Beck Flavors’ new 2024 "Flavors of the Year" provides restaurants, cafés, grocers and food manufacturing businesses with a look at what consumers are seeking for in the new year. Beck Flavors annually conducts in-depth consumer research to better understand flavor trends and crown the top four trending flavors.

After last year's winning flavors reflected adventure and global experiences, 2024's flavors appeal to the tried and true: warm, familiar and sometimes spicy flavors that evoke feelings of comfort. But it all starts with the science of creating the flavor itself.

"Creating these Flavors of the Year starts with thinking about what you taste in the real product itself, whether it's from memory or tasting it directly," says Hunter Rohlf, Beck flavor technologist. "From there, we identify the main components and the volatile flavor compounds that translate to each respective note. Once the compounds that make up the food are identified, we synthesize a formula, perform multiple taste tests and make iterative adjustments to achieve the desired flavor profile."

Embracing "Little Treat Culture"

According to the analysis by Beck Flavors, 50% of US consumers want to feel like they're indulging when they treat themselves with desserts and confections. Made popular by Gen Z and millennials on social media, people are more often rewarding themselves with "a little treat." It's an act of self-care amidst life's challenges, a fleeting flashback to fond memories.

Reflecting these trends, this year's flavor in the indulgent category is Churro-S'mores, a blend of cinnamon, chocolate and marshmallows. Combining Spanish influences with a childhood staple, it's a flavor that will send consumers' taste buds back in time.

This year's people's choice flavor is Lou'ie Butter Cake, a flavor that combines slightly caramelized flavors, reminiscent of the classic Gooey Butter Cake dessert that originated in St. Louis. It's another flavor and aroma that will transport consumers to somewhere like a local bakery or their childhood kitchen.

Fresh Takes on Fruity and Familiar

According to the analysis by Beck Flavors, 41% of U.S. consumers want to see spicy flavors in beverages while 37% enjoy spicy flavors in desserts. The last two winning flavors appeal to the health conscious and adventurous consumers, bringing a spicy spin to a beloved fruit flavor.

Hot Pepper Jelly is the 2024 Beck Flavors innovative flavor of the year, bringing a blend of sweet, spicy and tangy notes. The fruity and sugary base flavor is complemented by and tang that lingers. Beck Flavors' research data shows consumers' evolving appreciation for bold and sensory culinary experiences is continuing to rise, making Hot Pepper Jelly a flavor that has staying power.

The final flavor of the year brings another outside-the-box variation to a beloved flavor, making Blackberry Thyme this year's fruit combination flavor winner. This flavor brings the juicy and slightly tart characteristics of the blackberry and softens them with the earthy and herbal flavor profile of thyme, creating a complex flavor for health-conscious consumers. 

According to Beck Flavors' research, 77% of consumers want to do more for their health, while 75% of consumers want to discover new flavors. By offering fruity options as alternatives to dessert flavors, while also incorporating spices and herbs, which may offer health or medicinal qualities, this combination will bring comfort and excitement to health-conscious consumers.