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Caramel Flavor Hits Consumers’ Sweet Spot

caramel-flavored candy cubes with caramel syrup on textured caramel


Why is Caramel Such a Popular Flavor?


You can find it in nearly everything from delectable desserts to charming coffee flavors and even gourmet popcorn. Caramel has earned its place as a trending flavor that consumers enjoy in a wide variety of ways. One of the top global flavors in indulgent products, caramel comes in third place behind chocolate and vanilla. Plus, salted caramel is one of the top global growing flavors in indulgent products. (Source: FONA – Indulgence 2019 Trend insight report)

What’s behind caramel’s continuing run as a favorite flavor? And how can it work for you? Those are some of the questions we’ll address as we take a look at why caramel hits consumers’ sweet spot.


Where Tradition and Innovation Meet

Caramel has the benefits of being both classic and innovative, giving it a significant overall appeal. It can be an old-fashioned caramel candy that’s beloved by older generations. Or for the younger demographic, you can find salted caramel flavorings that enhance their favorite drink. You have options with caramel. Rely on the long-time favorites or try something new and fresh! Either way, caramel performs well.


Versatility in Form

Caramel may be made from melted sugar, but where it goes next covers many forms. It can be hard and crunchy or soft and chewy, a syrup, shell, chips, or powder. It also pairs well with other ingredients like nuts, chocolate, ice cream, or popcorn. Because you can mix and match caramel in so many ways, there is something for everyone. (Make delicious fudge with our Salted Caramel Dry Mix.)


Sweet and Salty Combo

You get the best of both worlds in caramel’s sweet and salty flavor. Essentially, you satisfy two cravings at once! The reason behind it is a combination of taste and body chemistry. The flavors actually activate our tastebuds, which then triggers a release of chemicals in our brains. Caramel corn is an ideal example of the sweet and salty combo at work.


A Nostalgic Indulgence

Part of the appeal of caramel is the emotional experience that comes with it. Comfort foods do influence our mood. One factor is nostalgia. A bite of a caramel apple can make you reminisce about childhood memories. You connect the flavor with something positive in your mind. Indulgence is another emotive sensation that comes with caramel. It gives the feeling that you are treating yourself to something special. With these types of reactions, caramel can truly be called a “good mood food.”


There are lots of reasons to add caramel to your menu! Owners/operators enjoy the profitability of this premium flavor. Caramel apples can bring profit margins of 60%, while caramel corn can be as high as 70%. It’s a win-win when you can cater to a popular trend that also benefits your bottom line. Consult with your Gold Medal branch or distributor to determine how to incorporate caramel into your menu.


For more on caramel: