Ingredient Hot List: Botanicals

April 16, 2021
Consumer Ingredients Trends Innovation Botanicals
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Love for botanicals is moving beyond craft cocktails and into consumer products from alcoholic RTDs, energy drinks, yogurt and more. Even before COVID-19, people were seeking out botanical ingredients for their claimed health benefits, a trend that has only strengthened since the beginning of the pandemic. With a long history of being used in natural medicine, botanicals cater to consumers’ current push towards improved health and wellness and a wide range of tasty new product introductions have made it easy for consumers to implement into their diet. While botanicals shouldn’t be used in place of doctor-recommended treatments, their claimed benefits such as stress relief, immunity support, relaxation and more are enticing consumers. From the familiar to the undiscovered botanical ingredients and flavors, read on to find out what could be next for your brand.

Botanical Boom

The last year has brought unprecedented levels of uncertainty and stress to consumers’ lives, and interest in navigating those challenges looks to be front and center even after the pandemic ends. About 44% of U.S. adults say that mental wellbeing is a higher priority since the outbreak, coinciding with a better understanding of the synergy between mental and physical health . And it’s not only adults—according to Mintel, while stress is a universal phenomenon, today's youth are more open about feeling stressed or anxious than previous generations . Interest in products that both taste great and can aid with sleep, stress and energy is on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down.

A botanical is a plant or plant part that is claimed to have medicinal or therapeutic properties, flavor, and/or scent according to the National Institute of Health. Their claimed benefits can hit health need states from consumers, filling the gap for their heightened search for functional health and wellness products that taste great.
“The global botanical ingredients market size was estimated at USD 131.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.0% from 2020 to 2027.” - Grand View Research

Social Media Listening: 

  • 87% Positive Social Media Sentiment for Botanicals

  • 300,000+ Social Mentions in the past 2 years.

  • 64% Female Voice

Source: Net Base


Native to India, the vibrantly colored spice turmeric has been used for centuries to flavor food with its warm spice notes and provide health benefits. Rich in curcumin, turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Healthline also reports that it is claimed to “boost levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain ” and can lower the risk of heart disease.

Consumer Sentiment and Demographics

Turmeric is popular among all age groups, from Baby Boomers to Millennials , who used social media to propel the “golden milk” craze , an Instagram-friendly take on the traditional Ayurvedic brew of milk, turmeric, and other spices. Its combination of appealing color, unique flavor and well-known health benefits make it an easy sell to consumers across demographic lines.
“Rising consumer awareness regarding the underlying benefits of using curcumin along with consumer inclination for organically produced products should bolster its market size ...The food application segment [of global curcumin market share by application]… is expected to reach USD 52.0 Million by 2027 .” - Grand View Research

Products of Note:

Nature’s Path Organic Golden Turmeric Superfood Oatmeal contains coconut sugar, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and probiotics, which are known to support the immune health and blood sugar balancing functions of the body.

38% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Andean Dream Organic Penne Pasta with Turmeric is made with organic brown rice, quinoa and amaranth which are good sources of protein. It features turmeric which the manufacturer claims is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

29% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Vivo Live Magic Golden Turmeric Latte is made with Lion’s mane mushroom, ginger and cardamom. It includes 2g of turmeric per serving and black pepper to enhance the absorption of turmeric. | UK

Langers ImmunBoost 100% Juice Blend from Concentrate contains orange, lemon, ginger, turmeric, zinc and folic acid. It is described as a healthy refreshing juice featuring turmeric, which according to studies has high antioxidant power that stimulates the immune system.

42% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.


While most consumers may know hops as the main flavoring ingredient in beer, there’s much more to these functional flowers when it comes to product development. Hops are a nervine, meaning they soothe the nervous system. Many studies have shown them to have sedative and relaxing effects , and they also contain lupulones, which have been demonstrated to have value as an antidepressant . Findings from Oregon State also link hops to weight loss , while Persistence Market Research reports that one study links hops claimed benefits to alleviation of symptoms pertaining to menopause including hot flashes, anxiety, and night sweats .

Consumer Sentiment and Demographics

Promising findings in the categories of weight loss and menopause suggest that women will be a large part of the market for hops. In addition, the pandemic and an increased interest in health have led to more demand for non-alcoholic drinking options. Consumers are looking for drinks that taste like hops and have the added bonus of mellowing effects without the hangover . For non-beverage applications, the bitter taste of hops might be a challenge that can be mitigated with the addition of sweet or herbal flavors to balance it out.

Products of Note:

KeVita Master Brew Kombucha Blackberry Hops Kombucha is a no-alcoholic product that is crafted with billions of live probiotics, organic aids and finest ingredients. The lightly carbonated product claims to be bold, delicious, energizing and revitalizing to the core.

26% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

The Calm One Sparkling Hop Tea features a blend of chamomile flowers with the fruity aroma and flavor of citra hops. It is said to be refreshing beverage that contains no calories caffeine, gluten, GMOs, alcohol or added sugar.

19% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Hops & Pepper Pub Inspired Snack Nut Mix includes a unique blend of peanuts, rice crackers, pretzels and sesame sticks with the essence of barley and hops. It is said to be inspired by the tradition craft-brewers who develop flavors without precedent.

58% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Simple Truth Organic Nighttime Relaxation Herbal Tea contains passionflower, chamomile and hops and is said to be made from a unique herbal blend of high quality flowers, fruits, herbs and roots that provide relief of sleeplessness.

28% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Green Tea Extract 

A traditional East Asian beverage, green tea can range in flavor from light and floral to pungent and grassy. It’s a powerful source of antioxidants, and beyond that may have positive effects related to weight loss, brain health and heart health . Green tea is also rich in polyphenols, which help reduce inflammation, and EGCG , a natural antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage.

