As the seasons change, so does our palate for food and beverage preferences. Fall is filled with the changing of the leaves, a crisp cool air, and cozy warm flavors. Whether it’s apple picking, sipping spiced cider in the countryside, or pumpkin carving—Fall food and drink feels like the warm hug we need on a cloudy day. In times like these, our need for nostalgic flavors, and feel-good food and drink is more prevalent than ever. Our team has cultivated a list of trending Fall flavors both globally and in the United States for you to review as you develop your product menu.
2021 Flavor Trends In The United States
There’s nothing quite like a crisp apple or a sip of hot cider to remind us of yesteryear. For many, hayrides, apple picking, and trips to the orchard were yearly autumn rituals. Big brands have taken note, and apple is now at the top of the list of 2021s flavor trends. You will notice apple flavors popping up all around, whether you are reaching for your favorite Kombucha brand, or digging in your purse for something energizing and healthy to eat. Apple has been, and always will be here to stay.
It should come as no surprise that Maple is one of 2021 top autumn flavor trends. Maple is a popular flavor on its own, and when mixed with other flavors in this list, it helps create a powerhouse of bright notes and deep tones that make it the perfect pairing agent. Though many sources agree that maple syrup has a high sugar content and is not nutritionally beneficial over table sugar, some food purists in the nutritional movement also vie for these flavors, making them popular in the health and wellness world and society as a whole. Stop by your favorite coffee shop and you just might see a slew of maple pecan, maple brown sugar, and organic maple flavors hitting the shelves near you.
Falling under a similar umbrella to maple, brown sugar is a Fall-flavor powerhouse. It pairs nicely with sweet and savory products and sends beautiful notes throughout beverages as well. Pairings like brown sugar sweet potato, or maple brown sugar, are beautiful additions to your product. The molasses flavors in brown sugar are what end up setting this flavor apart from a product that uses white sugar.
With roots dating back to bootcut yoga pants, Uggs, and The North Face zip-ups, pumpkin spice is a flavor that has taken the world by storm and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Fall would be nothing for the millennial generation without a piping hot to-go mug of pumpkin spice latte in hand.
Contrary to popular belief, pumpkin spice does not always include actual pumpkin. In fact, it is a spice mix that is traditionally used to enhance the flavor of pumpkin pie. The spice mix consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice—which work together to create a deep, warming flavor that hits each part of your palate.
For a more mature palate, Bourbon is a way to bring warmth to cooler weather. Bourbon is from Kentucky, a state known for its beautiful Autumn months. Kentucky in the fall looks like thick forests of red, yellow, and brown leaves, as well as the smell of smoke from a campfire keeping people warm on a Friday night. Bourbon is an American alcohol that gets its dark brown coloring and spicy flavor profile from the type of wood barrel it is aged in. With notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel, bourbon flavor is often used in desserts and cooking nationwide, and is a great addition to products that call for a warm flavor.
2021 Global Flavor Trends
For those of us creating products for the global market, the trends are slightly different. Though they follow a similar trajectory—comforting, familiar, and deep—they contain roots from other nations and cultures and generally appeal to a broader audience.
Deriving from Jamaica and Central America, allspice is a deep flavor that appeals to both sweet and savory dishes. Traditionally used in dishes like soup, the world adopted the flavor for cookies, glazes on meats, and tons of other warm, sweet and savory meals. Allspice’s beautiful blend of unripe berries (Pimenta dioca) can often be found in teas, baked goods, pickles, meats, and more. This flavor is taking the 2021 autumn global flavors by storm.
For most of us in the US, grabbing a spoon and dipping into a jar of peanut butter is a year-round, daily occurrence. But, until fairly recently, peanut butter wasn’t used in many cultures. In much of the world peanut butter can even be difficult to find. So, it is fantastic to see consumers demanding peanut butter as Autumn rolls around this year.
Peanut butter’s thick, creamy, and nutty profile lends itself well to the fall season and adds a hearty, delicious complexity to many products.
As one of the most popular flavors in the world, it’s no wonder chocolate is trending so much right now. It has a diverse and adaptable flavor profile and can be used year-round. Paired with cinnamon, another popular fall flavor, chocolate becomes rich, savory, warm, and comforting. Adding notes of chocolate (dating back to the Olmec people in 1500 B.C.) to sweet and savory products is a beautiful way to highlight certain aspects of a flavor, and even help to mask others.
The berry flavors, (acai, blueberry, strawberry, and the like) can send us back to summertime memories, which a lot of us are looking for when Fall sets in and the cold starts to make its way into our homes. You will notice many creative uses of berries this year as they make their way into our sauce marinades and more.
Perhaps we like the feeling of a warm fire, and the flavor it casts off onto everything nearby. Or, perhaps the recent jump in popularity of spirits like Mezcal has prepared our palate for smokey flavors. Smoke can be a cozy, familiar, and nostalgic flavor that transports people to times spent with family around a warm fire. Globally, we are craving it more and more. Look for smoked flavors in your fall beverages, sweets, and more.
If you need help developing flavors to hit the US Market or reach customers globally, we are here for you. Reach out to our team today to see how we can help.
Flavor Insights believes this information to be correct. No warranty, guarantee, or representation is given or made in respect to the information provided. Flavor Insights is not in a position to validate the actual production or labeling of products. Flavor Insights recommends that all finished product labeling be reviewed by legal counsel, and finished product and label claim testing be confirmed to ensure product label accuracy.