The research, which looked at the psychology behind botanical preferences and the perceived benefits consumers derive from consuming botanical food and beverages, examined 44 emotions that consumers associate with botanical extracts.
Botanicals have been used for centuries and are now widely used in a variety of emerging and nostalgic foods and beverages, with a 46% increase in beverages containing botanical extracts between 2017 and last year. The global market for botanical beverages and foods is expected to reach $1,489.3bn by 2025. There is a wide range of flavors and ingredients associated with botanicals including herbs (e.g. mint, rosemary and thyme), roots and barks (turmeric, cinnamon and ginger), plants and trees (e.g. Aloe vera, coconut) and flowers (e.g. rose, chamomile and hibiscus).
Kerry surveyed more than 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa to discover attitudes towards more than 55 botanicals.
The research showed 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. Meanwhile, ingredients such as saffron, bergamot and honey are considered premium.
Leigh-Anne Vaughan, global taste marketing director, said, “The link between taste and emotions is widely accepted by experts. Botanical flavours connect with consumers at a very positive level, beyond flavor and taste, and our research shows that these flavors appeal to over 97% of consumers globally. Negative emotions such as repulsive, boring, disappointing were the least suggestive of botanicals.
“In a very busy marketplace, brands are constantly attempting to stand out and interestingly 87% of consumers say that botanicals provide a unique taste experience. Meanwhile, according to Innova research, the use of botanicals in front of pack will result in a 23% price premium.”
Vaughan said formulating with botanicals can win over consumers, especially by using 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’ day part 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,” she said.
Kerry has a portfolio of more than 120 from tinctures, infusions, distillates and extracts to deliver various aromatic profiles and blends.