Interest in greater flavour variety is a key driver for consumers in many European markets, with a significant proportion appearing hungry for even more experimental flavour innovation. In Germany, for example, almost three-quarters of consumers say they like to explore new food and drink flavours.

The growing demand for more intense sensory experiences in food and drink is explained by Mintel’s Trend ‘Sense of the Intense’, which highlights that products or experiences that stimulate taste, touch and smell can appeal and offer something fresh and different. The growing interest in a range of unusual flavour combinations is primarily a youth-driven trend, since Millennials are more keen to challenge their taste boundaries than previous generations.

Food and drink manufacturers have undoubtedly benefitted from growing demand for more intense sensory experiences among consumers, responding with innovation around interesting textures, novel ingredients and spices. Moreover, some brands are blurring the lines between apparently contradictory taste profiles, creating new, intriguing flavour combinations across various food and drink categories.

Sweet biscuit brands look to widen sensory appeal

In Germany, sweet biscuits have been a popular platform for sensory innovation recently, with brands stepping up efforts to present their products in a visually impactful way through the use of novel shapes and colours.

As an appetite for unconventional flavours is growing, it appears that sweet biscuits are starting to enjoy a period of non-traditional flavour experimentation too. In summer 2017, the Bahlsen biscuit company launched limited edition variants of its Leibniz and Leibniz Pick Up! sweet biscuits that were flavoured with chilli. Tapping into consumers’ desire for more unusual flavours, Leibniz’s new biscuits merge a sweet base with spicy notes of chilli extract, providing a new flavour dimension to the traditionally indulgent sweet flavour profiles.

Mintel research shows opportunities exist for sweet biscuit brands to experiment with ingredients beyond just heat to create more complex flavour blends, venturing into more daring flavour innovation. In particular, botanical and floral inclusions are gaining ground in sweet biscuits, resonating especially with a female audience. While still niche in Germany, a number of biscuit brands in wider Europe are already innovating around botanicals and floral ingredients such as rosehip, matcha, ginger or turmeric, lending their flavour compositions a touch of exotic sophistication, while enhancing the natural image of a product.

Katya Witham is Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel with a dedicated field of focus on Germany. Katya draws on her comprehensive knowledge of the market to identify and explore the major trends across various FMCG categories, providing the insights needed to successfully navigate the German market.

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