Botanical state of mind: Kerry reveals top emotions associated with botanical extracts and flavors
11 Jun 2021 --- New consumer research from Kerry reveals that botanical extracts generate several emotions, including energy, excitement, creativity and fun. The taste and nutrition company investigated the psychology behind botanical preferences and the perceived benefits consumers derive from consuming botanical food and beverages.
Kerry surveyed over 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa, driven by flavor while making food and beverage purchase decisions.
From this research, the company uncovered the emotions associated with 55 botanicals and their corresponding perceived health benefits and has also highlighted the resulting opportunities for innovative product development.
Making an emotional connection
According to the research, botanical flavors connect with consumers on a highly positive level, beyond flavor and taste.
Consumers also think about botanicals as being energetic, interesting, useful, trustworthy and safe.
For example, a beverage with guarana, ginseng and ginger can carry a similar connotation of ‘energy’ as a coffee or energy drink would to the consumer. At the same time, ingredients like saffron, bergamot and honey are considered premium.
Kerry examined a total of 44 emotions that consumers associate with botanical extracts.
“The link between taste and emotions is widely accepted by experts. Botanical flavors connect with consumers at a very positive level, beyond flavor and taste, and our research shows that these flavors appeal to over 97 percent of consumers globally. Negative emotions such as repulsive, boring, disappointing were the least suggestive of botanicals,” explains Leigh-Anne Vaughan, Kerry’s global taste marketing director.
“In a very busy marketplace, brands are constantly attempting to stand out, and interestingly 87 percent of consumers say that botanicals provide a unique taste experience. Meanwhile, according to Innova Market Insights’ research, the use of botanicals in front of pack will result in a 23 percent price premium,” she continues.
In addition, formulating with botanicals can certainly win consumer hearts, especially by using appealing flavors such as mint, honey and cinnamon.
“Manufacturers should emphasize the link between botanical flavor, their corresponding emotions and health benefits they evoke to create flavors that meet consumers’ daypart and occasion needs. These insights can be leveraged to connect with consumers to deliver a stronger taste experience in food and beverages and aid in product development,” Vaughan explains.
A rich history
Botanicals have been used for centuries and are now widely used in various emerging and nostalgic foods and beverages, with a 46 percent increase in beverages containing botanical extracts between 2017 and last year.
The global market for botanical beverages and foods is expected to reach US$1,489.3 billion by 2025.
There is a wide range of flavors and ingredients that are associated with botanicals, including herbs such as mint, rosemary and thyme, roots and barks like turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, plants and trees including aloe vera, coconut tree and florals such as rose, chamomile and hibiscus.
Botanicals take center stage
Kerry’s expertise in sourcing and processing botanicals worldwide has led to a portfolio of more than 120 from tinctures, infusions, distillates and extracts to deliver various aromatic profiles and blends.
Last June, Kerry released its Botanicals Collection Zero, a range of clean label, “premium” botanical extracts – containing 0 percent ethanol – designed specifically for the low- and no-alcohol beverage markets.
Botanicals are blossoming in alcohol NPD. Innova Market Insights has tracked a 21 percent CAGR growth in alcoholic beverage launches with botanical flavors (Global, 2015-2019). The market researcher has also found that 18 percent of launches with botanical flavors were tracked with a no additives/preservatives health claim, crowning it as the most widely used claim paired with botanicals (Global, 2019). Gluten-Free (17 percent) and organic (14 percent) claims took a close second and third place in the flower and herb space.
Botanicals and fruit flavors, as well as natural flavorings, are continuing to proliferate in 2021
There has also been a recent boom in hard seltzer beverages, which has escalated the natural botanical flavor trend. A good example is the recent launch of White Claw “Summer of Seltzer” variety pack for UK consumers.
And as more brands create wellness and nutritious beverages, botanicals come to the fore further.
By Gaynor Selby
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