Firmenich: hibiscus will be the flavour of 2019

4 Jan 2019

Firmenich has announced hibiscus as “Flavour of the Year” for 2019 based on the growing appeal of florals in food and drink, and the trend towards curiosity in consumption.

Firmenich: hibiscus will be the flavour of 2019

Firmenich has announced hibiscus as “Flavour of the Year” for 2019 based on the growing appeal of florals in food and drink, and the trend towards curiosity in consumption.

“Hibiscus is a beautiful and tasty choice for 2019; it’s natural, floral, and slightly tangy, and we know our customers will be delighted by this selection,” said Emmanuel Butstraen, President of Flavours. “This marks the seventh edition of our Flavour of the Year tradition, eagerly awaited by our customers to inspire them in developing products consumers will love,” he added.

According to Firmenich insights, based on data from Mintel and its global consumer database, the worldwide use of hibiscus in food and beverage new product launches has increased nearly 300% compared to 2012. Top categories for launches include yogurt, beer, tea, and chocolates, with most occurring in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, and Denmark, and showing faster growth in European countries like Spain and Italy.

Hibiscus flowers are beautiful. No doubt their “Instagrammable” nature has helped propel them onto the main stage along with their floral friends: lavender, elderflower, rose, and violet. But hibiscus is more than just a pretty flower. As with many popular flavours and ingredients today, hibiscus has numerous health benefits and has been used as a medicinal remedy for centuries. Egyptians used hibiscus tea to lower body temperature and treat heart and nerve diseases. In African countries, the tea was used to treat cold symptoms; and pulp made from the leaves was applied to the skin to heal wounds. Recent studies show promise for both the tea and the hibiscus plant extract to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Direct health benefits of a particular ingredient, as well as the overall trend toward healthier consumption habits are also playing a role in the rise of hibiscus, according to Jeff Schmoyer, VP of Global Consumer Insights at Firmenich. He believes consumer desire for reduced sugar is also a factor. “A correlation we are making to explain the rise in hibiscus is between consumer awareness of sugar content - in particular in their beverages - and their desire to replace sweetness with other flavours that help deliver sensorial impact and provide interesting and novel taste experiences,” he explained. “Flavoured water has become mainstream, with traditional flavours such as lemon, lime and berry having led the way,” he continued. “But now, as people continue to demand healthier beverages, we expect the demand for more niche flavours such as hibiscus that have historical and cultural associations with health to also rise,” he concluded.

To date, the most popular use of hibiscus has been in the form of infusions in beverages. However, according to Firmenich, the appeal is much broader. “Hibiscus is more than just a flower extract. It does have a strong floral aroma, with a woody-astringent character, but at the same time there is a subtle and delicate fruity undertone, even a hint of green, like freshly cut mint leaves,” said Fausto Carriles, Senior Firmenich Flavourist in Latin America. “It is very versatile for beverages: it can be consumed cold in summer and also can be a great flavour modifier for winter hot fruit punches. Hibiscus is used all around the world in many cultures, from the simple street beverages up to sophisticated culinary sauces.”

In Mexican cuisine, hibiscus has been used in Savoury applications for years, with many traditional ceviche recipes calling for the flavourful flower. Firmenich trend experts found other menu items with hibiscus including enchiladas and dried hibiscus garlic chips. The company is confident that with its sharp and warm nature, product development chefs all over the world will soon be embracing hibiscus in their savoury creations.

Consumers continue to seek out new and authentic experiences in this fast-moving digital world. Hibiscus meets the need for consumers’ desire to be connected with new unique experiences, yet not straying too far from their comfort zones. Hibiscus is unusual yet approachable; it is vibrant, yet mellow, cool but not elusive.

In fact, this trend of enabling connectivity is also seen in global colour company Pantone’s selection for the Colour of the Year for 2019: Living Coral, which, according to Pantone: embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment. “We see a lot of mirroring this year between Pantone’s Colour of the Year and our Flavour of the Year,” noted Mikel Cirkus, Global Director of Strategic Foresight. He continued: “This speaks to the increasing interconnectedness of our worlds, and the blurring of boundaries demarcating where trends actually begin.”

According to Firmenich, taste patterns are becoming ever-more important predictors of larger societal trends. Food is such a major part our lives, and in today’s world the choices are endless. As Cirkus concluded: “It makes sense that what consumers gravitate towards is a reflection of the world around them, so here is to a beautiful and delicious 2019!”

Related categories

Related tags

Innovation

Related news

Arla creates new innovation organisation, hires new SVP

Arla creates new innovation organisation, hires new SVP

18 Jan 2019

Arla Foods is creating a new Product and Innovation organisation and appointing a new Senior Vice President, driven by the desire to strengthen its innovation and global product agenda.

Read more 
Mintel: four trends for restaurants in 2019

Mintel: four trends for restaurants in 2019

17 Jan 2019

Mintel believes the foodservice landscape will evolve, driven by increased awareness around social and environmental responsibility and innovation in technology-enabled customer service.

Read more 
Mintel partners with Cipher on patent analysis

Mintel partners with Cipher on patent analysis

15 Jan 2019

Mintel has announced that it now has access to the most advanced patent analysis available in the food and drink and beauty and personal care industries, through its new partnership with Cipher.

Read more 
IFF establishes collaboration agreement with Aryballe

IFF establishes collaboration agreement with Aryballe

10 Jan 2019

International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) has established an industry-exclusive collaboration with digital olfaction technology company Aryballe, based in Grenoble, France.

Read more 
Chobani enters plant-based market

Chobani enters plant-based market

10 Jan 2019

Chobani has launched the company's first-ever plant-based recipe Non-Dairy Chobani. Starting this month, Chobani is rolling out nine new Non-Dairy Chobani cultured organic coconut products that will be available throughout the USA.

Read more 
StePac develops blueberry packaging

StePac develops blueberry packaging

2 Jan 2019

StePac has developed customized, proprietary, polyamide-based packaging technology for ensuring long-lasting freshness in bulk deliveries of blueberries to distant destinations.

Read more 
Herza launches chocolate couverture pieces

Herza launches chocolate couverture pieces

21 Dec 2018

Herza is launching small chocolate couverture pieces made from specific fine organic cocoa varieties. These, it says, will enable manufacturers of sweets and bakery products, ice cream or cereals to benefit from the 'adventurous consumer' trend.

Read more 
DuPont study: hope for overweight consumers

DuPont study: hope for overweight consumers

20 Dec 2018

Read more 
Ingredion investment in plant protein reaches $140 million

Ingredion investment in plant protein reaches $140 million

19 Dec 2018

Ingredion has announced several steps to accelerate production of plant-based proteins globally. The combined $140 million of strategic investments will, it says, further position the company with an expanded, broad range of plant-based protein soluti...

Read more 
Mintel identifies three trends for 2019

Mintel identifies three trends for 2019

15 Nov 2018

Mintel has announced three forward-looking trends which it believes will lead the momentum of global food and drink innovation in 2019 and beyond.

Read more