An internal study run by International Flavor & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) observed that foods that drove sales the most involved the following factors:
• Use of plant-based ingredients, and milk alternatives, such as nut-milk, pea-milk and rice-milk were becoming more popular, and felt that it was a more sustainable option over dairy.
• Selling a “food experiences” by including customers in the selling/picking/manufacturing process, were factors that increased sales. The rise of farmers markets or eating in a farm-to-table restaurants were seen as factors. Another method of engaging clients in the food experience involved selling food kits, such as selling baked goods in semi-frozen or DIY kits that would be assembled to turn into cookies or pies.
• Labelling a foodwith descriptors such as "rich" or "velvety" ranked highly with consumers, particularly when describing baked goods. Aside from associating those words with mouth-feel or texture, consumers also linked the item to luxury, when buying an item that used wealth-associated names.
• As autumn is approaching, there’ a rise in ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg as flavouring in pastry and take-out coffee. While ginger was a big seller this summer, it will continue its popularity through to December. IFF reported that ginger brought warmth, where year-round crowd pleasers like lemon brought a brightness to dishes.
Perceived warmth of flavours like ginger and cinnamon along with the richness of flavour are both seasonal driving forces as well as trend-riding elements. Consumers have been reported to enjoy ginger teas and kombuchas, as well as more autumn-themed beverages and snacks like ginger snaps. Descriptions such as "buttery" or "creamy" - even for vegan dishes that did not include dairy - sold very well throughout 2018, so far.