that brewers have started producing Gose (pronounced goes-uh) which is one of the oldest styles of beer in the world and notoriously difficult to brew. This trend goes even further with flavour explorations such as vegetable sours, and Spaghetti Goes – a beer brewed by Weldwerks Brewing with tomatoes, basil, sea salt and spaghetti. While I can’t see this taking off over here – you just never know.
According to Dan Jansen, brewmaster at Blue Point Brewing, sour beer has become a phenomenon because it gives beer fans something new to try, while also enticing people who don’t think of themselves as beer drinkers.
And finally, with the festive season upon us and glasses being clinked galore; we are seeing a trend in flavoured and elderflower Champagne and sparkling wines. In a world where rosé used to be as exotic as it got, Artisan sparkling wine maker Renegade & Longton have produced their Elderflower Blush with a blend of elderflower, strawberries and rhubarb instead of grapes. Not as extreme as sour beers just yet – but a definite trend towards innovative and new flavours.
Flavour is where it is at for innovative brands and it will be interesting to see how this trend plays out in the UK and Ireland in 2019.
Champagne flavoured with French Fries anyone? Watch this space!