Citrus Flavors Create New Flavor Opportunities

March 17, 2021


In the U.S., flavors such as Orange, Lemon, and Lime have been some of the most used flavors in food, beverage, and nutrition applications for a long time. Today, the Citrus category remains king in these applications, driven by growth in alternative Citrus flavored products.

Consumer Preferences

A recent report from Mintel titled, “Trending Flavors and Ingredients in Non-Alcoholic Beverages – US” confirmed that Citrus is the most preferred flavor profile in the US, as consumers prioritize “fresher” fruit flavors over those with overt sweetness.  In fact, looking at soft drink launches in the US using data from Innova Market Insights, we can see that Lemon, Orange, and Lemonade were three of the top five flavors for new product launches in 2020. The large amount of Citrus flavors seen in 2020 was also helped by the increase in immunity products that were launched into the market. Consumers generally associate Citrus flavors with Vitamin C, which was used in many of the new immunity products that were created due to consumers increasing interest in immune health. 

Global Influence

Even though Citrus has been a popular flavor category in the US for a long time, there are some flavors in the category that have been popular globally, but are just recently making an impression in the US. A good example of this trend is the introduction of Yuzu into US Food, Beverage, and Nutrition applications. According to data gathered from Innova Market Insights, new US products launches with a Yuzu flavor have grown over 400% since 2015! In addition, Yuzu has been seen on over 10% more restaurant menus during this time period. Another Citrus fruit that isn’t as popular as Yuzu yet, but is on the rise is Pomelo. According to Datassential, Pomelo is found on less than 1% of US restaurant menus, but mentions of the fruit have increase 46% over the past 4 years. 

Product Launch Trends

As previously stated, Orange and Lemon were some of the top flavors launched in 2020, but overall they have been trending down since 2018. It has been other flavors such as Clementine and Yuzu rising in popularity that have kept the Citrus category the number 1 preferred flavor for consumers. The below chart compares some of the fastest growing Citrus flavors, looking at Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the past 5 years.

Flavor   CAGR (2015 - 2020)
Clementine 47.58% 
Pomelo 40.63%
Yuzu 38.58%
Grapefruit 28.20%
Blood Orange 19.14%
Citrus 11.43%
Key Lime 4.94%
Tangerine 4.22%
Citrus Flavor CAGR, Past 5 Years 

Moving forward we expect Citrus to remain a strong category for flavor innovation in new products, backed by a global influence and lesser-known flavors making their way into the American mainstream. The curious consumer and discovery trends will keep pushing brands to experiment with these newer flavors.


Do you have an idea for the next great Citrus flavor? Get in touch with our flavor experts and see how Prinova can help make your idea a reality!