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Coffee and tea flavor trends.

Seven years ago, I was doing pretty much the same thing, writing an article on flavored coffee for this magazine ("The Changing Flavored Coffee Market", January, 1988). Since then,things in my life have changed professionally, personally, and geographically. The one constant is that I am still writing about flavored coffee.

I, as well as other members of our editorial staff, have paid close attention to the growth of flavored coffees, teas, and related products, for the better part of a decade. I have conducted and published the results of my flavor survey annually since January 1992, and each year the number of participants increase as does the subject matter of the survey

This year, the survey is structured a bit differently from years past. In addition to providing hard data on top selling flavors for coffee and tea, the survey gives suppliers a forum to discuss everything from marketing strategies to manufacturing techniques. Suppliers were even asked to look into the future and tell us what types of flavorings they would be selling in the year 2000.

Identical questions were faxed to 19 companies this year and 12 responded. All companies were encouraged to be as brief or as long as they wanted. The questions were:

1. What were your top selling flavors for coffee and tea in 1994 as compared to 1993, do you see any new trends developing?

2. What do you see as hot sellers in 1995 for coffee and tea?

3. Do you have any new flavorings on the market, and if so, can you furnish me with a description?

4. What do you see happening to flavored coffee sales over the next two years?

This year I added a section of optional questions. Suppliers were asked to answer as few or as many as they liked. These optional questions were:

1. Tell my readers about your company and what makes your company unique.

2. Do you sell flavorings for ground coffee, if so, is there anything you would like to tell my readers about the flavoring itself or the flavoring process?

3. Have you seen the quality of flavorings change over the past five years, if so, how?

4. What types of flavorings will you be selling in the year 2000?

All companies did not answer all questions, and some companies answered all questions, so if a particular question is not answered in a company's section, they did not address it. Suppliers are listed in reverse alphabetical order and contact information is at the end of the article.

Keep in mind that the names of the flavorings listed are just that, names of flavorings and not the resulting flavored coffees or teas. Many roasters mix flavorings and/or flavored coffees and teas to create their own version of standard favorites.


Top sellers for this company were Vanilla Creme, Chocolate, Hazelnut, Raspberry, Irish Creme, and Amaretto, according to Bob Sloane of Vanlab. As to new trends, Sloane sees flavored coffee growing at "all levels of its preparation and consumption: liquid flavors for beans, dry and liquid flavors for ground beans and instants, dry and liquid flavors for creamers and sweeteners, and flavor products at the store or distributor level."

He continues by stating that, "Vanlab has developed non-bitter types of flavors for coffee beans. This unique process allows the consumer to drink flavored coffees without adding extra sugar or cream."

Vanlab also sells products for all ranges of the coffee processing business. According to Sloane, "ground coffees do not require the expensive or aggressive flavors that were developed for coffee beans. Our range of products that we offer to the coffee trade is targeted to each application (ground or whole bean)."

Sloane thinks that in the past five years the variety and quality of flavors have varied according to their use. "The quality of flavors depend on the application and their primary reason for development. If a flavor company sells (a flavor developed for ice cream) as a coffee bean flavor, then that flavor company is not serving his customer well. Many companies readied to enter the 'new coffee flavor market' by offering their standard shelf flavors for coffee bean flavors. This led to substandard flavored coffee."

In the year 2000, Sloane thinks, "Flavors will be more application-oriented. Coatings and encapsulation will improve so that flavor is released at the precise (correct) moment of time."

He also believes that in 2000, "Natural flavors will be more available because technology will be advanced enough to 'create' them." He thinks that will have its price. "By 2000, the natural products may be all natural but synthesized in a laboratory. Most natural flavors will have never seen the original product that they were made from."


Top selling flavors were Hazelnut, Chocolate, Amaretto, and Chocolate Mint with future trends going toward Chocolate and Nut blends, according to Steven J. Quinette, director of marketing, Universal Flavors. He also thinks that in 1995, ever more flavors will become available for coffee as well as more types of herbal teas. Needless to say, he thinks that flavored coffee sales should continue to grow citing as an example the Starbucks/Pepsi partnership.

He continues by citing what makes Universal unique, "Universal Flavors focuses on the beverage market, with a facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, devoted to beverage flavor and product development. The company's history in beverage flavors dates back to 1903."

His predictions for the future of flavored coffee is optimistic as, "quality continues to improve, especially with natural flavors. Flavors in the year 2000 will provide additional benefits such as sweetness enhancers and mouthfeel."


French Vanilla, Chocolate, Irish Cream, Macadamia, Chocolate Raspberry, Amaretto, Chocolate Almond, Coconut, Cinnamon, and Hazelnut are the most popular flavor for coffee," according to Patricia Horning, marketing specialist. "Lemon, Peach, Raspberry, blended fruits and herbals are the most popular for teas."

She continues by suggesting that "hot sellers for coffee will be 'seasonal' flavors such as Eggnog and Cinnamon Spice, 'dessert' flavors such as Tiramisu and Danish Pastry, and 'liqueur' flavors such as Kahlua-type and Amaretto. However, nothing will replace popular mainstream flavor such as French Vanilla, Hazelnut, and Irish Cream. Hot sellers for tea is anything natural and 'good for you."'

She thinks that specialty coffee will evolve from a niche segment to one that is mass marketed via introduction into grocery stores. "Consumers' widespread exposure to specialty coffee will encourage experimentation the variety of flavors available," said Homing, "resulting in increased coffee sales. Further expansion of specialty coffee in international markets will also support this growth."

When asked to address what makes Tastemaker unique, Horning replied that "Tastemaker is a vertically integrated flavor company offering distinctive custom flavors in beverages, processed meats, savory, sweet goods, and foodservice applications. As a global company, our flavor creation and application group and our marketing staff work together to present creative flavor and application concepts based on global category growth trends, economic flavor replacement opportunities, and new technology.

Tastemaker offers price competitive and unique flavors for coffee and tea products. The company produces many of its raw materials for flavors allowing for a price competitive advantage over other flavor companies who purchase their ingredients from Tastemaker. Our uniqueness over other flavor companies stems from our captive ingredients that are exclusively used to develop worldclass flavors for coffee and tea by Tastemaker only.

Tastemaker understands the challenges of flavoring coffee and tea. We offer advanced technology in flavor stability in high-acid environments using carbohydrate encapsulation. Carbohydrate encapsulation technology minimizes flavor oxidation, increases the retention of volatiles, and improves shelf-life stability verses other dry flavor alternatives. Furthermore, Tastemaker flavor formulations are especially tailored for tea and coffee, based on our in depth technical knowledge of these products."

Horning concludes by stating that, "Tastemaker is committed to setting the standards in our industry for providing our customers with the highest quality products and services. Tastemaker has received (the) 'Excellence in Marketing Award' in 1993 & 1994 from Food Engineering, this award is given to 10 ingredients suppliers who have "provided their customers with outstanding products or services.' Tastemaker is the only flavor supplier to receive this award."


Hazelnut, Irish Cream, Chocolate, and fruit combinations such as Chocolate Cherry and Chocolate Raspberry as well as Vanilla Nut" were top selling flavors for 1994 according to David Brand, marketing coordinator. "Top sellers for tea remained Lemon, the largest seller for tea beverages. However, Raspberry, and Peach have gained their fair share of the market."

As to future trends, Brand sees, "The gourmet flavored coffee bean as becoming more and more of an indulgent type of item. With the popularity of coffee bars growing throughout the U.S., flavors like Hazelnut, Irish Cream, and different chocolate varieties are becoming dessert substitutes in many cases. This trend is in addition to the growth of flavored coffee as a staple item."

In iced tea, he comments, "we have seen great interest in iced tea flavored with a fruit and spice combination; flavors like Cranberry Spice iced tea and Lemon Apple Spice iced tea may become 'hot' sellers in the near future."

As to growth over the next two years, Brand comments that, "Initially, the flavored coffee market was attractive to the 'non-traditional' coffee drinker. As this category has grown and developed, the traditional coffee drinker has found flavored coffee an attractive alternative. Over the next two years, flavored coffee will move closer to becoming a 'staple' item."

He closes by stating that, 'Robertet Flavors' long history and expertise as a basic producer of flavor raw materials provides a strong base for the creation of complex flavor compounds required in today's markets."


