February 08, 2022 — With low- and non-alcoholic consumption expected to increase by 31% within two years as more people move towards healthier drinking choices, Synergy Flavors has developed a range of low and alcohol-free beverages containing bitters, fermented notes, gin, pink gin, aperitif and rum flavors.
The appetite for low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages for an indulgent experience without the negative consequences is gaining momentum. The space is ignited with innovations that replicate the same flavor profiles of caliber alcoholic beverages.
Synergy has layered its flavor profiles with extracts that infuse heat the same way a gin or whiskey provides a burning sensation. Specifically, scotch bonnet, chilli and peppercorns are infused to achieve this note.
Analytical Matching Tables
The botanical range has also expanded with new profiles such as sloe, dandelion, passionflower and juniper.
The company has created analytical pairing charts that show how flavors match key alcohol compounds. Pairing charts focus on tequila, rum, vodka, whiskey, and gin.
“Through our analysis, we can identify esters as key compounds in rum – these pair well with tropical fruit profiles like guava and passion fruit,” said Vicky Berry, European Business Development Manager at Synergy Flavors. FoodIngredientsFirst.
Spices and coffee work especially well with whiskey, as these pairings share the compound flavor of eugenol. Additionally, tea goes well with tequila made from ethyl acetate and isobutanol.
“The pairing charts allow low-to-none beverage makers to tap into flavors proven to work well in alcohol and bring the same level of innovation to alcohol alternatives,” says Berry.
Earlier this year, Synergy expanded and upgraded its R&D labs at its headquarters in Illinois, USA, to strengthen the company’s position in natural flavor creation and evolve standards for clean labeling.
Health and wellness drive market growth
Alcohol avoidance is becoming the norm for a growing minority of global consumers. According to a new report from Innova Market Insights, this is most evident among Gen Z consumers, with up to a third of consumers aged 18 to 25 reporting never consuming alcohol.
Market research claims that this trend is creating a whole new sub-category in the alcoholic beverage market. Young consumers are reluctant to turn their backs on the taste or sophistication of beer, wine and spirits in favor of traditional soft drinks. As a result, non-alcoholic choices are flooding shelves and concepts are becoming more appealing with plants in the NPD.
An FMCG survey shows that 69% of participants say they are health conscious and 57% feel they drink too much. Synergy notes that people also want to improve their sleep patterns related to alcohol consumption.
“There is this very strong health and wellness movement. It’s not as trendy to drink now, and there are several reasons for that, including the Instagram effect,” says Berry.
“These drinks have gotten better over time and I think there’s more choice. The industry’s emphasis on this has made these products more acceptable,” she says.
“We’ve seen him normalize without alcohol. It’s okay now not to drink. I think before, even if you look five years ago – if you said you weren’t drinking, people would have said why you weren’t drinking, whereas now it’s just seen as a choice. You don’t have to drink.
The majority of retail value is in non-alcoholic beer with £98m (US$133m) and £61m (US$83m) for wine alternatives. Alternatives to spirits occupy a smaller proportion of £12m (US$16m) and are currently seeing strong growth margins.
“It’s takeaway that’s going to focus more on that, so at the moment takeaway has around 5% market share, but it’s going to grow up to 10.5% by 2026” , explains Berry.
Provenance and premiumization
Building on its Italian heritage, Synergy has expanded its Italian-sourced citrus extracts with more soluble versions of Sicilian Orange and Sicilian Mandarin.
“Premiumization is key in the low-alcohol and alcohol-free market, and our extracts allow manufacturers to claim provenance while maintaining the clarity and flavor impact desired in their beverages,” says Giorgio Ferluga, Director technique of Synergy Flavors Italy.
Natural Rhubarb, a strong flavor profile in gin, is a new addition to Synergy’s Inspiring Fruits range. Rhubarb can be combined with the existing flavors of blackcurrant, peach, strawberry, raspberry, pear and morello cherry.
Inspiring Fruits is a collection of fruit essences and natural flavors that offer manufacturers a range of natural solutions suitable for various F&B applications, including tapping into the seltzer water boom and offering a category of ready to drink more naturally.
“Natural taste and positioning are key in developing beverages for this market – consumers are increasingly discerning and demanding, expecting alcohol alternatives to taste the same and contain natural ingredients. “, explains Berry.
By Inga de Jong
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