Addressing Burnout and Boosting Energy Through Flavor

A recent study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Liquid I.V., found that 38% of Americans feel low on energy at least four days a week. The same percentage of Americans said these low energy levels led to feelings of burnout in 2023.

Why are we feeling burnt out? According a recent Times article, we’re more exhausted than ever and exhaustion levels have been increasing for these main reasons:

  1. unsustainable lifestyles placing business needs over human needs,
  2. stress outside of our control, such as city violence and world tragedy; and
  3. financial insecurity stemming from the fact that “working full-time doesn't translate to the same security and buying power it used to.”

The study also found that respondents are very interested in finding a solution to their burnout and improving their energy levels in 2024.

This year, 4 out of 10 Americans will change their diets to get more energy to feel better.1 People are looking for more than a caffeine boost or an energy drink to get them through the tough days. They want:

  • Improved mood and stress relief
  • Heightened cognitive function
  • Reduced anxiety

Helping consumers achieve their energy goals can not only be done through the right combinations of ingredients and optimal nutritional profiles, but also through flavor.

Associating food flavors with feelings is a complex interplay of sensory perception, cultural influences, personal experiences, and even physiological responses.

Flavors are perceived through taste and smell. These sensations trigger specific neural responses in the brain, which can evoke emotions and feelings. For example, the sweetness of a dessert might evoke feelings of pleasure and comfort, while bitterness might trigger aversion or caution.

Cultural influences and personal experiences can sway the triggers. As can, psychological factors. For example, when we’re stressed or anxious, we may crave comfort foods associated with feelings of security and relaxation. Alternatively, when we're feeling adventurous or daring, we might be more open to trying new and bold flavors.

So, how can food and beverage manufacturers select flavors that cue energy and encourage consumers to grab their products off the shelf?

Let’s dive in!

Flavors That Cue Energy

Taste of The Tropics

Tropical flavors can cue a feeling of energy due to their vibrant and exotic nature, which can evoke a sense of excitement and vitality. Here are some tropical flavors commonly associated with energy:

Dragon fruit: Dragon fruit can evoke perceptions of energy due to its vibrant and invigorating taste profile. Its profile can be associated with feelings of freshness, vitality and a zest for life.

Passion Fruit: Passion fruit has a unique and tangy-sweet flavor with floral notes. Its exotic taste can stimulate the senses and promote a feeling of vitality.

Papaya: The vibrant and juicy flavor of papaya is often associated with tropical environments and sunny climates, which can create a sense of energy and liveliness.

Pineapple: Pineapple has a sweet and tangy flavor with tropical undertones. Its refreshing taste can help awaken the senses and promote a feeling of rejuvenation.

Mango: Mango has a sweet and juicy flavor with tropical nuances. Its exotic taste can provide a burst of energy and elevate mood.

Coconut: Coconut has a rich and creamy flavor with a hint of sweetness. Its tropical aroma can evoke feelings of relaxation and vitality.

Zing With Citrus

Citrus flavors are often associated with a refreshing burst of energy due to their bright, tangy taste. The natural ingredients contain vitamin C which can help reduce fatigue. Here are some citrus flavors commonly associated with energy:

Lemon: Lemon is one of the most widely recognized citrus flavors associated with energy. Its bright, tangy taste can help awaken the senses and provide a feeling of refreshment and revitalization.
Meyer Lemon: Meyer lemon has a sweet, floral and slightly tangy taste compared to regular lemon. Yet, this unique flavor profile can provide a similar refreshing and uplifting experience.
Orange: Orange is another popular citrus flavor that cues a sense of energy. Like lemon, its vibrant and sweet-tart flavor can boost mood and alertness.
Mandarin Orange: Mandarin orange has a sweeter and more delicate flavor profile than orange. Even with subtle floral notes that distinguish it from the stronger, zestier orange flavoring, it offers similar mood boosting effects.
Lime: Lime has a zesty and slightly tart flavor that can also evoke feelings of energy and vitality.
Key Lime: Key lime has a sweeter and slightly more acidic flavor profile than lime. Providing an even more intense tangy zest, it can add an especially refreshing twist.
Grapefruit: Grapefruit has a unique bittersweet flavor profile that is both refreshing and invigorating. Its tangy taste can help stimulate the senses and promote a sense of wakefulness.

Stimulating Spices

Spicy flavors can stimulate metabolism and increase circulation, which may contribute to a feeling of increased energy. Here are some spicy flavors commonly associated with energy:

Chipotle: Chipotle’s spicy, smoky profile can evoke feelings of warmth, stimulation and invigoration. The heat that comes from the natural ingredient can increase heart rate, promote circulation and stimulate the release of endorphins - effects that can lead to a sensation of increased energy.

Ginger: Ginger cues energy through its warm, spicy and invigorating profile. The natural ingredient can have stimulatory effects on the body such as improving circulation, boosting metabolism and increasing energy.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon cues energy through its warm, sweet and spicy profile. Its aromatic and flavorful essence can evoke feelings of coziness and stimulation, making it a popular choice for products aimed at providing an energizing and uplifting experience.

Mint Magic

Mint flavors can cue a feeling of energy due to their invigorating and refreshing qualities. Here are some mint flavors commonly associated with a feeling of energy:

Peppermint: Peppermint is perhaps the most well-known mint flavor associated with energy. Its cool and refreshing taste can help awaken the senses and promote alertness.

Spearmint: Spearmint has a slightly milder flavor compared to peppermint but still offers a refreshing and uplifting experience.

Wintergreen: Wintergreen has a distinctive minty flavor with sweet and slightly woody undertones. The aroma of wintergreen can have an invigorating effect on the senses, promoting a feeling of freshness and energy.

Energizing Combinations

Try combining energizing flavors from multiple flavor categories to really pack a punch:

Partner With Bickford Flavors To Deliver A Boost of Energy

As we navigate the challenges of modern life, the quest for sustained energy and vitality has never been more crucial. The findings from recent studies highlight a growing desire among Americans to combat burnout and improve their overall well-being. While caffeine and energy drinks have been go-to solutions in the past, there's a clear shift towards seeking natural and holistic approaches to boost energy levels.

Flavor plays a pivotal role in this journey. By understanding the intricate interplay of sensory perception, cultural influences, and personal experiences, food and beverage manufacturers can craft products that resonate with consumers' desires for improved mood, heightened cognitive function, and reduced anxiety. Whether it's the vibrant allure of tropical flavors, the zesty burst of citrus, the warming embrace of spices, or the invigorating freshness of mint, there's a flavor profile to suit every palate and preference.

Let us help you get started with the right flavor for your application:

1International Food Information Council Survey

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