Nut and creamy flavors abound in the top sellers list of this international flavor house. Their top 10 flavors for coffee in 1994 and 1993 were:

As to the development of new trends, Michael S. Abrams, executive vice president of sales & marketing, comments that for coffee, "We find many fresh brewed flavored coffees being used by bartender to make exotic coffee, alcoholic beverages." He continues by stating that, "We notice a definite year round increase in the sales of typical holiday coffee flavors. Flavors like Egg Nog, Rum Butter Liquor, Pumpkin Pie, and other spiced nut and cream flavors are becoming less seasonal. Caramel notes are also becoming more popular."

Abrams also sees flavor combinations becoming popular. "Analogous to combining the most popular ice cream flavors to create the famous Neapolitan blend (Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry), we observe the same activity happening with gourmet, flavored coffees. Popular combinations include: Irish Cream with with Hazelnut, Chocolate Irish Cream, Vanilla Macadamia Nut, Hazelcoconut (Hawaiian Hazelnut), Chocolate Caramel Pecan (Chocolate Turtle), and Chocolate Vanilla Raspberry."

For teas, Abrams thinks that, "Tropical flavors will continue to increase in popularity for fresh brewed teas. Flavors include: Passion Fruit, Mango, and Guava. We also observe flavored loose leaf herbal teas making more of a splash. Varieties include Chamomile, Peppermint, and Ginseng. We have also observed a recent increase in nut/vanilla and cream combinations for black tea. Popular blends include: Vanilla Almond, Vanilla Hazelnut, Nut Cream, and Vanilla Cream."

Melchers also has plenty of flavors for coffee that Abrams thinks will be hot sellers in 1995. "We have had our French Caramel Cream out for only a year and a half, and already it has vaulted to the seventh position of our most popular flavor list for 1994, and we expect it to move higher in 1995. This flavor, with its toasted caramel notes combined with smooth vanilla cream is a must for any company desiring a competitive edge.

We also have a brand new chocolate flavor which many roasters exclaim is the best new chocolate taste they have ever tried for flavored coffee. Our new chocolate flavor is designed to achieve a true, full bodied chocolate character formulated to delivery previously unavailable aroma and full impact taste, which combines the flavor notes of America's best chocolate bars. This flavor is selling like hot cakes and is sure to win over all the chocoholism in the flavored gourmet coffee business."

In teas, he thinks that "Our Brazilian Maracuja will continue to be a hot seller for 1995. Some examples include: Peach/Mango, Peach/Apricot, and Peach/Passion."

Melchers constantly develops new flavors to keep pace the consuming public's desire for flavored coffees. According to Abrams, "Very soon we will release our brand new Toasted Chocolate Almond which has been turning on a lot of taste buds in early sensory panels. We predict good sales for this flavor in 1995. This flavor takes our new chocolate and adds good toasted almond notes which imparts a true, full nut taste, and a rich, smooth creamy character. This provides intense pleasure for all flavored coffee connoisseurs. Also in the "on deck' circle are: Mocha Almond Fudge, Cinnamon Pecan Brownie, Irish Mist, Chocolate Almond Cluster, and Grandma's [Secret.sup.TM]."

This flavor development also extends to tea. "For decades, Melchers has always led the flavor industry in capturing the true essences of tropical fruits. Our past tropicals all have proved track records in Europe and America. 1995 will be another banner year for expanding our line of rare, exotic tropical fruit flavors for tea. Included for (first in the USA) introduction are: Pitavia from Columbia; Feijoa from Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina; Naranguilla and Jackfruit from Brazil, and Babaco from Ecuador."

Over the next two years, Abrams thinks "Flavored coffee sales will continue to become more available in a greater variety of places, especially in the office coffee service and fast food restaurant markets (fractional packs). Overall market share will increase at a slower pace but will be higher in 1997 than in 1995. Away-from-home consumption of flavored coffees will surely increase as convenience store chains continue to add new brews, and retail coffee chains and drive through continue to add new stores. Thus, the future is looking bright."

In addition to selling flavors for whole bean coffee, Melchers sells both dry powder and liquid flavors for ground coffee. In fact, according to Abrams, "There is a very common misconception in our industry that liquids cannot be used in the production of flavored ground coffees. This is a myth. Melchers Flavors of America recommends roasters to use liquids over powders whenever possible because of the derived technical advantages far outweigh the use of conventional, dry flavor powders.

We invite inquiries from roasters who want to further explore the taste and production benefits which can be achieved through the use of liquid flavorings on ground coffees. just as flavor companies know how to make dry flavors from combining liquids on tiny granular particles, Melchers can teach coffee companies how to combine liquids on tiny, ground coffee particles to make free flowing and great tasting flavored ground coffee."

