Flavor And Ingredient Trends For 2009

Consumers look for function with their flavor; more exotic fruits on the way.

By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Technical Editor

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“We know the experience of flavor is more than just sensory, it is also deeply cultural,” explains Andreas Haenni, global head of Givaudan’s savoury research. Now, the company’s research may help food manufacturers identify their precise chicken essence, signature and aroma needs, including taste solutions for low salt recipes.

Givaudan researchers used a similarly intensive technique, a program referred to as TasteTrek, to evaluate natural orange flavor varieties from around the world. Flavor experts, aided by the company’s proprietary Virtual Aroma Synthesizer technology, can rapidly translate complex aromas from fresh fruit into natural and naturally derived citrus flavors, ranging from the traditional to the exotic.

TasteTrek teams traveled extensively, setting up mini-labs, often in exotic locations, in order to gain a first-hand understanding of the fruits, plants, pods and herbs indigenous to a region. In addition, TasteTrek teams learn local food preparations and authentic cooking techniques. The objective is to experience exotic foods and culinary delights in their natural settings to advance the discovery of new ingredients in support of innovative flavor development.

From exotic to familiar

Acai appears to be firmly established. Now other exotic fruits may be moving into consumers’ consciousness – such as yumberry and goji berry.

Bringing exotic flavors to familiar products will be a key theme for 2009.

If you thought you were keeping up with the latest superfruit trend because you finally learned how to pronounce açai, or that maybe we’d exhausted the superfruit market, then the new year will bring surprises.

Goji berry, also known as wolfberry or western snowberry, commercially grown in China, gained much attention at the end of 2008. Also from China comes the newest of the superfruits, the yumberry, yet another antioxidant star in the superfruit galaxy.

Buffering the exotics is the familiar … for instance, tea. Honest Tea, (www.honesttea.com), Bethesda, Md., expanded its line of organic teas to include such offerings as pomegranate red tea with goji berry and pomegranate white tea with açai. Honest Teas are traditionally rich in natural ingredients and low in sugar, generally between 30 and 50 calories per 8-oz. serving, itself a healthy trend.

Yumberries and goji berries flavor Honest Tea’s newest line of beverages, Honest Ades, the company’s answer to the ever-growing thirst quencher market. “Honest Ade Superfruit Punch delivers knockout taste with the high levels of antioxidants consumers are seeking,” says Seth Goldman, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea. “We’re thrilled with the early results we’ve seen in New York, and we can’t wait to share Superfruit Punch with the rest of the country.”

Honest Tea’s Honest Ade organic thirst quenchers are certified organic, low in sugar and rich in the newest exotic superfruits. In addition to yumberry and goji berry, other Honest Ades include pomegranate blue, cranberry lemonade, orange mango with mangosteen and limeade.

With all the attention paid to superfruits, it makes one wonder whether exotic locations outscore homegrown superfruits. Why, for example don’t U.S.-grown tart cherries gather the same attention as the exotic superfruits? They are rich in antioxidants, melatonin and anti-inflammatory agents, with plenty of folklore and research as backup, not to mention superior taste. Maybe this will be the year we pay a little more attention to this native potential superstar.

 

Soy still has a healthy halo. Delivering it with indulgence can make products a winner.

Sometimes flavor is about what you can’t taste. Soy products show no signs of slowing in popularity, even though few people care for its unadulterated taste. Benesoy from Devansoy (www.devansoy.com), Carroll, Iowa, adds little if any soy flavor to end products. Its white and bland nature results from unique processing, making it an easy match for applications that rely on the flavors of exotic fruits or spices to shine through.

The new year will bring new flavors, along with many new products and advances in processing techniques. But a trend that hopefully becomes a tradition is the move to associate flavor with products that benefit the consumer’s health.

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