Kerry has released research uncovering the psychology behind consumers’ botanical preferences and perceived benefits, according to a press release. The research examined 44 emotions that consumers associate with botanical extracts.

Between 2017 and 2020, botanical use in beverages rose 46%. The global market for botanical beverages and foods is expected to reach 1,489 billion by 2025, the press release states. This includes herbs, roots and barks, plants and trees, and flowers.

Kerry surveyed over 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Africa to discover attitudes towards over 55 botanicals. The research found that consumers think of botanicals as being energetic, interesting, useful, trustworthy, and safe. For example, a drink containing guarana, ginseng, and ginger can have the same ‘energy’ connotation as a coffee or energy drink would. Ingredients such as saffron, bergamot, and honey are considered premium.

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Kerry’s Global Taste Marketing Director, Leigh-Anne Vaughan, said in the press release: “The link between taste and emotions is widely accepted by experts. Botanical flavors connect with consumers at a very positive level, beyond flavor 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.”

The research highlights opportunities for product development, according to the press release. The full report can bedownloaded here.

“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,” Vaughan said. “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 flavors such as mint, honey and cinnamon. Manufacturers should emphasize the link between botanical flavor, their corresponding emotions and health benefits they evoke to create flavors that meet consumers’ 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.”