Immunity is the focus of the latest chapter of Wixon Innovates – a product development trendspotting project. Americans were already beginning to explore products with immune-enhancing benefits prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but earlier this year as the pandemic took hold, this trend accelerated. In fact, Google searches for the combined terms, ‘food’ and ‘immune system’ skyrocketed by 670% between February and March 2020, according to Google Trends data.

“We’ve seen awareness of the connection between health and diet gain momentum as the virus continues to impact communities around the globe,” said Wixon Marketing Manager, Becca Henrickson. “The result of this is people are putting a greater focus on products that can help them support a healthy immune system.” Evidence of this trend is seen in a recent Innova Consumer Survey where 45% of global consumers say they’re consuming more food and beverage products that boost their immune system in the wake of COVID-19. “As demand ramps up for immune-enhancing products, food and beverage manufacturers have an opportunity to innovate with immune-supporting ingredients and flavors.” 

When flavoring food and beverages with immune support ingredients, selecting flavors that increase or complement a product’s health perception is optimal. Because these types of flavors are often derived from ingredients with known immunity support or are flavors that naturally carry a “health halo,” such as botanicals and fresh herbs, using them in this type of products will further solidify their immune-enhancing benefit positioning. See some of the top immune-friendly flavors in the list below.

Trending Immunity Flavors:

  • Elderberry
  • Beetroot
  • Blood Orange
  • Turmeric
  • Pumpkin
  • Green Tea
  • Honey
  • Açai
  • Grapefruit

Wixon Corporate Chef Ryan Kukuruzovic brings culinary expertise to the marrying of immune-enhancing ingredients and flavors. “Often when using these natural organic materials as flavoring agents in food and beverages, we need to compensate for herbal off notes or inherent bitter tastes that may occur. For example, when developing with a sweet, fruit-based profile like elderberry, challenges arise with its natural top note flavor, which can be bitter or medicinal-tasting at high levels. So, leaning into shared notes within other berries, e.g., cranberry and blueberry, creates a greater foundation, and ultimately, a fuller flavor impact. We demonstrated this in our Smoky Berry Elderberry Meat Stick concept.

It is also important to consider the flavor impact certain types of fortification will have in a blend. For example, fortifying with vitamin C can increase the citrus and sour notes found in a blend. Depending on the application, we may want to mask the citrus flavor, enhance it, or pair it with a complementary flavor, such as umami, like we did in our Immunity Boost Seasoning Blend.”

To illustrate the immunity trend, Wixon taste experts developed various food and beverage applications using immune-friendly flavors as part of its Wixon Innovates program. More information on the Smoky Berry Elderberry Meat Stick, Immunity Boost Seasoning Blend and other immunity concepts, as well as Wixon’s custom taste solutions, are available by contacting

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