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Diageo reveals the top five flavour trends for summer

Diageo has used AI to identify five flavours that will shape how consumers all over the world will socialise when drinking this summer.

The flavours, which it has titled: ‘umami’, ‘spicy’, ‘tropical’, ‘treating’ and ‘bloom harvest’ are part of the drinks giant’s new ‘flavour forecast’ and have been created in collaboration with the AI learning tool Ai Palette which tracks conversations across online and social media platforms to pinpoint emerging food and drink trends.

Based on the AI insight, Diageo has learned that umami flavours are on the rise and that searches for ingredients such as turmeric are up 79% in the UK. Additionally, searches for the Korean red chilli paste gochujang are up 55% in the US, and even searches for the ‘Parmesan Espresso Martini’ are up 12% in the US reflecting a growing interest in new experiences, traditions, and flavours from different cultures.

Diageo has observed from the findings that spicy flavours are also on the rise with conversations about jalapeno being up 32% in the UK and pepperoncini up 53% in Australia while talk of chilli is seeing a 36% in the US. According to Diageo, these trends come as 15% of global consumers are searching for greater excitement when socialising, with Latin and Tex-Mex food orders now overtaking Italian food in America and almost half of British shoppers now using hot sauces in everyday meals.

While consumers search for more adventurous and exotic experiences, a resurgence in tropical-based food and drinks has also been noted. To support this, searches and talk of tamarind are up 50% in the US, and fruits like guava have risen 18% in the UK while other tropical fruits such as passionfruit are seeing a 25% lift in interest in Thailand.

Treating flavours

According to Diageo, new textures and innovative methods are transforming stereotypical ‘treating flavours’ into multi-layered experiences and this has been fuelled by the AI data showing consumers stating that enjoying life’s little pleasures has become more important are up 63%.

To support this, conversations about flavours like coffee are up 12% in the UK and hazelnut is up 91% globally while renewed interest and conversations about nutmeg are up 78% globally and are trending with Vogue magazine which recently named the Affogato as ‘Fashion’s Favourite Dessert’ indicating that indulgent cocktails might even be taking over traditional puddings.

The fifth flavour trend, ‘bloom harvest’ which is a nod to the rise in global consumers’ obsession with nature and amplified by topical events such as the 2024 Met Gala being themed ‘The Garden of Time’, Diageo has noted how in the UK alone there has been a 172% increase in searches for ‘how to forage’.

According to Diageo, this obsession is driven by an increasingly eco-conscious consumer who is discussing locally-sourced ingredients, a trend that is up 44% and can be seen with talk of floral and natural infusions such as elderflower being up 67% in France and rhubarb being up 36% in Canada.

AI insight

Speaking about the five flavour trends, Diageo’s chief innovation officer Mark Sandys said: “How we socialise today is influenced by so many factors, such as different cultures, the appreciation for the outdoors, even our desire for adventure.

“These trends are shaping the drinks and the specific flavours that consumers will want to enjoy this summer, with Diageo’s ‘flavour forecast’ indicating that we are going to see the likes of jalapeno, guava, and floral infusions all have their moments, particularly in the world of cocktails.”

Discussing the findings that the innovations were being based on last week at Diageo’s Innovation Showcase in London, Sandys explained that the company was looking into “what will be the big macro trends that consumers are going to care about in five to 10 years time”. This was so that Diageo can “work back from that to create propositions, so that by the time the trend materialises” it is “ready” and “knows it’s going to work”.

Sandys highlighted how it has “also recently just tried to broaden out innovation scope a bit further, so that innovation is not just new liquids in new bottles, but it’s also using data with the intent to go broader than that”. He explained: “We talk about building platforms, not products. Platforms that can help consumers engage with the category in different ways, or create different consumer experiences”.

Sandys added: “Using our insights and artificial intelligence, we’ve been able to track the growth of these trends and introduce new products to stay relevant to changing consumer palates, with wonderful recent examples including Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind and Johnnie Walker Umami.”

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