In 2019, the soft drink industry was valued at more than $400 billion. By 2027, that number is expected to grow another 5 percent. Not only does this include traditional sodas, but it has expanded to flavored seltzer water as well.

And when you add coffee and tea drinks, you have a buzzing industry that might leave you asking how to make your own drink that appeals to consumers.

It’s no surprise that flavor profiles continue to evolve as the market grows and consumers want new and exciting products.

A considerable part of the demographic that reaches for soft drinks, lemonade, coffee, and bubbly water is Gen Z consumers, who seem to love trying new things and having new flavors to interest them.

With that in mind, drink brands meet the demand by constantly putting out new drink flavors. These flavor trends drive the industry and help retain existing customers while attracting new ones.

Want to get in the trend and start your beverage brand? Here are the flavors that are most trendy in today’s market.

Flavored Lemonade

When you’re designing drinks, it pays to see what consumers are already reaching for. In today’s market, that appears to be fancy flavored lemonade.

Lemonade has been around for a long time and continues to be a popular choice among all ages. But the desire for something new has evolved the beverage into something that comes with a twist.

One way that lemonade trends appeal to consumers is the balance of the bitter taste of lemon with the sweet taste of tropical fruit. Think dragonfruit, kiwi, passionfruit, and prickly pear.

Whipped lemonade is also having a moment, thanks to Tik Tok and its ability to reach consumers all over the world. Social media is one of the most significant driving forces behind consumer trends, so use it to your advantage.

Spicy and Sweet

Mountain Dew is a brand that continuously evolves and does a fantastic job of listening to what its customers want. So when it told them “design your own drink”, they delivered.

The brand teamed up with Cheetos and created a sweet blend of hot Cheetos and sweet Mountain Dew. The combination got rave reviews and flew off store shelves.

When it comes to custom beverage development, paying attention to these flavor trends is a valuable way to create your own drink that appeals to customers.

The spicy and sweet combination continues to be popular, as you can see with flavors like pineapple and jalapeno or orange and habanero. While they aren’t traditional drink flavors, they are in high demand. 

Fancy Coffee Flavors

It’s no secret that the coffee industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly people were working from home and weren’t making their morning stop at the local coffee shop.

Now that things have started to return to normal, industry trends are finding that customers are excited to get back to trying coffee flavors they can’t make at home.

Brands are certainly delivering, and knowing what consumers want will help you make your own drink list that appeals to your customers’ desires.

Fancy flavors like sugar cookie, funnel cake, lavender, chestnut, and brown sugar are popular choices at the moment.

Cold brew coffee is also having a moment among the Gen Z crowd, so it’s a prime choice to include in your beverage lineup. Customers always want something new, so mixing up the flavors will keep them interested.

Fruit and Flowers

The syrupy sugar content of traditional sodas is something that younger consumers aren’t attracted to. Instead, they want innovative flavors that are sweetened naturally. 

For that reason, the combination of flowers and fruit is trending in a big way. Fruit offers natural sweetness to a drink, while flowers lend a unique flavor and scent that makes them exciting to consumers.

Hibiscus is a flavor that is showing up on more drink menus. It has a tart taste that pairs well with fruit. Hibiscus and mango is one combination that is getting a lot of attention at the moment.

Consumers are interested in other combinations, including cherry and rose, white peach with lavender, and blackberry with jasmine. These mixtures work well in flavored seltzer, lemonade, and tea.

Cheese and Tea

If you want to offer your consumers something new and innovative, cheese tea is what you’re looking for. 

This trend began in Asia and is making its way around the world. The drink consists of a fruit tea finished off with a topping of cream cheese. Mentions of the drink on social media are up 25 percent and continue to rise.

The tea is typically served cold and can be made with plain black or green tea. While the name may initially cause skepticism, one sip of cheese tea is sure to create a plethora of converts.

The trend is still in its infancy in the United States, so now is the ideal time to jump on it and showcase how excellent cheese tea can be. You may even create some loyal customers from the tasty drink. 

How to Choose Flavor Profiles

With so many options available to you, it can be difficult to determine which flavor profiles are best for your beverage development goals.

Connecting with your customers is one of the best ways to decide what to add to your menu. Many younger consumers are interested in small, local businesses so you can market your product to that demographic.

You may want to offer samples to your customers. Take note of which ones produce the most excitement.

Social media is where you have a lot of your power. Use it to stay on top of the trends, but also to showcase what you have to offer.

When it comes to pairing flavors, don’t be afraid to try something new. Customers are always willing to give it a go. And that’s the best way to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Taking the First Step

Now that you know what flavor profiles are trending right now, you’re probably ready to start putting together your menu.

The great news is that the industry is constantly changing and evolving, so you have an opportunity to get creative and offer new and exciting tastes to your consumers.

We’re here to help. Let our custom drink lab help you take your idea from conception to distribution, including sourcing the best ingredients and designing the most delicious formulation. We can’t wait to get started.