Study says consumers associate botanicals with positive emotions

Kerry surveyed over 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa to discover attitudes towards more than 55 botanicals

Consumer research from Kerry, a taste and nutrition company, has indicated consumers associate energy, excitement, creativity and fun with botanical extracts. The research, which evaluated the perceived benefits consumers derive from consuming botanical food and beverages, examined 44 emotions consumers associate with botanical extracts.

There was a 46% increase in beverages containing botanical extracts between 2017 and last year. The global market for botanical beverages and foods is expected to reach $1,489.3bn by 2025. A range of flavours and ingredients are associated with botanicals including herbs (e.g. mint, rosemary and thyme), roots and barks (turmeric, cinnamon and ginger), plants and trees (e.g. aloevera, coconut tree) and flowers (e.g. rose, chamomile and hibiscus).

Kerry surveyed over 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa to discover attitudes towards more than 55 botanicals.

The research shows botanical flavours connect with consumers on a highly positive level, Kerry says, beyond flavour and taste. Consumers reportedly think about botanicals as being energetic, interesting, useful, trustworthy and safe. For example, a beverage with guarana, ginseng and ginger can carry a similar connotation of ‘energy’ as a coffee or energy drink would to the consumer. Meanwhile, the company found, ingredients such as saffron, bergamot and honey are considered premium.

Commenting on the research, Leigh-Anne Vaughan, Global Taste Marketing Director said: “The link between taste and emotions is widely accepted by experts. Botanical flavours connect with consumers at a very positive level, beyond flavour and taste, and our research shows that these flavours appeal to over 97% of consumers globally. Negative emotions such as repulsive, boring, disappointing were the least suggestive of botanicals.”

“In a very busy marketplace, brands are constantly attempting to stand out and interestingly 87% of consumers say that botanicals provide a unique taste experience. Meanwhile, according to Innova research, the use of botanicals in front of pack will result in a 23% price premium. Formulating with botanicals can certainly win consumer hearts, especially by using top appealing flavours such as mint, honey and cinnamon. Manufacturers should emphasize the link between botanical flavour, their corresponding emotions and health benefits they evoke to create flavours that meet consumers’ daypart and occasion needs. These insights can be leveraged to connect with consumers to deliver a stronger taste experience in food and beverages and aid in product development,” said Vaughan.

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