There really isn’t any other time quite like the holiday season. Every year, we look forward to the lights on the trees, our favorite songs on the radio, and, most importantly, the food. From office holiday parties with coworkers to Christmas dinner with the family and everything else in between, nothing brings us together like the tastes of the season.
This year is no exception. With perennial favorites and new decadent combinations you never knew you needed, we take a look at the flavors filling grocery baskets this winter.
“I think across the board, you can break holiday flavors into two camps: the nostalgic and the luxurious. From a consumer perspective, though, it often starts with leaning into the comfort of the classics,” says Anne Druschitz, Edlong’s Corporate Research Chef.
While these festive favorites stand well on their own, developers continue to gift shoppers with new and innovative surprises to keep them coming back for more.
Winter is definitely peppermint’s time to shine. While it is great on its own, the characteristic bite of this holiday favorite adds a welcome twist to much more than just candy canes. Coffee ✓ Chocolate ✓ Ice Cream ✓ ✓.
What about all of the above, and at the same time? Now, it’s not just about adding peppermint but creating unique and complex combinations. With products like peppermint chocolate cookie ice cream or peppermint white chocolate mochas, the question might be, is there anything peppermint can’t make better?
Creamy, rich, indulgent, and maybe even a little bit boozy, egg nog is a winter treat like no other. Balanced out with a touch of nutmeg and the spice of cinnamon, this is a flavor people definitely look forward to.
Most often seen as a beverage with coffee creamers and plant-based offerings, the decadent taste of egg nog is branching out. Based on dairy, it’s no wonder we’re seeing it grow in yogurts and ice creams, but it’s even popping up in baked goods, like our next holiday classic: cookies.
This time of year, we are talking about much more than just your everyday chocolate chip. The cinnamony goodness of snickerdoodles, the perfect sweetness of sugar cookies, and the signature spice of gingerbread never fail to steal the show.
While cookies on their own continue to be a staple of every holiday spread, they are definitely a rising star in LTO (limited-time offering) flavors. Sugar cookie in particular, seems to be everywhere you look, including ice cream, candy/chocolate, beverages, and even pancake mix!
Milk, dark, white, it doesn’t matter what type or form the chocolate comes in; people want it. Everything from decadent truffles and indulgent fudge to elevated combinations with peppermint, caramel, etc., helps to make chocolate the king of classic Christmas flavors.
Of all of these, hot cocoa, as a flavor, has been heating up over recent years. It’s not a stretch to say you can find it in nearly anything. This includes all of the applications mentioned for the previous flavors, but you can even find hot cocoa-flavored cereal and popcorn—yes, popcorn.
If cookies, cakes, and every other type of confectionery weren’t enough to make the season bright, Druschitz explains how the holidays can also lend to the success of “premium” products.
“There’s also this desire to go a little bit fancier with food. When you’re getting together with people you care about or haven’t seen in a while, you might lean more towards the premium side. This can be with imported and specialty products like cheese, premium ingredients, or maybe simply elevating familiar flavors in ways you might not expect.”
For many consumers, shifting to imported cheeses like Gruyere, Manchego, or a UK/Irish Cheddar can add a layer of luxury to their cheeseboard or the baked mac and cheese for dinner at grandma’s house.
Elevated versions of familiar flavors like dulce de leche (caramel) or toasted vanilla can also give products that extra bump of intrigue and sophistication people are seeking.
Still, at the end of the day, whether it’s a plant-based peppermint creamer, an egg-nog shake, or buttery English shortbread cookies, the authentic taste of dairy can make all the difference in your holiday products.
This year, find out how Edlong can help you give the gift of everything dairy can be.
About the Author: Anne Druschitz, Corporate Research Chef
Anne has worked in the flavor applications side of the food industry for over 20 years, 15 of which she’s spent at Edlong. Prior to starting her career in product development, Anne earned an AAS in Culinary Arts from Kendall College and a BS in Food Studies from New York University, and cooked in professional kitchens throughout the Chicagoland area. As Edlong’s Corporate Research Chef, Anne combines her passion for global cuisines, knowledge of the latest restaurant trends and extensive flavor experience to support our customers’ development of delicious products that are served around the world.