US Flavor Lifecycles Market Report 2020
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“The flavor lifecycle follows flavors and the paths they take through discovery and sometimes reinvention on the possible route to mainstream adoption and the many stops in between. Changing times…

US Flavor Lifecycles Market Report 2020

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)

Report Summary

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Flavor Lifecycles US market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

How do flavors evolve from niche and emerging to becoming a pantry and menu staple? While there is no airtight formula that will propel a flavor to mainstream acceptance, understanding the paths that flavors follow can help identify the flavors that have the most potential and will guide future innovation. Of course, not all new flavors will become or remain mainstream. Some will plateau and find boundaries within certain categories or brand types, foodservice sectors or retail channels. There are numerous influences and barriers that impact consumer adoption of new flavors and ingredients. The continual evolution of consumer shopping, dining and social media behaviors means that as flavors change, so does the path to widespread adoption.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alyssa Hangartner, a leading analyst in the Flavor and Ingredient Trends sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The flavor lifecycle follows flavors and the paths they take through discovery and sometimes reinvention on the possible route to mainstream adoption and the many stops in between. Changing times mean the lifecycle continually evolves, yet it has been quickly rerouted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on top of the normal changing consumer habits, needs and tastes. While 2020 has reshaped the ways consumers find flavors, where they try new flavors and the barriers to trial, the impact has been supplemental – adding more opportunities for both brands and consumers.
Alyssa Hangartner
Flavor and Ingredient Trends Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
    • Impact of COVID-19 on food and drink
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on food and drink, December 2020
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Reemergence
    • Online sources and traditional grocery stores are flavor exposure tools
      • Figure 2: Flavor discovery, October 2020
    • Price is a significant hurdle while familiarity is not
      • Figure 3: Flavor trial barriers, October 2020
    • Recovery
    • Foodservice influences in-store purchases
      • Figure 4: Flavor attitudes, October 2020
    • Emerging flavors made accessible through value brands
      • Figure 5: Experience with emerging flavors, by location, October 2020
  3. Target Audience – Key Takeaways

    • Foodservice disruptions are shifting discovery
    • Economic impact will place priority on value
    • Flavor discovery channels are broadening
  4. Target Audience by the Numbers

    • Adventurous consumers are finding new flavors through a plethora of channels
      • Figure 6: Flavor trial locations, by interest in new flavors, October 2020
    • Evolving shopping habits indicate path to flavor seekers is rerouted
      • Figure 7: COVID-19 impact on consumer behavior, October 29-November 9, 2020
    • Limited service operators can fill innovation gap
      • Figure 8: Restaurant ordering in past three months, April-August 2020
    • Niche brands can influence trial through social placement
      • Figure 9: Flavor trial locations, by new flavor introduction, October 2020
    • Impact of COVID-19 on food and drink
      • Figure 10: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on food and drink, December 2020
    • Lockdown
    • Reemergence
    • Recovery
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Learnings from the last recession
  5. Market Factors

    • Foodservice closures scramble traditional flavor lifecycles
      • Figure 11: COVID-19 Foodservice Tracker, September 2020
    • The lines are blurring between private label, specialty and national brands in flavor innovation
      • Figure 12: Brand purchase habits, by generation, November 2019
  6. Market Opportunities

    • Social connections will play an ever-bigger role in flavor discovery
      • Figure 13: Flavor attitudes regarding socialization, by generation, October 2020
    • Emphasize experience through flavor innovation
      • Figure 14: Flavor attitudes, by generation, October 2020
    • Support evolving consumer wellness goals within future innovation
      • Figure 15: Flavor trial barriers, by gender and generation, October 2020
  7. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Mainstream flavors find new categories
    • Foodservice growth points to CPG potential
  8. Emerging Flavor Innovation in CPG

    • Mainstream flavors shift into new categories
      • Figure 16: Growth of emerging flavors within new product development, 2015-20
      • Figure 17: Evolution of buffalo as a flavor within CPG innovation 2017-20
      • Figure 18: Hibiscus as a flavor within CPG innovation, 2015-20
      • Figure 19: Ginger as a flavor within CPG innovation, 2015-20
    • Emerging flavors proliferate through specialty and store brands
      • Figure 20: Black sesame flavor within CPG innovation, 2015-20
      • Figure 21: Ghost pepper in CPG innovation, 2015-20
      • Figure 22: Miso in CPG innovation, 2015-20
  9. Emerging Flavor Innovation in Foodservice

    • Foodservice innovation is an indicator for adoption
      • Figure 23: Percentage change of emerging flavors on US menus, 2015-20
      • Figure 24: Buffalo as a flavor within menu innovation, 2018-20
      • Figure 25: Miso on US menus, December 2020
      • Figure 26: Ghost pepper within menu innovation, 2015-20
  10. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Flavors are social for Millennial, Gen Z consumers
    • Lower the investment of trying new flavors
    • Flavor lifecycles are blurring due to innovation in retail
  11. New Flavor Attitudes

    • Consumers are hungry for more new, yet familiar, experiences
      • Figure 27: Flavor attitudes, October 2020
    • Flavor discovery fosters social connections
      • Figure 28: Flavor attitudes, by generation, October 2020
    • Find convenient ways for parents to explore
      • Figure 29: Flavor attitudes, by gender and parental status, October 2020
  12. Where Consumers Discover New Flavors

    • New flavor discovery is multichannel
      • Figure 30: Flavor discovery, October 2020
    • Flavor meets technology
      • Figure 31: Flavor discovery, by generation, October 2020
    • Income level affects new flavor discovery
      • Figure 32: Flavor discovery, by household income, October 2020
  13. Where Consumers Try New Flavors

    • Full service restaurants are a top source for new flavor trial
      • Figure 33: Flavor trial locations, October 2020
    • Gen Z, Millennial consumers dabble in niche channels
      • Figure 34: Flavor trial locations, by generation, October 2020
    • Parents’ interest in flavors will have lasting impact on innovation
      • Figure 35: Flavor trial locations, by parental status, October 2020
  14. Barriers to New Flavor Trial

    • Make discovery price accessible
      • Figure 36: Flavor trial barriers, October 2020
    • Price barriers know no age
      • Figure 37: Flavor trial barriers, by generation, October 2020
    • Health and small sample sizes are a priority for female consumers
      • Figure 38: Flavor trial barriers, by gender, October 2020
  15. Consumer Experience with Emerging Flavors

    • Consumers expect mainstream flavors to be everywhere
      • Figure 39: Experience with emerging flavors, by location, October 2020
      • Figure 40: Experience with emerging flavors, by location, October 2020
  16. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


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*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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