LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The flavor forecast for 2018 is shaping up to be full of ooey, gooey goodness. Maple, the sweet sign of spring and uniquely North American ingredient is the top trending flavor for the upcoming year. It is famous for its complex sweetness and unmatched flavor. More recently, it is front and center for its role as an alternative sweetener and extensive list health and nutritional benefits.
The nation’s top beverage development company, Flavorman, and their team of flavor experts predict the top trends we expect to take over the beverage industry in 2018. Many flavors trend to reflect the current state of the times and this year, there is a definitive trend toward earthy and familiar.
• Maple: Like Bourbon, but Sweeter: Maple flavors can be both deliciously complex and subtle. Like bourbon, many factors influence how maple tastes. One could taste notes of roasted coffee while another detects hints of hazelnut and cinnamon. Also like bourbon, maple must age to reach perfection. Trees need to be 30-40 years old before they can be tapped. Another benefit of Maple is its high antioxidant value. It contains elevated levels of the mineral manganese and vitamin B2, which promotes a healthy metabolism, bone structure and thyroid function.
• Stick with Sticky: Much like maple, honey is a natural ingredient that not only sweetens your favorite beverage, but offers a diverse variety of flavors. Honey delivers flavor and aroma. In the United States, there are 300 varieties of honey, all with unique flavor profiles, from light and mild to robust and strong. Allergy sufferers have long touted the healing powers of honey. It has been known to improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure and acts as a natural energy source.
• Fruity over Sweet: If sweet isn’t your thing, grapefruit adds a citrusy, zesty touch. Grapefruit is a versatile flavor that packs a powerful punch. The unique combination of sweet and tart creates an aromatic, distinctive flavor. The popularity of grapefruit-inspired drinks continues to trend upward, and the health benefits are like those in honey.The citrus fruit is packed with Vitamin C and decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes and promotes healthy skin.
• Botanical Spins: Herbal blends such as mint, juniper and rose bring the year’s flavor trends full-circle. The uniqueness of these ingredients allows them to be used as the primary ingredients in spirits in other beverages, but also in culinary creations.
Where will you see them? The top flavor trends of 2018 will pop up in exotic tea blends such as Matcha Tea, international coffee blends, botanical-heavy beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic and in craft beverages including sodas, beer and spirits.
David Dafoe founded Flavorman in 1992. The international custom beverage development company at 809 South 8th Street in downtown Louisville has developed beverages such as energy drinks, flavored spirits, ready to drink beverages, juice and mixers. Flavorman’s beverage architects have helped develop top brands like Jones Soda, Chiquita, Joia All Natural Sodas and Crispin Cider. Budding entrepreneurs also send their ideas to the beverage campus with a plan to create a new beverage or develop an idea. Flavorman has formulated more than 40,000 beverage formulations in their25 years of business. In 2013, Dafoe launched sister company, Moonshine University on the beverage campus to educate entrepreneurs on how to launch a successful distilling business from concept, to distilling, to bottling. Moonshine University houses the Stave & Thief Society, a bourbon certification program. It was established to promote Kentucky’s distinguished bourbon culture. Stave & Thief Society will lead bourbon enthusiasts, restaurants, bars, hotels and retail employees to become Executive Bourbon Stewards through a standardized training program.