GENEVA, SWITZERLAND- Firmenich announces Ginger and Yuzu as the two Flavors of the Year for 2021. Following an unprecedented year of uncertainty, they represent the world’s collective desire for strength and optimism: two superhero-like qualities characteristic of a super-root and a super-fruit. This is the ninth consecutive year that the company – known for its industry-leading consumer insights and trend forecasting capabilities – has cast its vote for the hottest food and beverage flavor.


“It was important that this year’s selection comprise wonderful, unique flavors, but also clearly reflect the real consumer shift we’ve seen,” said Emmanuel Butstraen, President, Taste & Beyond. “Our Firmenich Human Insights Covid surveys have revealed that people are looking for more than just great taste from their food and beverages during these times; they’re placing new-found importance on nutrition and wellbeing. This inspired us to choose two exciting flavors which can enhance both.”


“Like Pantone® Color of the Year, the decision to select our Flavors of the Year was based on emerging consumer signals,” said Mikel Cirkus, Global Creative Director, Foresight & Trenz, Firmenich. “Both ginger and yuzu have really gained global, cross-category momentum over the last two years and each of them, in their own right, is symbolic of the consumer’s desire for a sense of normalcy and healing.”


Flavor of the year Firmenich Innovation Insights

Firmenich’s own Flavor Knowledge Portal, built in in partnership with Mintel GNPD, transforms and leverages over a decade’s worth of data across millions of records on launched products to uncover patterns and trends around food and beverage innovation activity. From this tool, we see that even before Covid, food and beverage companies have been placing larger bets on these two super ingredients:


Ginger is incredibly popular, growing steadily in the past 10 years. Within three years, we predict many  new F&B Innovation launches could include ginger

– a truly extraordinary number. Ginger is growing globally, and while Hot Drinks is clearly its strongest category, it has recently taken center stage in categories as diverse as Soups, Ice creams, and Sweeteners. Firmenich’s SMI™ social media analytics shows the same steady growth, with worldwide searches for this super-root reaching an all-time high in the spring of 2020, following many years of a seasonal peak in winter, underscoring its inherent warming nature.


Yuzu, while clearly more niche in most markets (~1/10th the popularity of ginger in terms of today’s innovation worldwide launches), is accelerating rapidly in its innovation rate and in social media representation, particularly recently. In fact, Yuzu has more than doubled in its use in innovations over the past 5 years. Today, this super-fruit is most commonly seen in Beverage and Confection applications, particularly in Asia. However, lately it is showing up across categories, particularly in Savory meal roles, where it adds excitement and differentiation.


Global Head of Human Insights – Taste & Beyond, Jeff Schmoyer added: “Ginger, with its mottled grey peel and rhizome, is indicative of ‘root toughness’. People and societies have powered through the greyest of times, and just like a root being pulled from the earth, what emerges is considerable strength. Our strengths are matched by the unfailing optimism we have for the future, embodied by our second flavor, the yuzu fruit. The yuzu is an inviting yellow and citrus-fresh symbol of renewed hope.”

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