Flavour hotlist: The emerging sports nutrition trends set to excite shoppers

By Nikki Cutler

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / Lisovskaya
Getty Images / Lisovskaya
Dragon fruit, tres leche cake, and turmeric are just a few of the weird and wonderful flavour trends set to be a hit in the sports nutrition category in the future, says Synergy.

Flavour and extracts player Synergy has created a list of new flavour trends to help manufacturers get ahead of the curve and excite consumers with their new products.
The company has researched food and drink trends in Latin America and North America and tested which emerging flavours would work well in sports nutrition products across the globe.

Hugh Evans, marketing manager for Europe and Asia at the firm, says the importance of flavour is a key purchase driver, yet the majority of sports nutrition flavours are reusing the same three flavours.

“According to Mintel, over 75% of consumers are influenced by flavour choice when purchasing a sports nutrition product – so, innovative flavours is a key purchase driver.

“Consumers want innovation and excitement and are very influenced by new flavours. For too long the sports nutrition market has primarily focused on the same flavours – chocolate, vanilla and strawberry which make up about 75% of products on the market – and we fully expect the trending flavours in America to make their way to Europe and beyond.

“It’s good to be anticipating what’s coming in 2019 and 2020 as we want to help companies get ahead of the curve in order to stand out.”

Synergy used insight from Mintel, Euromonitor, food bloggers, new product launches, as well as food service, Google and social media trends. It then took the biggest trends to its flavour development team, which tested whether those flavours worked within sports nutrition products.

The final hotlist of 17 flavours are those that Synergy felt had true potential in the sports nutrition market

The list is divided into four categories: ‘emerging’, which are ahead of the curve; ‘growing’, which are starting to appear in the mainstream; ‘mainstream’, which are the conventional flavours; and ‘established’.

Trends in Latin America - emerging

Taro ​is a root vegetable traditionally found in South India but it is cultivated all over the world. It is usually white, pink or purple and it’s naturally sweet and starchy and pairs with strawberry and vanilla


Pitaya/Dragon Fruit​ is a cactus fruit from South America. It has a sweet taste with pear and kiwi notes making it a sweet and refreshing flavour that works well in drinks. It pairs well with coffee or cucumber


Tiramisu​ is a traditional Italian coffee-flavoured dessert made of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, flavoured with cocoa.

Acai ​has become a trendy ingredients and is widely considered to be a very healthy berry, or 'superfood'. They are high in fibre and heart-healthy fats. 


Alfajores​ are an Arab import to Spain but they are popular throughout South America. It is traditionally a traditional sandwich cookie consisting of two cookies filled with a dulce de leche filling.

Tres leche​, also known as ‘three-milks bread’, this dessert is made of a butter cake soaked in three different milk products – evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream. A sweet and nutty flavour.

Creme de Papaya​ is a trendy ice cream found in many Latin American restaurants. It’s made with fresh papaya, vanilla and creme de cassis.

Trends in North America - emerging

Yuzu ​is a Japanese citrus fruit which looks like a cross between a lemon and a lime. The flavour is found a lot in ale and sparkling waters and pairs well with green tea and mint

Mochi ​is a soft round Japanese bun made of chewy rice. It has a sweet rice cake flavour and is often used in ice cream in Japan. It pairs with mango and strawberry.


Tart/sour cherry ​is a flavour used a lot in baking, often paired with chocolate, and the most popular variety is the Montmorency cherry.

Turmeric ​is on trend right now for its vibrant yellow colour and its health benefits. It has a peppery, earthy flavour making it pair well with lemon and ginger.

Speculoos ​is a spiced shortcrust biscuit, popularised by the brand Biscoff. Its traditionally baked for St.Nicholas’ day in the Netherlands and at Christmas time in Germany.

Matcha green tea ​is a well-known subtle aromatic flavour that leaves a lingering sweetness.


Pecan nut ​is a popular addition to cakes, biscuits and cookies is the US and it pairs well with chocolate, vanilla and maple syrup.


S’mores ​are a well-known campfire treat consisting of fire-roasted marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers.

Cookie dough ​is a hugely popular flavour in the US and beyond. It became a trendy flavour 35 years ago when Ben and Jerry’s created a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Birthday cake ​offers a creamy confectionery candy flavour. It’s already in several protein bars in the US and is also making its way into drinks.



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