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From Season to Reason: The Expansion of Sweet Spices

Pumpkin spice latte. Spiced cider. There’s a reason there’s a season for sweet spices – or at least there used to be. But the love of everything-spiced is bringing about new ways of adding what have historically been fall and winter flavors to applications all year round.

At the heart of it, spiced flavor profiles are more than about taste. They’re more than a mood. They’re about identity. Brave “basics” unabashedly claiming their love of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte season, followed by the words, “fight me.” Others seeking solace from the complexities of adulthood with the taste of that apple cinnamon cider from childhood. Still others, in their quest for full body health every day of the year, rely on spices like turmeric for their nod to medicinal and therapeutic properties.

Expanding the use of sweet spices isn’t just a way to engage current beverage consumers, though. Brands that are looking to stand out to new consumers in an increasingly flavor-diverse market ought to reach for new ways of enticing them, yes? Spicing things up adds a premium, decadent feel to the typical; vanilla is just that – but vanilla anise? That stands out.

Formulators who understand this about their consumers are poised to lead the way in breaking sweet spices out of their regulated season and give consumers a reason to indulge any day of the year. And we’ve got the inspiration – and the ingredients – to help you get there. Here are just a few product concepts that we’re using to spice up the market:

Apple Cider Chai Kombucha

Sweet apple pie meets spicy chai meets tart kombucha for a flavor combination that is as surprising as it is delicious to every part of our taste buds.  

Cinna-Citrus Peel Green Tea

Refreshing. Tart. Full of cinnamon fragrance. The Cinna-Citrus Peel Green Tea can warm your soul in the dead of winter or, with a few ice cubes, cool you down on the hottest summer day.

Chai Gingersnap

Crisp, zesty, and just the right amount of ginger and chai, this flavor profile fits anything from a holiday cookie to a springtime bubbly.

Cardamom Fog

With the perfect blend of deep, earthy earl grey and light, sweet lavender, this flavor profile pairs with the typical teas. Or take to it to the summer with a delicious, high-end ice cream treat.

Maple-Spiced Matcha

Here again we see an earthier flavor of matcha balanced by a light, sweet touch – but the maple takes it up a notch with added richness. Throw in some caramel and coconut, and you have a treat made for warmer days, too.

Liquid Gold Latte

A combo of smoky maple, sweet honey, and warm turmeric – liquid gold, indeed. Hot and cold beverages would benefit from a flavor profile so tantalizing.

Banana Nut Chai

Banana nut isn’t rich enough – it needs more complexity and earthiness to take it to unforgettable levels. Chai does just that, adding in a warm, cinna-like touch.

Spiced Fig Honey

Prickly pear, sugary fig, sweet honey, and tart apple come together to make an incredibly delicious, multi-layered flavor profile that works well in everything from spreads to beverages.

Cardamom Mocha Latte

If salt can go with caramel, it makes sense that the peppery cardamom pairs as well with the deep sweetness of mocha – it’s what foods and drinks you apply it to that make you stand out.

For those seeking an elevated or unique taste adventure, sweet spices fit the bill, pairing beautifully with fruits, floral botanicals, chocolate, coffee, and healthy or indulgent drinks alike. Move beyond the seasonal and dream up your next flavor inspiration with Virginia Dare