In the latest Wixon Innovates, the innovation team addresses the consumer desire for new, yet familiar flavors in what they’re calling – Next Level Favorites. While ‘new, yet familiar’ may seem contradictory,

“It’s really not. It’s about comfort. We’re in a confusing time. People are more than ready to get back to exploring new cuisines and having flavor adventures, yet the pandemic has left them wary. There’s comfort in familiar things,” says Wixon marketing manager Rachael Jarzembowski.

This insight led the innovation team to lean into familiar, recognizable flavors, then elevate them with something new. Next Level Favorites achieves the right balance for innovation this year as consumers transition from their pandemic mindset. Mintel consumer research shows that consumers are more open to trying new flavors when they’re combined with a food they would typically eat.

Nearly half (47%) of consumers enjoy snacks that offer a twist on the familiar. “Pairing familiar flavors with emerging ones gives people a bridge to explore new flavors,” says Jarzembowski.

The featured flavors for Next Level Favorites start with a familiar flavor and layer it with something new introducing a complex flavor. “The new flavor is not only tasty, but it’s not as intimidating to try,” explains Wixon corporate chef Ryan Kukuruzovic. “Balancing pairings of the familiar with the unexpected can inject excitement and ensure greater likelihood of consumer acceptance.”