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Top flavors people want to try in 2022 to stop being so vanilla

Although chocolate and vanilla are crowd favorites, research reveals Americans are looking forward to these new flavors next year.

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Mom and daughter eating ice cream outdoors with a brick wall in the background

Chocolate and vanilla may be Americans’ go-to flavors, but many are planning to experiment with others in the new year, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 Americans looked at people’s flavor preferences and found that new trends are on the horizon, with 46% saying they’re interested in trying mint-chocolate flavored items, 36% being open to lemongrass-flavored foods, or hot honey (34%) in 2022.

Some are still behind on trying coffee (43%), tea (green, black, etc.) (38%), or citrus (35%) flavored products that were made popular this year. Others are looking to explore internationally, showing interest in flavors like mango (36%), red bean (31%) or teaberry (30%).

Conducted by OnePoll in partnership with Premier Protein, the study also revealed that flavors matter to those who want to maintain a healthy diet (82%). 

More than half of respondents (58%) don’t think healthy foods taste good in the first place, and nearly three-quarters (72%) said they’d eat healthier if their food tasted better. Most (76%) said they’d eat healthier if their food tasted like chocolate, their favorite ice cream (73%) or peanut butter (67%).

However, it hasn’t been easy for one in five Americans who admitted they struggle with eating healthy (21%). Surprisingly, 65% said they’d be more likely to consume healthier foods if they could drink them (like in a protein shake) instead of eating them (like in a salad).

“It’s our belief that maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your favorite flavors,” said Nick Stiritz, director of marketing at Premier Protein. “For example, in the last year we’ve seen how much the ‘proffee’ trend has taken off, combining ready-to-drink protein shakes with coffee. It’s a perfect example of how getting in a satisfying, protein-packed snack can deliver on the flavors people love.”

Three in five said that leading a healthy lifestyle has been challenging because they’re always tempted to eat sweet (54%) and salty (49%) foods.

More than half of Americans have a sweet tooth when cravings hit (56%), for treats like ice cream (42%) and cookies (40%) and others have trouble resisting their favorite savory foods like pizza (43%), pasta (40%) or french fries (39%).

Nearly two-thirds agree that their flavor preferences change throughout the day (63%). A similar number of people said sometimes their preferred flavors don’t go with the time of day, such as craving something sweet for lunch or a fruity snack before dinner (69%).

Eating healthy isn’t always a struggle, especially for the 73% who have been surprised by a healthy food tasting better than they thought it would, such as “veggie burgers,” “plant-based mac and cheese” or “cauliflower tater tots.”

People also have a love for fruits, taking four of five spots of most-enjoyed healthy foods: apples (58%), bananas (57%), oranges (55%) and blueberries (52%).

Savory, healthy options, including chicken (49%), beef (46%) and eggs (46%) rounded out the list.

Above all, flavor matters for 65% of people who prioritize the flavor of their food over its nutritional value.

“On a health journey, we know how important flavor and variety can be,” said Stiritz. “That’s what inspires our innovation pipeline, choices that are both great-tasting and nutritious. With tons of flavor options that taste like everything from your favorite breakfast treat to an indulgent dessert, we hope to help people fight flavor fatigue, so they can stay focused on reaching their health goals.” 

FLAVOR TRENDS PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2022

  1. Chocolate mint - 46%
  2. Lemongrass - 36%
  3. Plant milks (oat, pistachio, buckwheat, etc.) - 34%
  4. Hot honey - 34%
  5. Mushroom - 33%

INTERESTING INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS

  1. Mango - 36%
  2. Red bean - 31%
  3. Teaberry - 30%
  4. Black sugar - 26%
  5. Matcha - 24%

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