From citrus to coconut: Flavorchem explores trends in home baking

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Sales of lime extract have jumped 77%, while lemon continues to enjoy a place in the top 10. Pic: Getty Images/Sher Sor
Sales of lime extract have jumped 77%, while lemon continues to enjoy a place in the top 10. Pic: Getty Images/Sher Sor

Related tags Vanilla extracts Coconut flavor trends Flavors Citrus trendspotting Ingredients Baking Bakery

Similar to consumer trends in retail, home bakers are opting for bite-sized baked goods and healthier ingredients – making a star of citrus, coconut and hibiscus, though seasonal favorites hold strong.

Real extracts have gained popularity, with terms like ‘pure’ and ‘natural’ driving growth. Products boasting those qualities jumped 10% and 22% in sales, according to consumer research firm IRI, compared to a 2% drop in imitation extracts.

Vanilla remains the dominant extract with more than $1bn sales in the US alone in the first half of this year. The wholesale price of vanilla beans dropped slightly during that period, leading to an 11% bump in extract sales.

Almond is the second most popular flavor component, with $91m in sales thus far in 2019, followed by lemon with $48m. The yellow citrus has long been a favorite flavor in baked goods, but lime has risen in the ranks – jumping 77% in the past two years, according to IRI data.

"As tart and tangy flavors temper sweetness in bakery items, lemon continues to be a popular extract flavor with limitless creative baking opportunities,"​ Flavorchem told BakeryandSnacks. Consumers' attention to sugar intake has also affected their taste for sweetness, making way for citrus flavors.

Nostalgia with a hint of whimsy 

Peppermint and the prized Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla rounded out the top five extracts in terms of sales, but home bakers have stepped outside the traditional flavor box, said Flavorchem.

Sales of strawberry extracts, for instance, jumped 15% from 2017 to 2018, while maple gained 18%. Almond enjoyed a 4% bump, too.

Consumers are increasingly combining these flavors with more global ones like passion fruit and floral ones like hibiscus.

Extracts of coconut, orange and anise all garnered more than $12m in sales so far this year, per IRI’s data. Ginger and saffron have also risen in the ranks, while popular Asian tastes – matcha, cardamom and black sesame – ‘built momentum' in 2018 and continue to rise.


coconut-cake_GettyImages-101913006_Tom Kelley Archive
A coconut cake dusted with coconut flakes adds flavor and texture. Pic: Getty Images/Tom Kelley Archives

The tropical fruit has emerged as a go-to flavor for millennials, Flavorchem told BakeryandSnacks, likely due to its perceived health benefits. It is also a particularly versatile flavor in bakery applications.

The number of new products with coconut flavor jumped more than 5% from 2015 to 2018.

Savory hits sweet

In addition to exotic flavors, consumers are interested in tasting savory notes in their baked goods and desserts.

Sales of spicy chili extracts, for example, doubled from 2017 to 2018, while pistachio tripled and rosemary gained more than 20%.

These flavors add ‘dimension and complexity’ to otherwise one-note products.

“With consumer palates craving adventure, there is a continued rise in globally inspired flavors trending towards bold, exotic and gourmet,”​ Flavorchem said.

Top 5 Flavor Trends of 2019

  1. Vanilla​ – Despite volatile pricing of vanilla beans, extract sales have steadily increased.
  2. Almond​ – Thanks to its ability to blend seamlessly with other flavors (lemon, honey, ginger, cherry), almond remains a steadfast runner-up.
  3. Lemon​ – ‘Tart and tangy’ tempers sweetness in bakery and other sweet goods, and lemon proffers ‘limitless creative opportunities.’
  4. Peppermint​ – A slight drop in sales can’t bring this seasonal favorite down.
  5. Coconut​ – Products touting this flavor spiked 300% from 2010 to 2016, which Flavorchem attributed to its perception as a ‘better-for-you’ ingredient.

*based on 2019 US sales data compiled by IRI

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