2023 Trends: Flavors for Next Year

Continuing our 2023 trends series is an article from Monin highlighting the top five flavor trends to expect in the New Year! Missed our other trends pieces? Go back and read predictions from Technomic, a look at the holidays and beyond, af&co./Carbonate's Hospitality Trends Report, and a look at what's on the horizon for the on-premise.

flavor trends 2023

Monin Americas, an award-winning premium flavoring company with over 100 years of experience, has announced its 2023 flavor trends. After extensive industry research, the brand has identified five macro trends expected to inspire food and beverage menus this year.

Monin’s 2023 Flavor Trends were identified by an internal, full-time team of Monin Consumer Insight Specialists, Beverage Innovation Directors, Chefs and Flavor Scientists. Every year, this team conducts an in-depth analysis that involves the compilation of information from four key areas: leading data partners, proprietary and secondary research, industry insights and customer data points. From this they recognize and track rising trends and concepts anticipated to see increased visibility across menus around the world. In addition, Monin layers in an “eye to the street” approach. which includes frequent, global market excursions and collaborating with Monin beverage developers located around the world.

“This year, beverage and culinary preferences will be dominated by how flavors, composition and presentation make consumers feel,” says Brian Loukmas, Vice President of Innovation at Monin Americas. “While some patrons will look for new, modern offerings that excite them, others will continue craving feelings of nostalgia and all-around functional options popularized in 2021.”

1. Sensory Takeover

Heightening all senses with eye-catching and emotion-evoking experiences is becoming more prevalent in restaurant and bar presentations. Incorporating textures, movements and even theatrical components—bubbles, outrageous ice shapes, tapioca pearls, dust and smoke—will become more mainstream and help elevate menu offerings. Adding vibrant color to beverage concepts by using bright and sweet flavors will anchor this trend and are a quick and easy way of making each dining experience a moment to be savored. Intensifying the impact of key flavor ingredients that satisfy our core tastes—salty, sour, sweet—will amplify the experience. In addition, restaurants and coffeehouses will continue enhancing their ambience by adding greenery, vibrant signs and murals, deliberately creating picturesque and immersive spaces for people to not only share what they ordered, but also to capture enticing, experiential moments.

2. ‘Better’ Matters

Gen Z is known for their deep care for others, their communities and the earth. The notion of “being better” spans from wellness to sustainability and is quickly being woven into industries worldwide. Companies across all industries are aware of the health-conscious mindset, but brands and operators should broaden their thinking to go beyond consumption alone. Yes, low/no ABV and functional beverages will continue to interest patrons, but notice the importance of ecofriendly choices, community involvement and charitable efforts to take precedence. From packaging and ingredient sourcing to non-consumables, consumers are attuned to operator choices that influence their decision making and subsequent spending. Ingredients that have a positive perception halo such as those with antioxidant properties and alternative sweeteners will see an upward trajectory. Similarly, claims of plant-based and functional benefits will continue to grow in popularity. On the beverage front, look for zero-proof craft cocktails that capture an authentic spirit flavor without alcohol to show up on more menus nationwide.

Brands with a “better for you, your community and the earth” mentality, both with their products and with their actions, will be well positioned as this movement rolls on. In an effort to reduce waste and protect local ecosystems, Monin has implemented its Syrup-to-Bees initiative. Since 2008, Monin has been recycling syrup from its U.S. Headquarters and sending overages to local bee farmers to help feed honeybee colonies during shortages of nectar-producing flowers. Monin expanded its partner network for this program in 2022 by adding six new partners and looks to continue doing so in the coming year.

3. Simple Joy

As we move into 2023, people are discovering the importance and simple joy of activities that promote a deeper connection with each other. Gathering for a meal or enjoying a drink with friends are essentially centered around experiencing flavors and creating a memorable experience together. Operators can find ways to help create joy for their guests by weaving in elements of surprise and delight, nostalgia and familiar with a twist. Simple yet impactful ideas such as taking a cocktail tableside or incorporating unusual ingredients should be considered. “Simple joys” that fit your brand and can be delivered consistently will quickly distinguish brands from their competition. Finding ways to spread joy and connect with customers will equate to positive experiences that lead to customer frequency and loyalty.

4. Brew-tiful Blends

Coffee shop in Amsterdam
(Photo by Enjoylife2/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Coffeehouses and restaurants will satisfy sophisticated palates by showcasing new, inventive beverage blends and prep methods, especially in coffees and teas. Like nitro brews, expect new innovative coffee preparations such as flash brews and snapchills to become increasingly mainstream and elevate brewing in the marketplace.

Teas are expanding into multiple dayparts with boba teas staying on trend, along with milk teas, matcha, and kombucha holding patrons’ attention—operators should continue to innovate with these brews to create new experiences.

Additionally, non-traditional hybrid beverage blends such as brewed tea in cocktails, coffee with soda and hard lattes are continuing to emerge on menus. Expect spirits, especially tequila, to be used across all cocktail types and in unexpected ways.

Concepts such as tequila old fashioneds, bourbon mules and tequila negronis are examples of spirit and cocktail hybridizations that will set menus apart from the rest. 

5. Spice Heist

Things are heating up! More than 80% of consumers enjoy hot and spicy foods, and over half say they eat spicy foods at least once a week. Spicy flavors from all over the world continue to heat up U.S. beverage and culinary menus, from Tajín spicy margaritas and hot honey ciders to gochujang kimchi and five-spice salmon. Anticipate an increase in the assortment of heat levels and types including sweet heat, exotic peppers, and spicy flavors from around the globe. Peppers like jalapeno, serrano, guajillo, hatch and Calabrian will increase in popularity, opening the door for more exotic peppers and chiles to appear on menus.

Stepping out onto the global stage, operators can absolutely expect more exotic spices to revolutionize menus as well. Far East, Mediterranean and Asian influences will continue to play a large role in spicing up food and beverage innovation. As consumers venture out looking for an adventurous experience that tests their taste buds, the desire for bold spicy flavors will continue to heat up!


Plan to Attend or Participate in Bar & Restaurant Expo, March 27-29, 2023

To learn about the latest trends, issues and hot topics, and to experience and taste the best products within the bar, restaurant and hospitality industry, plan to attend Bar & Restaurant Expo, March 27-29, 2023 in Las Vegas. Visit BarandRestaurantExpo.com.

To book your sponsorship or exhibit space at Bar & Restaurant Expo, contact:

Veronica Gonnello ​(for companies A to G)​ e: [email protected]​ p: 212-895-8244

​Tim Schultz​ (for companies H to Q) ​e: [email protected]​ p: 917-258-8589

Fadi Alsayegh ​(for companies R to Z)​ e: [email protected] p: 917-258-5174​

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