Seasonal Flavors: Trends of Spring

June 17, 2021
Spring Trends Innovation Seasonal
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Known as a season of new beginnings and fresh starts, the spring season as it relates to the food and beverage industry is no different. Consumers look forward to innovative seasonal and limited-edition products each year that feature exciting new flavors, formats and collaborations. And though chocolate confectionery and sweet desserts commonly dominate this space, product developers can find opportunity in the seasonal and LTO space cross-category. From spicy chicken sandwich chips to iced coffee flavored jelly beans, let’s take a look at the trending seasonal products and flavors for spring, and see where you can find inspiration for your brand.

Spring's Top Flavors In: Seasonal & LTO's

Top Flavors by Number of Releases

North America, Spring 2021

Peanut butter








Fastest Growing Flavors: Globally

Seasonal & Limited-Edition Products, Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2021

Scallop +900%

Onion +500%

Taro/Cocoyam +500%

Chai (Masala/Spice) +400%

Corn/Sweetcorn +400%

Rice +400%

Fastest Growing Flavors: North America

Seasonal & Limited-Edition Products, Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2021

Watermelon + 200%

Brownie +200%

Cocoa/Cacao +200%

Chili/Chili Pepper +200%

Coffee +200%

Mint +150%
“Excitement around seasonal items has grown during the pandemic, with new spins on familiar favorites and limited-edition flavors giving consumers the means to break the monotony.” – Food Business News

Top Sellers In Seasonal & LTO

From indulgent confectionery to spicy snacks and spring inspired beverages, popular seasonal sellers varied cross-category. It’s no surprise that chocolate confectionery bloomed in this space this season, but innovation is abundant in all food and beverage categories. Let’s take a look.

Top Categories – Global

  • Chocolate Confectionery
  • Bakery
  • Snacks
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Dairy

Top Sellers – IRIS

  • Kit Kat Key Lime Pie Crisp Wafers
  • Red Bull Dragon Fruit Energy Drink
  • Old Bay Hot Sauce
  • Strawberry Ice Cream Cone Hershey Kisses
  • PB & Jam’s Lager
  • Fruity Pebbles Cereal ‘n Candy Bunny
  • Hershey Kisses Blossom Cookie Kit
  • Oreo Strawberry Frosted Donut Cookies
  • Moa Burger Potato Chips
  • Sweet Spring Premium Sandwich Cookie Kit
  • Starbucks Honey & Madagascar Vanilla Ground Coffee
  • Starbucks Spring Day Blend Ground Coffee

Holiday Inspired Treats

Of course, the spring season brought lots of holiday inspired treats including Easter chocolates and St. Patrick’s day desserts. And as COVID influenced consumers’ holiday celebrations, brands now search for ways to continue holiday favorites year-round to reclaim lost celebrations.

Products of Note:

Ferrara Royal Dansk Love Spring Cookie Collection features salted caramel, vanilla and lemon lavender flavors. The company is aiming to reposition their Butter Cookies for everyday enjoyment throughout the year”

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

Pepsi x Peeps is a limited-time flavor Pepsi x Peeps soft-drink that is not sold in stores. The product was awarded as prizes in a social media contest ”showcasing photos of people having socially distant springtime fun.”

Dunkin’ Iced Coffee Jelly Beans feature a mix of jelly beans in five flavors inspired by their iced coffee flavors including French Vanilla, Hazelnut, Caramel Latte, Butter Pecan and Toasted Coconut. They can be purchased in-store at Walgreens and RiteAid for a limited time.

Reese’s Marshmallow-Top Peanut Butter Cups released for Easter 2021. The candy features a mallow-top with milk chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallow flavored crème.

48% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product

M&M’s Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches were added to Mars’ ice cream sandwich lineup to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The sandwich features mint flavored ice cream between two chocolate cookies with M&M’s Minis.
“As fear around COVID-19 begins to lift, there will be opportunities to show consumers how food and drink traditionally tied to certain holidays can be enjoyed any time of the year, and specifically as consumers celebrate the holidays they have missed at different times of year.” - Mintel

Seasonal Celebrations:

  • 33 million people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year
  • In 2020, consumers spent approximately $6.1 billion on St Patrick’s Day
  • Of those who celebrate Easter, 87% enjoy Easter-themed seasonal chocolate and candy

Time to Indulge

Decadence and indulgence took the cake this spring. New product launches catered to consumers interest for comfort and nostalgic flavors from chocolate cake to retro cereals and fast food chain inspired seltzers.

Products of Note:

Blue Bell Chocolate Sheet Cake Ice Cream features chocolate ice cream mixed with chocolate sheet cake pieces, chopped pecans and a chocolate icing swirl. The product is available for a limited time along with another flavor, Southern Blackberry Cobbler.

Fruity Pebbles Cereal ‘n Candy Bunny released for Easter 2021 and is made with Post Fruity Pebbles. The kosher candy product is made in an Easter bunny shape.

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

General Mills Space Jam A New Legacy Cereal is a limited edition cereal featuring a berry flavored corn puff cereal with Bugs Bunny and basketball marshmallows. The company also released a Ghostbusters: Afterlife cereal.

Sonic Hard Seltzer will release two four-flavor variety seltzer packs. Sonic- Drive in will release flavors including lemon berry, classic lemonade, original limeade, ocean water, orange pineapple, mango guava and melon medley. The flavors are based on Slush flavors that the fast food chain offers.
“At-home indulgences are providing an out-of-home experience. Categories like ice cream and frozen novelties are contributing to the growth of overall snacking.” - Sally Lyons Wyatt, EVP of client insights at Chicago-based IRI; Progressive Grocer

Flavor Highlights- Watermelon, Strawberry & Spice

Watermelon, strawberry, and spice were just a few trending flavors that made their appearance this spring. Let’s take a look at this season’s innovative launches that are pushing these flavor boundaries.

Flavor Growth Stats

Strawberry: A Top Flavor in Seasonal & LTO; North America, Spring 2020

Watermelon:  A Fastest Growing Flavor; North America, Seasonal & Limited-Edition Products, Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2021 – 200% Growth

Chile/ Chille Pepper: A Fastest Growing Flavor; North America, Seasonal & Limited-Edition Products, Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2021 – 200% Growth

Products of Note:

Strawberry Ice Cream Cone Hershey’s Kisses comprises strawberry flavored crème and cookies with other natural flavors. The limited-edition product is available for spring and summertime.

47% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Mtn Dew Major Melon Melon features a watermelon flavor and a bright pink color. PepsiCo added the drink as a permanent flavor to the Mtn Dew line, stating the flavor of watermelon evokes feelings of nostalgia and freedom

Sour Patch Watermelon Flavored Jelly Beans were available for Easter 2021. The artificially flavored product is said to be sour then sweet with a watermelon flavor.

40% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product

Old Bay Hot Sauce is available in a limited edition 10-fl. Oz. pack. The product can be used with wings, beverages or seafood for game day, brunch and happy hour.

40% of consumers responded that they likely or definitely would buy this product.

Pringles Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Flavored Chips are a limited-edition offering that is inspired by the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Following the enthusiasm for fast food chicken sandwiches, the companies paired to duplicate into a single-bite product.

The Takeaways

This season’s product launches and offerings featured holiday themed classics and innovative spring releases. New spins on familiar favorites and limited-edition flavors have intrigued consumers who are looking for a break from the monotony of the past year. And while some search to indulge in nostalgic sweets and snacks, others hope to reclaim the holiday celebrations they may have missed out on during the pandemic. Innovation in seasonal products and LTOs featured exciting flavors from strawberry ice cream to cherry limeade, spicy chicken and more. Many of these flavors will inspire innovation for the upcoming months, so the question is, how can these spring innovations inspire your summer product developments and beyond?

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Sources in full report