National News

September 2020

Inspiring Innovation with Insights from Food & Beverage Launches

Indulgence, better-for-you, and connections are themes in recent food & beverage launches in many categories worldwide. While these aren’t novel ideas, manufacturers and foodservice operators are discovering new, relevant ways to bring them to consumers.

After talking with our teams and vendor partners, we’ve compiled insights to inspire your new product development process.

Deliver a Premium Taste Experience

Whether dining at home or venturing out, consumers continue to want more from foods and beverages than general nutrition.

Flavor adventures can help offset restrictions among consumers focused on in-home dining and meal prep.


One-third of respondents to Mintel’s COVID-19 tracker expressed concerns about canceling upcoming plans, and 45 percent worry that life won’t be the same.

Although many consumers rose to the challenge of home cooking and baking during shutdowns, others still crave the opportunity to explore new tastes or savor familiar restaurant favorites. Now, people who are willing to dine-in (or carry-out) want an elevated experience to make the time away from home worthwhile.


Mintel’s survey revealed that 77 percent of consumers agree that they indulge when they are dining out.

Adventurous, indulgent experiences are emerging in several ways:


Through nostalgic flavors (and forms) that offer the comfort of happy memories


In more intensity from well-liked flavors


From celebratory tastes in fun forms that link with seasonal holidays


With premium, but affordable, ingredients and recipes

Recent launches and products showing growth on menus that illustrate this trend include:

Jamba Juice

Birthday Cake Smoothie


Even More Chocolate!


French Crème Brulee Pancakes

Pizza Inn

Pumpkin Spice Pizzert

Classic Old-Fashioned

 +57% on Menus

Offer Nutritional Positives

 Even as interest in indulgence grows, consumers seek nutritional benefits in foods and beverages.


Mintel data shows 39 percent of consumers place a higher priority on their health in response to the pandemic.


And among people following a special diet, 63 percent plan to continue with the eating regimen long-term.

The presence of positives shows up through:


Non-dairy formulations, including plant-based options


Keto-friendly products


Added-value ingredients like probiotics

While some launches with functional features offer adventurous flavors, others rely on familiar favorites to reduce consumer uncertainties or trial barriers. Statistics from Mintel show that only 5 percent of consumers identify as Keto or vegetarian, and 30 percent agree they’re omnivores. For some consumers, foods or beverages that provide nutritional advantages without requiring a lifestyle change have strong appeal.

Recent launches and products showing growth on menus that illustrate this trend include:

Dairy Queen

Non-Dairy Dilly Bar


Keto Chocolate Chip

Activia Dairy-Free

Oat-Based Prune/Flaxseed

Huzzah Probiotic Hard Seltzer

Raspberry/Lemon, Juicy Pear, Strawberry/Hibiscus

Simply Pop-Tarts

Apple Cinnamon

Build Connections with Ingredients, Packaging, and Process

Although Zoom calls keep people connected globally, face-to-face interactions are occurring in smaller geographies. As a result, interest in local businesses picked up this year, with local becoming a path toward delivering a premium experience.


58 percent of consumers surveyed by Mintel state they plan to buy more from local companies.

Juxtaposed with the focus on local is the craving for global experiences. With travel curtailed, foods and beverages represent an opportunity to try international flavors.

And having relationships with brands, through origin stories or corporate initiatives like sustainability, has taken on greater significance as people look for products that align with their values.


Claims of ‘made from scratch’ rose +113% on menus in the past 3 years, an assertion linked with local, independent companies.

Trader Joe’s Kuenefe


Scotty’s Brewhouse

Georgia Peach Martini

Maple Hill Milk

 Combismile Carton

Straus Ice Cream

Locally Sourced Ingredients

Clover Sonoma

Plant-Based Carton

Sources: Mintel

U.S. Menus

  • Trending LTOs – August 2020
  • Growing Flavors & Ingredients – July 2020
  • Menu Matrix Desserts – January 2020
  • Trending Baked Goods – August 2020

Year of Innovation

  • Cakes and Sweet Bakery – September 2020
  • Dairy Drinks – August 2020
  • Ice Cream – August 2020

Patent Insights

  • Dairy Companies – August 2020


Get Product Development Moving with Flavorush!

With Flavorush, samples of trending flavors ship in 24-hours, and you have access to all the tech docs you need to launch your new products. Here are a few of the flavors highlighted in our feature article. Create your free account or logon today to explore hundreds of additional options!


NF Product #

Birthday Cake
Caramelized Citrus Peel (Old Fashioned)
Crème Brulee




NF Product #

Fudge Brownie
Georgia Peach
Pumpkin Pie

Register For Our Next Innovation Webinar

October 22nd at 2 pm EST

Join the discussion about product development in 2020! You’ll gather insights about the highs and lows of launches in 2020 and learn about tools that can support your efforts.

Regulatory News

Check out the new National Flavors blog for information about labeling your food and beverage launches. Our guidance is designed to help you comply with the latest regulations.

TTB Approved Ingredients: What You Need to Know

Sep 18, 2020

What does every brewer or distiller interested in bottling flavored alcoholic beverages for the U.S. market have in common? They all need federal government approval of their beverage formulas. So whether you’re an R&D team creating innovative flavors for a beer brand, or a start-up with a fresh take on hard seltzer, you’ll soon connect with the TTB.


Decoding Flavor Labeling: What is a Natural WONF?

Sep 4, 2020

Every indusry has a unique language filled with acronyms. You’ll hear terms like CWT, QSR, FTP, TOS, and SME. The flavors world contains a few acronyms like GRAS (pronounced ‘grahs’ meaning Generally Recognized As Safe) and FMP (Flavor Modulating Properties). 


Inside National

The National Association of Flavors and Food-Ingredient Systems (NAFFS) annual convention is happening soon – and going virtual! Join the event to hear Brian Briggs discuss mergers & acquisitions.

Coming up in next month’s National News:

Organic Flavors – What You Need to Know

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