EnJOYment Everywhere – Uncovering the Secrets of Bubble Tea as a Catalyst for Enjoyment!

The 2023 Sensient Trend – Enjoyment Everywhere has highlighted how consumers have prioritized self-care and looking after their mental health.

Consumers have also chosen to deepen community bonds to help them define who they are. This has sparked an urge for genuinely engaging experiences and novelty products which allow the exploration of new sensations and delight in each moment – this is where “bursting boba” or “bubble tea” comes into play! This beverage provides a unique opportunity for consumers to savour joy with friends, revitalising how we experience moments of pleasure together.

Bubble tea is one of the hottest trends in food and beverage – but what is it?

Originating in Taiwan, this unique beverage is a modern-day phenomenon thanks to its dazzling array of colours, flavours and textures. Bubble tea can be tailored exactly to an individual’s preferences – cold or hot with a choice of milk, juice base as well as trendy additions like fruits and coffee beans. This trendsetting drink offers limitless possibilities. The success of bubble tea is pinned to customizablity, naturalness and the ability to deliver with flavours, enticing visuals and texture.

The global flavour team, supported by our South African footprint offers Sensient’s customers a wide portfolio of natural flavours and extracts to help developers build a smorgesboard of options for flavour creation that appeals to today’s generation.

Bursting onto the scene

South African Bubble Tea Brands

Source: @bubbleteasa

With its global emergence, bubble tea is now making an exciting entrance into the South African quick service restaurant/snack space. This popular trend has seen incredible growth over recent years, with a current market value of USD 2.02 billion and projected to reach USD 3.39 billion by 2027 – providing untouched potential for businesses capitalising on this beverage phenomenon!

Bubble tea is an exciting treat that keeps delighting consumers with its vivid colours, varied textures and tantalising flavours. From creating a genuinely immersive sensory experience to driving positive emotions through joyful visuals – it’s no wonder the trend continues to gain momentum!

For South African food and QSR brands looking to get in on this fun trend ensuring that you remain true to the ethos of exciting visuals will require your developers to ensure that bright colours and fun flavours are at the centre of this development, while maintaining your natural credentials.

Doing this can offen pose a challenge as formulating with natural colours or colouring foods in powder form wont provide you with a homogenous powder blend.

Sensient’s Microfine™ – A plating-grade natural colour that simulates a synthetic lake is an ideal solution for dry drink mixes and will deliver vivid natural colours in your powdered drink mix blends used to make up your finished bubble tea. Bring these bubbles to life with our rainbow of naturalness:

  • Reds

    Anthocyanins or Beetroot

    Alternative to Allura Red

  • Oranges

    Blends of natural red and yellow colouring solutions

    Alternative to Allura Red combined with Sunset Yellow or Tartrazine

  • Yellows

    Turmeric or Carthamus

    Alternative to Tartrazine

  • Purples & Blues

    Spirulina or blends of natural colouring solutions including Spirulina

    Alternative to Allura Red combined with Brilliant Blue

  • Greens

    Algae-based solutions or natural blends of plant- and algae-based solutions

    Alternative to synthetic green blends

How can food manufacturers tap into the growing market opportunities for bubble tea?

As demand for innovative, healthy and Instagram-worthy beverages continues to grow, bubble tea is becoming a popular player in the game. Its versatility allows it to fit all kinds of palates while also giving brands freedom with colouring – making sure that their product stands out from competitors.

Additionally, its nutritional potential expands beyond just refreshment, harnessing ingredients like proteins, functional extracts and collagen powders to make this drink suitable as an alternative to carbonated soft drinks or energy boosters, too! However, these functional ingredients need to contribute to the overall enjoyment and so choosing the best ingredients becomes a critical success factor. Sensient’s range of functional extracts can be used to build that health halo with true to source extracts and the ability to reduce sugar and increase flavour perception and mask off notes delivered by certain proteins.

It doesn’t stop there.

The bubble tea expansion has seen ventures into surprising applications like bakery, ice cream, and even cup noodles! For more inspiration, Sensient has a range of inclusions that can be offered in a wide array of categories to give your product a textural boost.

Bursting with opportunity?

Ready to tap into the trend of bubble tea? Sensient’s innovation team is here for you. We have crafted a range of RTD and make-at-home concepts, an extensive range of natural colours, functional extracts and flavours we are ready to help your brand join in on this exciting market. Whether you’re looking to craft a portable convenience product or create something that delivers on the trend of “enjoyment everywhere”, we are ready to partner with you to develop products that meet consumer demands. Book a consultation today.
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