- One of the trendiest flavors currently is more of an inspiration than a specific taste, and according to Food Business News, it’s showing up everywhere, from snack cakes to gum and ice cream to drinks. What does it taste like? It can range from birthday cake, cotton candy, cherry or strawberry.
- Unicorn-themed products launched over the last year include Kellogg's Unicorn Cereal, Pop-Tarts Unicorn Power, Brach’s Unicorn Horns candy corn, Polar Beverage's Unicorn Kisses sparkling water and Little Debbie Unicorn Cakes.
- This sparkly unicorn trend can be credited to 1990s nostalgia. Food Business News says many shoppers grew up in the time of Lisa Frank, a brand of bright, colorful, glittery school supplies and stickers. Her designs have made a comeback recently in cosmetics, coloring books and clothing.
Despite the skyrocketing love of unicorn everything over the last year, food companies will have to hedge their bets on how long its popularity will remain.
Breakfast cereals and desserts are a good fit for this super sweet craze, but the high sugar content and often used artificial dyes to make the bright colors go against the millennial generation’s call for healthier, natural foods. Those calls, however, have not yet stopped unicorns from making their way into people's pantries, likely drawing on millennial shoppers' love of nostalgic products. Popular food from yesteryear, like Dippin' Dots (now in cereal form) and Crystal Pepsi, have seen a resurgence as consumers briefly trade health for a little blast from the past.
So why rainbows and unicorns? Many credit today's Instagram world, where one food blogger experimented with natural dyes to make her photos pop. The trend, however, truly hit the mainstream when Starbucks unveiled its Unicorn Frappuccino last year, a blended beverage featuring mango syrup and a sour blue drizzle. The drink was so popular many stores ran out as people rushed to post photos and reviews of it across social media. Since then, people have shared literally millions of food images on Twitter and Instagram juiced up with the bright pinks, purples, blues and yellows of 90's childhood dreams.
Some manufacturers are also offering unicorn-themed items for a limited time, driving people to stores for an exclusive experience that will go away if they don't snap up the chance. That being said, it also could indicate that companies acknowledge that unicorns are short-lived rather than a long-term trend.
And when unicorns gallop into the sunset, there’s sure to be something new to fill the void. Some experts predict mermaids will be the next hot trend. A year ago, Business Insider suggested "mermaid" would take off on Instagram and Pinterest, with spirulina, a powder made from a dried blue-green algae, used to produce the blue and green coloring. So far, Business News notes, people seem to be using the powder mostly to make and take photos of smoothies.