Consumers crave novel flavors, heat, and unusual texture, survey finds


Consumers want new and experimental flavors that push the boundaries of sensory appeal, writes market researcher FMCG Gurus.

Photo from FMCG Gurus

When it comes to food and drink flavors, consumers are more difficult than ever to impress because of the amount of choice they are exposed to. As such, it is crucial that flavors are not only seen as appealing but create some sense of excitement among consumers. Brands should push the boundaries of sensory appeal by continuing to launch products with new and innovative flavors. The goal, when applicable, is to see these unusual flavors combined with novel textures and colors to create a truly unique consumption experience.


Consumers Say They Want Adventure

Many consumers say they like food and drink products that push the boundaries of indulgence and challenge their sensory perceptions. Many not only deem themselves more experimental but also consider an adventurous attitude toward food and drink to be a form of self-expression. Indeed, consumers deem themselves more open-minded and liberal in their tastes than previous generations and want products that project these desirable attributes to their wider social circle. They want experimental food and drinks with new and novel flavors.

Our market research firm, FMCG Gurus, conducted research in 25,000 consumers in Q1 2019 showing that 57% of those surveyed like new and novel flavors. Overall, younger adults are more likely to appreciate such flavors. Additionally, a total of 42% deemed themselves to be adventurous when it comes to food and drink, and 72% said that in the last five years they have become more experimental when it comes to food and drink.


Spicing It Up

When it comes to the types of flavors that consumers enjoy, a total of 65% of consumers surveyed said they like hot and spicy flavors. Over the last decade, in fact, there has been growing interest in food and drinks that push the boundaries of heat. Part of the reason for this is perhaps because, unlike previous generations, today’s consumers were exposed to exotic food and drink at a younger age. Some consumers also want to demonstrate to their peers that they can “handle” hot and spicy flavors.


Don’t Forget about Texture

At a time when consumers are becoming more experimental, there is an opportunity for brands and products to continue to push consumers’ sensory perceptions. For instance, a total of 42% of consumers that we surveyed across the globe said that they like products with new and novel textures, while 52% said they like new and unusual colors.

At a time when consumers are becoming more demanding than ever before, there is an opportunity to combine new and novel flavors with unusual textures and colors to truly wow consumers. For instance, brands can look to offer sweet flavors in typically savory categories, or vice versa by introducing new flavors from around the world and continuing to push the boundaries of heat.


This report is based on a survey of 25,000 consumers conducted in Q1 2019.

About the Author

Mike Hughes is head of research and insight at market research firm FMCG Gurus (United Kingdom; For more information, please contact FMCG Gurus at

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