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Summer 2021 Flavor Trends

Botanical, Beneficial and Plant-Based Ingredients Expected to Blossom on Menus


While 2020 was a year dedicated to nostalgic comfort foods, consumers are beginning to look ahead for fresh flavors and new ways to enjoy familiar favorites. Now, consumers are facing 2021 with a renewed focus on foods as sources of health and well-being. From glazes to baked goods, cocktails to mocktails, consumers want foods and drinks that taste good and make them feel great. We can expect to see more menu claims that call out functional benefits, vitamins, immunity boosting and plant-based attributes in the coming year.

Scroll our gallery to see the top trending flavors for summer 2021 and easy ideas to incorporate them into menus.

TASTE TREND: PEACH

TASTE TREND: PEACH

Peaches and summer go hand in hand, but operators are finding exciting new ways to utilize this seasonal staple. The flavor of peaches varies from very sweet with a hit of acidity to mostly acidic with mild sweetness. All this means you’re likely to find a variety that adds just the right amount of peach flavor to almost any application and menu innovation imaginable.1

New Takes:

Condiments, salsas and savory dishes enjoy new depths with the sweetness of peaches. Try infusing this soft fruit to create glazes, beverages and more.

Vinegar is the #2 trend for 2021.2 Expand your offerings from apple cider to introduce a new fruit-flavored offering.

1. FONA International, 2018
2. 2021 Food and Beverage Trends to Watch (Technomic, December 2020)

Banana Brick Toast with NILLA Wafers

TASTE TREND: PEACH

100% increase of peaches in fried desserts over two years1
14.3% increase of peach in chicken dishes over the last two years1


TRY: Swap out the bananas for peaches in our Banana Brick Toast with NILLA Wafers

1. Season’s Eatings Summer 2021 (Technomic)

TASTE TREND: MUSHROOM

TASTE TREND: MUSHROOM

Plant-based is big, moving into the mainstream more and more every day.1 Tap into plant-based and comfort food trends in new ways with mushrooms. Summer offers unique opportunities to explore their earthy umami flavor.

New Takes:

Grilled and pickled mushrooms are delicious alternatives to traditional beef burgers and condiments.

Functional benefits vary by mushroom type, but touting the physical, mental and emotional health enhancements they offer is a great way to attract customers interested in these types of nutritional benefits.2

1. Consumer Food Trends - What to Expect in 2021 (Technomic, December 2020)
2. Industry Insights (Technomic, January 2021)

Mushroom Swiss Veggie Burgers made with RITZ Crackers

TASTE TREND: MUSHROOM

14% growth for imitation meat burgers made with mushrooms in the last year1




TRY: Mushroom Swiss Veggie Burgers made with RITZ Crackers

1. Menu Trends (Technomic, Q1 2021)

TASTE TREND: CHERRY

TASTE TREND: CHERRY

Loved for their classic sweet and tart flavor, cherries hit their delicious peak during the summer season. While this favored flavor has reached maturity, new varieties and unique preparation methods are helping bring renewed life to all kinds of applications.

New Takes:

Use pickled or roasted cherries as a topping or add-in to give ice cream and breakfast items new depth and dimension.

Craft beverages can be called out on menus for their refreshing taste and immunity boosting attributes—especially drinks featuring the acerola cherry, which is packed with vitamin C.1

Sweet treats made with fresh cherry flavor are a can’t-miss summer menu item.

1. Season’s Eatings, Summer 2021 (Technomic)

Cherry Custard Tarts made with NILLA Wafers

TASTE TREND: CHERRY

59% consumer appeal1
3% increase in breakfast starch dishes since 20191




TRY: Cherry Custard Tarts made with NILLA Wafers

1. Season’s Eatings, Summer 2021 (Technomic)

TASTE TREND: CHERRY BLOSSOM

TASTE TREND: CHERRY BLOSSOM

Edible botanicals are trending across the board. When spring and summer hit full bloom, consumers will be looking for operators to serve up bright, cheery and fresh ideas. Although similar in name, cherry blossom (also called sakura) has a much different taste and texture than its fruity friend. Chefs can look to Japan’s national flower to add subtly sweet flavor and Asian inspiration to any dish.

New Takes:

A beautiful garnish for baked goods and desserts, cherry blossom also imparts mild floral flavor when used as an ingredient in snacks and confections.1

Infusing sauces and beverages with cherry blossom makes it easy to add global appeal across the menu.

1. Season’s Eatings, Summer 2021 (Technomic)

Vegan Matcha Tea Shake with OREO Cookie Pieces

TASTE TREND: CHERRY BLOSSOM

LTOs featuring cherry blossom are a great way to celebrate Japanese- and Asian-inspired flavors and build on the buzz of the next Olympics, set to take place in Tokyo this summer.

#8 menu trends to watch in 20211




TRY: Garnish our Vegan Matcha Tea Shake with OREO Cookie Pieces with sakura for an even more elevated and on-trend beverage.

1. Season’s Eatings, Summer 2021 (Technomic)

TASTE TREND: YUZU

TASTE TREND: YUZU

“Bright and buzzy,” yuzu is a centuries-old East Asian fruit that has gained steam on menus in America in only the last five years.1 Its fragrant and tart flavor profile is similar to a grapefruit-mandarin orange cross. It is also known to support a healthy immune system, attributes consumers find important during the COVID-19 pandemic era.2

New Takes:

Lemonades and agua frescas that call out yuzu and its beneficial antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties can drive purchase intent.

Dressings and marinades infused with yuzu and lemon offer a citrusy sour then sweet flavor profile that plays into consumer interest in complex flavor experiences.

1. Ignite Menu Trends (Technomic, Q4 2020)
2. Industry Insights (Technomic, February 2021)

Vegan Matcha Tea Shake with OREO Cookie Pieces

TASTE TREND: YUZU

Yuzu is predicted to grow on menus over the next two years 1




TRY: Update your menu with a yuzu version of our Lemon Fizz made with SOUR PATCH KIDS for an even greater taste of summer.

1. Ignite Menu Trends (Technomic, Q4 2020)
2. Industry Insights (Technomic, February 2021)



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