After spending the last two years at home under the stress of COVID-19 lockdowns, consumers are ready to have some fun. Robertet Consumer Insights recently found that 79 percent of consumers want to try something new, and the National Restaurant Association reported that 51 percent of adults aren’t eating at restaurants as often as they’d like.
Many floral flavor profiles, already increasing in popularity before the pandemic, are poised to go mainstream. They represent the perfect storm of post-pandemic flavor trends. Comfortable and familiar food and beverages haven’t lost their appeal, but consumers also crave new twists on old favorites.
Second Cup Cafe, a specialty coffee shop franchise based in Canada, first added florals to the menu last summer in the form of hibiscus and rose flavors in a non-traditional coconut milk tea.
“We’re always looking for flavor innovations and ways to build menu excitement,” says Deena Nezirevic, senior manager of category and innovation at Second Cup Cafe. “Florals have been trending for a number of years. Specifically within beverage, we’re seeing florals growing in popularity—not just as garnishes, but incorporated into drinks in various applications.”
Florals have generated a lot of social media interest for Second Cup Cafe. “Whenever you post anything with florals to social media, people get really excited and want to check it out,” Nezirevic says. “Our franchisees and our baristas are always really eager to learn about new innovations, and they’re amazing ambassadors. They share in the excitement and spread the word to our guests. The word of mouth has been really positive.”
After seeing initial success with florals, Second Cup Cafe introduced new limited-time offerings for Valentine’s Day and the winter months: strawberry rose white chocolate lattes and hot chocolate. “What’s the perfect classic pairing for Valentine’s Day? Roses and chocolate,” Nezirevic says. “So we combined those as flavors, and it paired beautifully with espresso.”
Florals provide a memorable, fun experience for the tastebuds—and that’s why Nezirevic believes people are drawn to them. “Some people enjoy florals as part of the thrill of trying something totally new,” Nezirevic says. “Others are familiar with florals and enjoy trying them in new applications—espresso-based drinks, iced tea, sodas, or blended beverages. And, depending on someone’s cultural background, florals may have already been a part of their food traditions. Now they’re seeing florals appear on menus in different ways, and that might intrigue them.”
Restaurants have plenty of opportunities to experiment with adding florals to their beverage menus. Monin, for example, offers Lavender Lemon, Strawberry Rose, and Honey Jasmine floral blend syrups designed for coffees, teas, lemonades, sparkling waters, cocktails, and other concoctions.
“At Second Cup, we’ve had the greatest success pairing florals with familiar flavors,” Nezirevic says. “Some guests might feel florals are just a little bit outside of their comfort zone. So we decided to pair something that might feel a bit unusual or intriguing to someone with a flavor that is more popular and common. We’ve found that helps broaden the appeal and gain traction—guests want to break out of the ordinary in a safe way, and florals are a great answer to that. They’re very versatile, they pair well with a wide variety of flavors, and they’re just so fun to work with.”
To learn more about floral flavor trends, visit the Monin website.
By Kara Phelps