Jennifer Zegler
Jenny Zegler is an Associate Director of Food and Drink at Mintel. Jenny blends her trends expertise with food and drink topics such as health, formulation, sustainability and premiumization.

The future of sweet flavors has many potential opportunities. Here, Jenny Zegler, Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink, takes a look at two ways brands can innovate products with sweet flavors, as well as what brands are already doing to stand out on store shelves.

Innovative sweet products

Various forms of chocolate dominate global food and drink launches with sweet flavors that were introduced between November 2016 and October 2017, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). The Dr. Oetker Sweet Pizza with Chocolate is a frozen dessert pizza that is available in Portugal and is topped with chocolate sauce and three types of chocolate.

Tying flavors to a specific location provides approachable innovation as shown by the Hershey Company’s introduction of limited edition confectionery products with flavors inspired by six US states, such as Florida Key Lime Pie Twizzlers.

Vegetables are invading a host of sweet categories and can be used to create flavor profiles that are inherently less sweet. In bakery, carrots and other naturally sweet vegetables such as beetroot, parsnips, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and courgettes/zucchini can add flavor and texture to cakes, and help keep them fresh and moist. For example, Garden Lites Blueberry Oat Muffins from Canada are made with fresh zucchini and carrots.

Companies are also experimenting with products featuring new combinations of sweet with savory or spicy flavors. In summer 2017, Germany’s Bahlsen biscuit company launched Leibniz Pick Up! Sandwich Cookies Filled with Chocolate & Chili, a pack of limited edition sweet biscuits that were flavored with natural chili flavor.