The Demand For Refreshing Flavors and How To Meet It

A recent study by NCBI reported that 76% of participants desire to consume something refreshing at least once per day, while 23.5% desire to consume something refreshing occasionally. Demand for refreshing may peak in hotter months, yet these numbers remain high throughout the year.

Refreshment is a dominant trend in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. While beverages may be top-of-mind when consumers seek refreshment, some foods can deliver the same experience if they offer the right taste. According to Mintel, food launches positioned to ‘refresh’ increased by +14.5% across the post-COVID years.

NCBI reports the beverages most participants seek refreshment from include:

  • plain water (86%)
  • tea (49%)
  • flavored water (45%)
  • soda (41%)
  • juice (39%)
  • sports drinks (35%)
  • coffee (18%)
  • beer (13%)
  • milk (11%)

Food categories trying to give beverages a run for their money in the refreshment category include:

  • dairy-based ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • water-based ices; and
  • grain-based products like ready-to-eat cereal, snack bars, and cookies.

When a consumer purchases a product marketed as refreshing, what experience are they actually looking for?

When asked to define refreshing, most consumers related it to “thirst quenching.” Other responses include:

  • mentally waking
  • water restoration, and
  • physically energizing.

The main factors that consumers feel make a food or beverage refreshing are temperature and cooling taste, or flavor. Acidic and mint flavors, in particular, deliver the highest perception of refreshment.1

Let’s dive into some flavor profiles that can help you deliver the right experience.

Citrus Flavors

Citrus flavors are commonly associated with refreshment for their ability to awaken the senses while quenching thirst. Explore the refreshing depths of these vibrant flavors:

Orange: Orange is renowned for its vibrant and tangy taste. The citrus instantly awakens the senses and provides a refreshing sensation, making it an ideal choice for beverages, desserts, and snacks. Oranges are naturally juicy, and their flavor often accompanies a high water content. This hydration factor contributes to the refreshing feel.

Blood Orange: Like orange, blood orange offers a tangy and citrusy taste. However, the flavor of blood oranges often has a deeper, more complex profile with hints of berry-like sweetness and floral notes. This unique combination adds an intriguing twist to the typical orange flavor, making it both refreshing and distinctive. The deep red hue of blood oranges is visually striking and often associated with freshness and vitality. This vibrant coloration enhances the perception of refreshment, especially when used in yogurts, smoothies or desserts.

Lemon: Lemon is renowned for its zesty citrus profile. Its brightness instantly stimulates the senses, providing a refreshing sensation that wakes up the palate and invigorates the mind. The tanginess of lemon adds a refreshing and thirst-quenching quality to food and beverages. Whether it's in a glass of lemonade, a lemon sorbet, or a lemon-infused dish, the tartness of lemon cuts through richness and heaviness, leaving behind a clean and revitalizing taste.

Lime: Like lemon, lime is characterized by its bright and zesty citrus profile and provides a burst of freshness that signals refreshment. Lime is often associated with tropical flavors. This association with tropical refreshment adds to the appeal of lime-flavored foods and beverages, evoking images of sunny beaches and cool breezes.

Grapefruit: Unlike the sharp tanginess of lemon and the intense tartness of lime, grapefruit flavor offers a distinctive bittersweet profile. This combination of bitter and sweet notes provides a refreshing complexity that sets grapefruit apart, making it an intriguing choice for those seeking a more nuanced refreshment experience. Grapefruit's acidity is also gentler compared to lemon and lime. This milder acidity makes grapefruit flavor more approachable for those with sensitive palates while still offering a refreshing burst of flavor that revitalizes the senses.


Mint Magic

Mint flavors invigorate the senses and transport consumers to a state of cool revitalization. Try one of these minty delights:

Peppermint: Peppermint has a clean and crisp flavor profile with a refreshing hint of sweetness. Its distinct taste clears the palate and leaves a fresh, revitalizing aftertaste, making it a popular ingredient in a wide range of culinary creations, from candies and desserts to sauces and beverages.

Spearmint: Compared to peppermint, spearmint offers a gentler, more subtly sweet flavor profile. This sweetness enhances the overall refreshing sensation, providing a milder yet equally satisfying taste experience.

Chocolate Mint: The combination of cool mint and rich chocolate creates a sensory contrast that heightens the perception of refreshment. This contrast stimulates the taste buds and promotes a sense of balance and satisfaction, making chocolate mint flavor a refreshing and enjoyable choice for a wide range of applications beyond ice cream.

Mojito: Mojito features the tangy brightness of lime, which instantly refreshes the palate with its citrusy zest. Mojito also incorporates the coolness of fresh mint, which adds a refreshing herbal note to the mix. This flavor evokes the tropics, transporting the imagination to sun-soaked beaches and stirring images of leisurely relaxation and carefree enjoyment.


Fruit Oasis

Embark on a refreshing journey with fruit flavors that evoke the essence of summer indulgence and tropical paradise. Each flavor promises a sensory retreat to leisurely picnics and sun-kissed beaches, offering a burst of refreshment and rejuvenation with every bite or sip.

Watermelon: Watermelon has a high water content, which contributes to the flavor’s association with refreshment. Watermelon flavor is often associated with a cooling sensation, similar to the feeling of biting into a crisp, chilled slice of watermelon. This cooling effect adds to the overall refreshment factor, providing relief from heat and leaving a refreshing sensation on the palate. Watermelon flavor also evokes the fresh and fruity essence of summertime, transporting the mind to picnics, pool parties, and outdoor adventures. Its association with leisure and relaxation enhances the perception of refreshment, creating a sense of rejuvenation and enjoyment.

Pineapple: Pineapple flavor captures the tropical sweetness of the fruit, which is inherently refreshing. It also features a hint of tanginess, which adds depth and complexity to its taste profile. This tangy zest balances the sweetness of the fruit, creating a refreshing contrast that tantalizes the taste buds and leaves a revitalizing sensation on the palate.

Strawberry: Strawberry’s refreshing quality comes from the crisp juiciness and bright tartness of the fruit, evoking the essence of freshly picked strawberries on a summer day.

Mixed Berry: Mixed berry combines the unique taste profiles of different berries, offering a complex and layered flavor experience. This diversity contributes to its refreshing appeal, as each berry brings its own distinct sweetness, tartness, and juiciness to the mix. Mixed berry flavor is often accompanied by a vibrant, jewel-toned color palette, showcasing the rich hues of red, purple, and blue. This visual appeal enhances the perception of refreshment, enticing consumers with the promise of juicy, flavorful berries.

Grape: The flavor of grape evokes the juicy succulence of the fruit, which contributes to its refreshing appeal. Grape flavor combines sweet and tangy, a combination that stimulates the taste buds and makes it an appealing choice for refreshing beverages and snacks.

Coconut: Coconut flavor evokes the essence of tropical paradise, transporting the mind to sun-kissed beaches and swaying palm trees. This association with exotic locales enhances its refreshing appeal, creating a sense of relaxation and escape from everyday life.


Partner With Bickford Flavors To Offer Refreshment

The demand for refreshment remains high year-round, with consumers seeking thirst-quenching experiences from a variety of foods and beverages.

As refreshing trends continue to dominate the market, it's essential for food and beverage manufacturers to meet consumer expectations by incorporating flavors that evoke a sense of rejuvenation and enjoyment.

As you embark on your flavor innovation journey, partner with Bickford Flavors to create the perfect flavor for your application. With our expertise and commitment to quality, we'll help you develop products that not only refresh but delight consumers' taste buds.


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