The food and beverage industry thrives on flavors. Salty, sweet, spicy— there are thousands of avenues to explore. We see specific flavors rule entire seasons, and for good reason. In the winter, brands utilize peppermint, mocha, and chocolate, which are flavors that are associated with comfort and nostalgia. In the summer, fruity, citrus flavors are often added to anything from drinks to desserts.
This year, fall flavors are quickly saturating the market. Since the beginning of the summer, there have already been 1.7M interactions regarding fall flavors. Food and beverage brands need to be proactive when it comes to planning ahead, and that includes following the trends to find the best flavors possible to incorporate into their strategy.
We measured the top flavors that we’ll see in the fall of 2021— let’s take a look at who will be the winners of the season.
In the last three months, there have been 10.1k articles written about fall flavors, with over 1M interactions. One major peak in public interest occurred on August 11th, as many interactions came from Dunkin’ announcing its pumpkin cream cold brew. Alternatively, there was a media interest peak in fall flavors on August 24th, when Starbucks announced that its pumpkin spice latte was back, along with other new fall flavors. Starbucks and Dunkin’ have perfected their fall offerings, which have generated a lot of interest within both the public and media sectors.
Trending fall flavors
When looking at fall flavors in general, there has been a solid mix of flavors involved. The number one article by Best Products had 65.6k interactions, and it promoted Oreo’s new apple cider flavored cookies. Bud Light came in second on the charts with 37.7k engagements, as it’s set to release a seasonal seltzer pack. Flavors include Apple Crisp, Maple Pear, Pumpkin Spice, and Toasted Marshmallow. Cinnamon also found itself on the list this year, as Nestlé Toll House unveiled a new cookie dough flavor.
Some articles refer to Dunkin’ rolling out its fall line, as it is highly anticipated every year. Best Product’s article about the fall menu reached 33.5k interactions.
Apple has become widely used by brands this season, integrating seamlessly into autumnal strategies. Apple picking, apple pie, and applesauce are all fall favorites, so the decision to capitalize on the flavor has been popular in 2021.
The top article about apple flavors was about a Michigan-based ice creamery unveiling a baked apple crisp flavor, generating 26.9k engagements. Also on the list was Starbucks, who introduced an apple macchiato drink to pair with its infamous pumpkin spice latte. Articles about Starbucks’ venture into apple territory totaled 13.4k interactions.
Other examples of companies incorporating apple into their brands include McDonald’s McCafe introducing apple pie flavored K-cups into its line and Stewart’s Shops debuting a new apple pie flavored ice cream.
Maple and Berry
Maple has risen on the charts this year, and in surprising news, berry has been a prominent flavor trending this fall. In an effort to shift berry away from summer, many brands have been incorporating it into their autumn plans. Dunkin’ has teamed up with Harpoon Brewery, releasing a Blueberry Matcha IPA and a Maple Crème Blonde Ale for their annual fall beer collaboration, while Nestlé Toll House introduced a peanut butter and strawberry jelly cookie dough. Halloween fans were also incredibly excited to see General Mills adding its Boo Berry and Franken Berry cereals to a “Monster Mash” mix, generating 789 interactions.
Krispy Kreme made news with its new Maple flavored donut, netting a total of 874 interactions out of the top five articles. Silk has also introduced a maple brown sugar creamer to its fall line. When it came down to it, stories about the Dunkin’ beer collaboration generated a majority of the interactions from articles focused on berry flavors.
Seasonal trend: Mooncakes
When searching for flavors in relation to autumn, mooncakes were constantly mentioned. Mooncakes are a Chinese dessert served during the mid-autumn festival, which falls on the 15th of August of the Chinese lunar calendar. Mooncakes can be filled with ingredients such as lotus seeds, peanuts, red bean paste, or mango, which makes them so versatile. This year, we’ve also seen berry flavors come to the fore, emphasizing our previous trend research.
Raffles Hotel in Singapore made waves as the top article with 1.4k engagements because of its new strawberry chocolate and dark brown sugar and rum mooncake. Daniel Food Diary generated 827 interactions from its article showing where to get the best mooncakes in Singapore this fall. Flavors at multiple locations included strawberry, blueberry, and cranberry.
No matter the season, brands will find a way to create a staple flavor. Some stick with the classics, and some find innovative ways to create new trends. An even mixture of both new and old flavors will be popular in the fall of 2021, only leaving more room for brands to expand on their seasonal lines in the future.