Nutrition, Flavor Combinations Drive 2024 Cookie Trends

Honey Spice Oatmeal Cookies 1

Honey has been a popular sweetener in baking for decades, thanks to its distinct flavor and a more nutritious alternative in a traditionally calorie-laden treat. Mother Nature’s sweetener not only provides endless flavor combinations for CPG cookie product developers, but it also gives consumers a choice for permissible indulgence.

Clean Label Expectations
There’s a growing demand for more nutritious cookies heading into the new year; in fact, market research company Technavio says that’s a major reason for a predicted $22.44 billion global increase in the category during 2023-2027. Clean label cookies have emerged as much more than “just” a trend — functionality is an expectation — thanks to ingredients like honey that are easily identifiable for consumers.

“One of the key drivers for the cookies market over the next several years will be the rising demand for healthy cookies, which also includes gluten-free options,” Baking Business reports. “Vendors are offering different new products with unique flavors, safe ingredients and packaging.”

A Taste for Flavor
We eat with our eyes, but color and flavor are about to have a major impact on the cookie market in 2024. ADM’s color and flavor experts say that color is at the epicenter of the food industry, with consumers desiring to experience “fully flavored and vibrantly colored foods.” Cookie purchases will be more of a form of self-expression, powered by personal values, indulgent flavors and colors.

Mintel Food & Drink told Baking Business that cookie lovers are noshing more than ever. Almost half say they’re eating cookies more often than last year because of new flavor availability and flavors they enjoy. Craft to Crumb cites “swicy” flavor mashups as the biggest up and coming cookie trend. Similar to the hot honey craze in a multitude of food categories, expect honey mixed with the likes of mango chili, spicy maple, bourbon jalapeno and chili powder chocolate chip to hit supermarket cookie aisles in the coming months. This gives consumers a chance to taste a familiar sweetener like honey mixed with powerful new flavors, allowing them to decide if it’s the right blend of the unusual.

“Embracing tastes and colors that were previously thought of as unconventional is the new norm and creating new favorites,” ADM reports. “Challenging traditions and geographic boundaries of taste is leading … to new heights of innovative development.”

With more than 300 varietals of honey in the U.S. ranging in varied colors and flavors, the time is right for cookie manufacturers to wow the next generation of cookie lovers. Here are a few smart cookies:

S’mores Cookies, Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop
A nostalgic treat in a honey-sweetened graham flavored cookie. They’re studded with chocolate and topped with a lightly toasted gelatin-free marshmallow.

Photo Credit: Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop
Photo Credit: Jack's Allergen Friendly Bakery

Pumpkin Spice Cookies, Jack’s Allergen Friendly Bakery
Honey, pumpkin puree, grass-fed beef collagen, cinnamon, ginger and cloves are combined to make these allergen-friendly delights. Part of Jack’s Bakery Subscription Club, Pumpkin Spice Cookies are just one honey-sweetened variety by the clean label-friendly cookie maker.

Blueberry Honey Waffle Cookie, Stonewall Kitchen
Flavors aren’t the only innovation in the cookie world — so are the shapes! Stonewall Kitchen’s take on the cookie is inspired by the stroopwafel, and this version gives a Maine spin to the recipe with a honey and blueberry syrup filling.

Photo Credit: Stonewall Kitchen

We want to hear from you! Which of these cookies are YOU most interested in trying? Let us know in the comments below.