As the warmth of spring lifts away our winter blues, we’re in search of seasonal culinary trends that are ready to brighten up our meals and refresh our palettes. Seasonality plays a large role in appealing to today’s younger generations. In their 2019 Flavor Consumer Trend Report, Technomic reported that 45% of younger consumers are more likely to try a new flavor if it featured seasonal ingredients. With that said, it’s time we looked at some of the flavors and ingredients set to start off the springtime trending.

SAVOR YOUR COCKTAILS WITH CYNAR
Mixologists are always finding innovative ways to use savory flavors for enjoyable imbibing. This spring, mixologists are stocking their bars with cynar. The botanic-forward Italian liqueur has made a resurgence on cocktail menus across the country for its distinct, invigorating flavor. Made from 13 herbs and plants including artichokes -- the beloved spring veggie for which the digestif is named -- cynar gives off a beautifully bittersweet flavor. When added to a cocktail, the result is a layered, complex profile. Stop by Pretty Ricky's in NYC for a Tommy Cueball, made with cynar, sweet vermouth, cold-brewed coffee, fresh grapefruit juice, and a pinch of salt.

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EASY TO LOVE LEGUMES
The snack industry has seen a boom in better-for-you (BFY) products, particularly in legume-based options. High in fiber and great sources of protein, legumes such as chickpeas and beans have proven to be tasty, nutritious and filling choices when it comes to snacking. Brands like California’s The Good Bean have transformed legumes into a portfolio of both sweet and savory snacks. From chocolate-covered chickpeas, to crispy citrus-flavored fava beans and peas, the products are addictingly delicious to the point that you’ll forget you’re even eating plants.

DRINK YOUR PLANTS
It’s no secret that the plant-based food market is booming -- the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) reported that the industry officially reached $5 billion in 2019. A popular section within the trending category is plant-based ready-to-drink beverages. With consumers’ desire for healthful products at a high, more brands are creating RTD beverages powered by flavorful super herbs, spices, and adaptogens, which are chock full of nutrients. Companies like California-based GoldThread have grabbed attention for their plant-based tonics, which focus on fueling health through Ayurvedic practices. Their brewed, bottled beverages utilize flavors including Turmeric, Ginger, Schisandra, Japanese Matcha, Elderberry, and Tulsi Leaf. This spring, brands should keep an eye out for an increase in herbal remedy-type drinks that are heavily focused on infusing plants for medicinal benefits without compromising flavor.

ASPARAGUS IS A MUST
Asparagus might be one of the most quintessential spring veggies. Their stalks are tender and earthy in flavor and can be easily cooked in a myriad of ways. Asparagus is a wonderfully versatile vegetable, allowing chefs a diverse range for cooking with it. Switch up the typical methods of preparation this spring by trying it as a tasty and gluten-free replacement for pasta, or chop it up alongside other veggies in a tabbouleh, such as in this recipe from Food & Wine.

RELATED: Spring Inspired Flavor Trends and the LTOs Backing Them Up

WATERMELON RADISH – THE EPITOME OF SPRING
The brilliantly bright watermelon radish is a perfect ingredient for springtime meals and cocktails. Chefs and mixologists are utilizing the easy-to-grow vegetable on their menus because it’s both rich in color and in vitamins and minerals. Watermelon radishes have a fresh and crisp flavor which makes it great for adding nutrients and a pop of color to nearly any type of dish. The striking, pink hues also make the vegetable a go-to seasonal garnish on cocktails.

AMPED-UP WATER
Forget everything you thought you knew about good ole’ H2O. There’s a new type of enriched water ready to flood the shelves of grocery stores, markets, and online shopping hubs. While enhanced and infused waters such as celery, watermelon, and cactus continue their momentum within the better-for-you beverage category, the newest talk about town is Hydrogen Water -- pure water infused with extra hydrogen molecules. The latest trendy drink is full of antioxidants and boasts health benefits such as increased athletic performance, reduction of inflammation and muscle fatigue, and more. RTD brands like HFactor and Dr. Perricone are gaining fast popularity amongst health, wellness, and fitness-minded folks.

ADDED SPICE OF SAFFRON
The highly expensive spice is known for its vibrant, red-hued threads, which are plucked from the flower called Saffron Crocus. As a culinary spice, saffron is a flavorful addition to Spanish cuisine such as paella, as well as many Indian dishes. Not only does the spice have a pungent, zingy flavor that’s great for a variety of meals, it has also proven to be rich in antioxidants. Recent studies have even shown that saffron’s properties could provide a variety of health benefits, such as improved sleep, mood, memory and focus. Armed with new knowledge of its health benefits, brands should prepare themselves for the expected rise in saffron-based products.

This series is backed by our Seasonality Initiative where we help our customers develop pipelines of new concepts and flavor ideas for the seasons and major occasions like the Spring season.

When most folks think of seasonality it’s normally in preparation of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall; but when consumers, more specifically foodies, think of seasonality it is usually in anticipation of pumpkin spice lattes or breast cancer pink cookies. At Symrise we are constantly looking for ways to innovate and that means going beyond the scope of normal. It also means not only looking for inspiration within, but outside of the box — our box being the food and beverage space.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about our initiative please contact us.

Images courtesy of Instagram (@prettyrickysbar, @drinkgoldthread and @hfactorwater).

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