Taro, tiramisu, or pitaya protein? Synergy shares sports nutrition flavor trends in Latin America

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / JackF
Getty Images / JackF

Related tags Sports nutrition Sports drink Protein pre-workout

If you want to stand out in the sports nutrition space, betting on chocolate and vanilla alone won’t cut it anymore. Here’s a list of up-and-coming flavor trends in Latin America:

Illinois-based flavor company Synergy Flavors​ researched and mapped out the rising stars of flavors for sports nutrition products in Latin America.

They gathered insights from industry experts and then benchmarked the input against quantitative data like product launches and global search trends.

They crunched all that data down to come up with the new ‘Flavors of the Future’ hot list, which the company released recently. (You can download the full report HERE​).

In sum, Synergy Flavors identified new and upcoming ingredients that are being used by chefs in their restaurants and evaluated the applicability of those in sports nutrition.

“The research results have been fascinating and using them as a guide, we aim to help product manufacturers seize the opportunity to be pioneers in flavor development and stay ahead of the game in the ever-evolving sports nutrition market,”​ said Alexandre Massumoto, marketing research lead at Synergy Flavors.

"Our Flavors of the Future research was a journey of discovery, going well beyond a typical research project to represent an in-depth analysis of the trends that will captivate the sports nutrition market in the near and longer term future – some of which are so novel to the market that those product manufacturers that are considering them are true trendsetters.”

Citing data from market and consumer research firm Mintel, 75% of consumers say flavor is the main influencer when purchasing a sports nutrition product.

Here’s a selection of emerging, growing, mainstream, and established flavors for the Latin American sports nutrition market, as collected by Synergy Flavors:

Emerging: Taro

Taro Bubble Tea Flavor GettyImages-523043582
Getty Images / bhofak2

An ‘emerging’ flavor as defined by Synergy is one that is “ahead of the curve, new to consumers and generally too novel to be on menus.”

While the purple root vegetable known as taro has been a staple flavor for many desserts in Asia, Synergy’s trend forecasters pegged it as an emerging trend for Latin America.

Described as a blend of nutty and earthy, the taro flavor is “currently bubbling under the surface, but it’s perfectly poised to build on the current trend for purple,” ​according to the report, referring to the photogenic pop of color this flavor imparts on food and beverages.

In Mexico, product development using taro includes Starbucks’ Paradise Frappuccino and a yogurt popsicle by Nutrisa.

Growing: Pitaya

Pitaya Dragon Fruit ThaiTu GettyImages-625240396
Getty Images / ThaiThu

This cactus fruit indigenous to Central and South America was classified as a ‘growing’ flavor in the region because it is starting to appear in food products with potential to mainstream in the near future.

Synergy’s data noted that Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Costa Rica were the top three countries with strongest consumer interest. Additionally, product launches featuring pitaya flavor increased by 500% between Q3 and Q4 of 2017.

In Brazil, energy drink brand Viva Smart Nutrition launched a pitaya and cupuaçu flavored variety.

Its taste is described as a faint, subtle sweet, a combination of an earthy watermelon with pear or kiwi notes, “which means it offers great opportunities for pairing with stronger more distinct flavors,” ​according to the report.

Mainstream: Tiramisu

Tiramisu as a flavor for non-tiramisu things (like yogurt or jelly beans or ice cream) is more easily found in many Latin American countries compared to their North American neighbors.

As a mainstream flavor, Synergy’s forecasters said that the tiramisu flavor is “Regarded as normal or conventional in a segment and poised to work in sports nutrition applications.”

The flavor is a rich, layered one with strong notes of coffee, cocoa, cream, and brandy.

Tiramisu Lilechka75 GettyImages-893123294
Getty Images / Lilechka75

Established: Tres Leches

This flavor, named after the dense and moist ‘three milks’ cake has entered the realm of an ‘established flavor’ which means it has potential for global appeal.

It is extremely popular and regarded as a staple in Central America, with Synergy noticing an increased interest in other regions where Latin American culture is influent.

For example, US brand Lala Craveables has launched RTD yogurt smoothies containing 5 g of protein each in this flavor.

Tres Leches Cake Dessert mraoraor GettyImages-949103914
Getty Images / mraoraor

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