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Colour and flavour trends

How colours and flavours can enliven wellness-forward innovation |

February 15, 2022  By Jennifer Zhou, ADM


Product developers can support consumer wellness aims by incorporating whole-food ingredients and associated flavours into specific products, for instance, Aztec-inspired brownies featuring chocolate, chili de árbol and allspice. PHOTO: ADM

Easing into the new year brings a sense of optimism and anticipation as well as a desire to be more present and purposeful. With more people making the connection between what they eat and how they feel, purchasing behaviours often indicate a consumer’s mindset. Today’s consumers are frequently seeking nostalgic comfort foods as well as exciting fusions of global flavours and joyful, vibrant colours. Here are a few colour and flavour concepts that may inspire purchases throughout 2022.

Restful and restorative

The pandemic has been an agent of change around the world, bringing both positive and negative disruptions to daily life. During times of uncertainty, people often turn to familiar indulgences as a form of tranquility and comfort. Bakers will recognize increased demand for rich and buttery croissants, crispy cookies, crunchy crackers, hearty breads and delicate cakes. Some of the most popular flavours are timeless and expected: vanilla, chocolate, caramel, citrus, berry and mint. 

A fresh twist on these favourites may spark further interest. The common “swalty,” or sweet and salty, trend is now evolving into mashups of flavour profiles like smoky, sour or spicy with sweet, which can elevate traditional offerings. Consider smoked maple and bacon doughnuts, hot honey-glazed pastries and tart yuzu macaroons.

There’s also growing demand for flavours and colours that consumers associate with relaxation and sleep. ADM research shows that the strongest associations to restfulness are lavender and chamomile, along with shades of blue and purple1. This research also indicates consumers believe calming treats include flavours of tea, cocoa, milk and honey, with dark berries and botanicals on the rise1.

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Adventurous exploration

With unpredictable shifts in travel restrictions, people are becoming “food tourists,” exploring different cultures and cuisines from the comfort of their homes. Through carry-out orders and home cooking, consumers can travel with their taste buds to all areas of the globe. Specifically, Latin American, Caribbean and Indian regional cuisines are in the spotlight2. Plus, a resurgence of the ’90s fusion cuisine trend unlocks opportunities to mix favourite flavours, regardless of geographic boundaries. Unique and complementary combinations are endless, from Chinese Peruvian bao buns to Banh Mi pizza.

Bakers can pair these exciting essences with dynamic natural colours that may evoke feelings of creativity. Citrus-associated hues include bright orange, green, yellow, red and pink. Tropical and citrus fruits are natural sources for these vibrant colours, and their flavours are frequently associated with products formulated to support immune function as well as brain health. Vitamins B, C, D and E, zinc, and omega-3s are important nutrients found in many fruits and botanicals.

Product developers can further support consumer wellness aims by incorporating whole-food ingredients and associated flavours into specific products. For instance, nutritional bars with elderberries and cranberries, preserved lemon and rosemary cupcakes, and Aztec-inspired brownies featuring chocolate, chili de árbol and allspice. Passionfruit, watermelon, mango, pineapple, herbal tea and coffee varietals are more options that can bring global flair to bakery formulations.

Moody blues

Colour plays a vital role in food and beverage selection. Not only does it delight the senses, but it also differentiates flavour expectations and aids in taste perceptions. Blue is a colour associated with calm and consistency, as well as digitalization and inspiration. When blues adorn frosted cakes, fruit pies, marshmallow creams and the like, people might expect berry or playful flavours like cotton candy or bubble gum. Bakers creating whimsical applications can use natural ingredients for a range of blue colourings, such as Pantone’s 2022 Colour of the Year, Very Peri.

Product developers have access to a true-blue hue with ADM’s proprietary fruit juice blue, derived from the Amazonian huito fruit. With ADM’s acid-, light- and heat-stable blue colouring, bakers can achieve various shades of blue, purple, green and brown from a natural source, even in the most challenging applications. Additionally, ADM’s vertically integrated supply chain, responsible sourcing methods and patented extraction technology support label claims that attract conscientious consumers.

As more people turn to purposeful indulgences to soothe their spirits in difficult times, product developers are encouraged to view the world with blue-tinted lenses and be open to experimentation. Baked goods in a rainbow of colours and both familiar and unexpected flavours will encourage emotional responses in consumers hungry for new experiences in the coming year.


1ADM Outside Voice

2 Tastewise, 2022 Trend Prediction Report


Jennifer Zhou is Senior Director of Product Marketing, North America, ADM.


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