Asked what makes Melchers unique, Abrams responded by stating that "We lead the industry with over 3,000 formulations for coffee and tea. Roasters and tea purveyors can trust Melchers since our flavors have a proven track record in the tea and coffee industry for over a decade. With our new U.S. plant, we are in a position to combine popular American taste components with our existing European artistry. This combination will provide roasters and tea purveyors with a powerful arsenal of worldwide aroma and taste never before available through one domestic source and at competitive prices. It's wild what's happening at Melchers, you have to taste it to believe it."

Abrams concludes by stating that, "Flavor quality improves with each passing year as a direct result of better extraction, synthesis, sensory evaluation, and isolation technologies. In addition, new improvements in flavor production equipment, computer software, and measurement instruments all augment the flavorists and flavor chemist efforts in creating better and better quality flavorings. Thus, we and our customers have already benefited in the past two years to come by application and consumption of better quality flavorings. This trend of improved quality will be the case for many years to come."

"We will continue to focus on creating better quality coffee and tea flavorings. Currently we have some interesting research projects in process. The results of this research will create flavor products certain to create many benefits in processing and taste for our coffee and tea customers. The flavored coffee and tea market will continue to expand into the next century and we plan to always be counted on for continued new products, quality, and service."



In 1994, top selling coffee flavors were Vanilla Nut, French Vanilla, Irish Creme and Chocolate Raspberry & Creme; top sellers for tea were Vanilla, Apricot, Raspberry, and Blackberry, according to Michael G. Boudjouk president of Medallion International. Many have held onto their positions since 1993 as reflected in the top sellers for that year: Coffee flavors that sold well were Hazelnut, Vanilla Nut, Irish Creme and Chocolate Raspberry & Creme; top selling flavors were Apricot, Raspberry, Tropical Fruit, and Blackberry.

Flavors with vanilla and cream notes are prevalent in their top sellers and this reflects the company's viewpoint toward upcoming flavor trends. According to Boudjouk, "We see the trend turning slightly toward smoother and creamier flavors. Vanilla, alone or with other characterizing flavors, are extremely popular and fill a broad range of taste."

He continues by saying that in 1995, "for coffee, we see an increase in Caramel, Cinnamon, Vanilla, and the continued success of the nut flavors. All have a smooth buttery texture to enhance the coffee taste, not challenge it. Some of our new flavors for coffee are Honey Nut Creme and Caramel Crunch, both of which have full-bodied richness, yet leave room for the imagination.

In teas for 1995, we see a slight change towards citrus flavors with a continued appeal for Vanilla. Our new tea flavor is Limon, an evenly blended citrus flavor which heightens the tea without smothering it ... A great flavor for either hot or iced tea."

As far as flavored coffee's continued growth, Boudjouk thinks that flavored coffee sales will continue to grow with a strong emphasis on individual flavor blends. Flavors will be appealing because of their ability to be adaptable to individual taste, season, or region. "Variations of flavors are only limited to one's creative ability and imagination." Medallion also sells liquid flavors for ground coffee, finding that these flavorings have found wide acceptance in the industry.

He also thinks there is a future for flavored coffee in Europe. "We see the European market slowly opening up, therefore, pushing the U.S. flavored coffee market to new heights."

Working with customers individually is part of what Boudjouk thinks makes Medallion unique. "Medallion International, Inc. offers a large variety of coffee and tea flavors, as well as custom blended products. We feel that our strength is in working hand in hand with a customer in new product development or product improvement. We price ourselves in our ability to respond to the needs of our customers."

When asked as to what would be the top selling flavors in the years to come, Boudjouk uses the past to frame his answers for the future. "The last five years have seen many changes in the coffee and tea flavor industry. Customers are more knowledgeable about flavors and are looking to understand the concept of enhancing coffee not overpowering it. Customers are experimenting with flavors to create unique and unusual products with quality and consistency of first and foremost importance.

In the year 2000, flavors will be smooth, buttery, rich and full-bodied and vanilla and nut flavors will be the base then. Whatever the market demands at that time, we will supply."
COPYRIGHT 1995 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:part 1
Author:Sturdivant, Shea
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1995
Previous Article:Panama.
Next Article:Still sweet on syrups.

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