Consumer Sentiment and Demographics

Green tea enjoys widespread popularity across all age groups , but is growing quickly in the Millennial and Gen Z demographics. The Tea Association of the U.S.A. reports that 87% of Millennials drink tea, and Gen Z consumers report a distinct preference for green tea over black tea (38% vs 19%, respectively.)

Flavor opportunities for green tea products are varied, as 67% of Gen Z consumers reported enjoying “herbal” and “sweet” flavors, while 72% of Millennials preferred “fruity” and 64% preferred “herbal.” – Global Data 2019 Consumer Survey – U.S.

Products of Note:

Green Tea Kit Kat Wafers are said to be made with real green tea leaves. The product is halal certified and described as wafer fingers in green tea confectionery.

36% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Ethan’s Organic Energy Pineapple Aloe Dietary Supplement is said to provide a delicious smooth lift, balanced energy and focus without the weird chemical taste or crash. The organic and vegan product is made from clean caffeine from green tea guayusa, fruit juice and B vitamins.

24% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Poland Spring Sparkling Energy Water contains caffeine from green tea extract and electrolytes and is sweetened with agave. The product features a white peach flavor with other natural flavors.

30% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Pineapple and Coconut V8 Energy Beverage

V8 + Energy Pineapple and Coconut Flavored Beverage is said to contain 50% blend of four vegetable and fruit juices from concentrate with green tea extract and other natural flavors. The drink provides steady energy from green tea and one combined serving of fruits and vegetables per can.

45% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.


A common ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, the ginseng root comprises many different varieties, each of which has its own unique benefits. American ginseng is thought to help relax the body, while Asian ginseng is considered to be energizing. All types of ginseng contain ginsenosides and gintonin, complementary compounds that are said to provide health benefits including reduced inflammation, improved mental performance and an improved immune system . The strong, bitter flavor can create a challenge for consumer products, so ginseng often benefits from being combined with other, better-tasting botanicals.

Consumer Sentiment and Demographics

Ginseng is popular across demographics but its traditional preparation as an herbal tea could make it particularly appealing to the 25- to 34-year-old age bracket. Mintel reports that while 32% of U.S. adults seek out functional drinks that provide an energy boost, the number rises to 47% in the younger demographic.
“The global ginseng extracts market size was valued at USD 24.5 million in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3% from 2020 to 2027. An increase in consumer acceptance for Asian and oriental flavors and demand for Chinese herbal medicine are expected to boost the growth of the market over the forecast period .”  Grand View Research

Products of Note:

Mindright Bars contain functional ingredients claimed to reduce stress, improve mood and reduce fatigue. They include ashwagandha, ginseng, MCT oil and cordyceps that come in flavors such as blueberry almond and toasted coconut.   Photo Source: Mindright

Evian+ Raspberry & Ginseng Sparkling Water is described as a sparkling drink with naturally occurring minerals further enhanced with natural flavors, enriched with magnesium and zinc to support cognitive function. The range features a Raspberry and Ginseng flavor along with cucumber and mint, grapefruit and basil and lime and ginger.

Reign Inferno Jalapeno Strawberry Energy Drink contains 300mg natural caffeine and BCAA’s. It is formulated with thermogenic ingredients including ginseng extract, caffeine, l-carnitine, green tea extract and capsicum which are said to increase metabolic energy to produce heat which may burn calories in combination with exercise and a healthy diet.

29% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.


Found in many warm climates across the globe, the hibiscus flower’s vibrant red hue makes it instantly recognizable. Many cultures brew the bright petals into a tart, fruity-tasting tea, known as karkaday, agua de jamaica, and bissap, among other names. Hibiscus is rich in antioxidants, and Oprah Magazine reports that several studies have linked it to lowered blood pressure and lowered cholesterol.

Consumer Sentiment and Demographics

According to a report from Grand View Research, consumers are becoming familiar with the taste and benefits of hibiscus, leading to a rising popularity of the ingredient in herbal drinks and mixes and an increase in market growth . Hibiscus is already popular and sought-after in many global markets, which could also lead to increased popularity in the U.S. as multiculturalism becomes ever more prevalent, particularly in urban areas. The global hibiscus flower powder market size is expected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% from 2020 to 2027.

Products of Note:

Ruby Hibiscus Water contains zero calories and zero sugar and is said to be a water alternative that provides benefits such as antioxidants, vitamins and electrolytes. The product claims to be a super hydrator packed with vitamin c to boost immunity and antioxidants that are great for your skin.

Sunwink Immunity Berry Sparkling Herbal Tonic is said to be a clean and bubbly beverage with a touch a sweet. The product contains flavor and function from herbs including hibiscus extract, elderberry juice concentrate, ginger extract, cinnamon extract and more.

33% of consumers responded that they likely  or definitely would buy this product.

Dairy-Free Peach Hibiscus Flavor Almondmilk Yogurt contains billions of live and active probiotics to support gut health. The product is said to be an almondmilk yogurt alternative.

37% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Aduna Hibiscus Powder contains organic hibiscus sabdariffa powder and is 100% organic. The product is made from nutrient-rich petals of the hibiscus calyx which is said to be an ancient symbol of beauty and source of wellbeing. The mix can be added to beverages, shakes, yogurts or in baking for a tangy flavor similar to pomegranate or cranberry. | UK

The Takeaways

Many cultures have a long history of using botanicals for both their flavors and their functional benefits and as U.S. consumers become more health-conscious in the wake of COVID-19, many are seeking out more natural remedies to the stress and exhaustion caused by the pandemic. This provides a perfect opportunity for brands to step in with products that taste delicious and take advantage of botanicals’ natural benefits that are claimed to help consumers sleep, concentrate, and more. Where does your brand fit in?

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Sources in full report