The continuing economic gloom has left its mark in soft drinks but not in the way you might think: traditional flavours such as elderflower, rhubarb and ginger have never been more popular.

“In times of turmoil, such as economic uncertainty, consumers gravitate to brands and flavours that represent happy times,” says Pev Manners, MD at Belvoir Fruit Farms, which has posted a 25.6% rise in value sales on volumes up 25% [SymphonyIRI] thanks in part to this resurgence.

“Traditionals are benefiting and our brand has seen good growth in handmade lemonade, ginger beer and elderflower cordial and pressé.”

Bottle Green sought to whet people’s appetite further with last year’s ‘Great British Summer’ campaign, which encouraged consumers to celebrate the elderflower season with its range of cordials and pressés. The push was “instrumental” in driving sales, says Bottle Green Drinks’ MD Simon Speers. So much so, the brand will repeat the initiative this year.

Classic flavours with increasingly unconventional twists will be big this year, he predicts, pointing to the continuing success of Bottle Green’s ginger & lemongrass, pomegranate & elderflower and apple & plum varieties and the return of its limited-edition lime & coconut cordial “due to popular demand”.

“Consumers’ quest for a new flavour experience hasn’t been dampened by the recession - it’s acted as a stimulus,” he claims.

The trend for nostalgic flavours with a modern twist even extends to carbonates. Shloer is hoping to cash in with a limited-edition raspberry & rhubarb punch following the success of its fruit punches range in 2012. “Together, Shloer berry punch and fruit punch have sold more than four million bottles and last year they attracted more than 500,000 new households to Shloer,” says Amanda Grabham, head of brand marketing.

The innovation comes hot on the heels of a host of NPD from ginger beer brand John Crabbie & Co, which last year extended its offer to include Scottish raspberry with ginger and lemonade with ginger variants. Even SodaStream is getting in on the traditional flavours act with elderflower and ginger beer versions of its soda mixes, which hit shelves in February.