How Natural F&B Companies Can Incorporate Seasonal Flavors with Formulation Development

formulation development
Food and beverage companies are increasing their range of products that feature fall flavors.
Image source: Flickr CC user Mike Mozart

Fall has officially arrived! The leaves are changing color, there’s a chill in the air, and Halloween is just around the corner. But in addition to these notable characteristics, there is another way many mark the changing of the seasons: pumpkin spice lattes have made their way back onto coffee shop menus.

No doubt about it. Not only has the pumpkin spice flavor become analogous with autumn, it’s become ubiquitous. What began as a coffee phenomenon has moved into edibles.1 From donuts to cupcakes, pumpkin spice lovers can now get their fix in just about any food form. A friend of mine even tweeted a photo of pumpkin spice potato chips the other day.

Food and Beverage Companies Can Use Seasonal Offerings to Draw in Consumers

It’s not only about trying to meet an increasingly diverse consumer base or adventurous flavor palate anymore. Food and beverage firms can use seasonal inspirations to innovate their consumer offerings. Think about how strawberry flavors dominate during the summer and peppermint in the winter. Consumers invariably associate flavors with their respective seasons, so matching products to specific times of the year makes sense. By using fall flavors like caramel apples, pumpkin and candy corn as limited-time offerings, companies can bring excitement to store shelves.2

This rotating collection of flavors is a good strategy to take. It develops brand loyalty by keeping consumers coming back throughout the year in search of what’s next. If my favorite snack company released these delicious pumpkin cookies in the fall, what will they do for spring? People love novelty and it spurs excitement. Excited consumers spread the word. It’s a win-win situation for food and beverage companies.

Incorporating Seasonal Flavors into Healthy Offerings

For the health conscious, however, these seasonal food products might be things they simply need to ignore. Lattes, cupcakes and potato chips aren’t exactly known for their nutritional benefits. And while there’s certainly room for indulgences here and there, people who value all-natural, organic ingredients signify a relatively untapped market.

But imagine if your food and beverage firm could blend nutritional benefits and flavor innovation within a familiar snack? At least one company is hoping their product line of pumpkin cranberry, ginger and apple cinnamon tortilla chips will take off.3 I admit, those aren’t flavors I’d want to have every day, but I’d be interested in trying them at least once. They sound interesting and something most would never expect in a tortilla chip.

That’s the kind of attitude that food and beverage firms should anticipate when addressing new formulation development. Which flavors evoke the nostalgia associated with the upcoming season? What combinations pique consumers’ curiosity enough to encourage them to part with their hard-earned spending dollars?

To aid food companies with their seasonal product development, R&D firms should make use of a complete digital solution. Considering how many pumpkin spice flavored foods are available now, competition is tight and it grows more and more difficult to stand out. As a result, companies need to speed up the product development cycle while supporting innovation. After all, health foods boasting fall flavors may not be as ubiquitous as their snack food counterparts right now but that doesn’t mean it won’t change within the next year or two.

The BIOVIA Formulation Development Solution for CPG supports efficient workflows and innovation by incorporating everything into a digital platform. By moving away from a paper-based system, R&D firms can utilize the powerful features of a digital system such as the ability to search through past data within seconds, share information with collaborators no matter the time or place and mine existing experiments to minimize duplication and repetition. Whether it’s finding a new snack food to inject the ever-popular pumpkin spice flavor into or creating a new flavor combination to make health foods more appealingly novel, these features can support firms in their quest to develop delicious seasonal offerings. Contact us to learn more.

  1. “Hostess Introduces Fall-Flavored Line-up,” September 23, 2015, http://www.preparedfoods.com/articles/117026-hostess-introduces-fall-flavored-line-up
  2. “Slideshow: Fall flavors extend beyond pumpkin,” September 30, 2014, http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/New-Product-Launches/2014/09/Slideshow_Fall_flavors_extend.aspx?ID=%7B8255325B-2E0F-4921-8C2C-F8F95E6B004E%7D
  3. “Way Better Snacks brings Innovative Fall Flavors to Expo East,” September 17, 2015, http://www.potatopro.com/news/2015/way-better-snacks-brings-innovative-fall-flavors-expo-east

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