Natural Selection3 Nov 2014
Consumers are more interested in the health properties of the products they consume than ever before. New products emphasising the quality of the natural approach are enjoying substantial popularity, and many companies are changing recipes to meet this demand. Companies are looking to strategically reduce the sugar content of products, yet consumers still want products […]
Consumers are more interested in the health properties of the products they consume than ever before. New products emphasising the quality of the natural approach are enjoying substantial popularity, and many companies are changing recipes to meet this demand.
Companies are looking to strategically reduce the sugar content of products, yet consumers still want products to taste good and look attractive, so the challenge is to find new flavourings to replace existing ingredients.
The move towards natural flavours has become increasingly apparent in recent years – and the development of natural flavours is such that they have been able to replace artificial ingredients in many products with no noticeable difference in taste and mouthfeel. This is also helping increase the options for consumers: nut-free nut products, for example, can allow those with allergies to enjoy a wider range of choice.
As the UK Flavour Association points out, customers are always willing to try something new – be it Asian, fusion, exotic fruit or reduced sugar – and so a wider range of ingredients is now becoming commonplace in food manufacturing.
UK producers, for example, are making use of freekeh, an ancient grain native to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The roasted green cracked wheat could well follow in the success of quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, kamut, millet, sorghum and teff, which have all seen a considerable rise in popularity over the last few years.
There is also something of an increasing demand for botanical flavours, with cardamom from the Himalayas, oregano from Italy or coriander from Morocco all helping to create interesting taste combinations and offer a real point of interest on the shelves.
Natural blossom flavours such as rose, violet, lavender, lotus blossom and hibiscus are now also becoming commonplace in the food and drink sector. It used to be that the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals sectors would be alone in using these flavours, but food and drink products with a hint of rose, lavender or hibiscus are all now proving increasingly popular. 2013 saw around 70 new rose flavoured soft drinks alone introduced to the global market – an increase of over 100% compared to the previous year. Hibiscus and elderflower have enjoyed similar success.
The flavouring sector has, over the past 18 months, undergone something of a change thanks to the publication of the EU’s approved list of flavourings. In fact, while this could have been considered a burden for the industry, the harmonisation of approved flavours within the EU means it has actually been welcomed by the majority of companies as it helps simplify matters.
The increased interest in natural flavours shows no signs of abating and many major manufacturers are continuing to innovate, to huge acclaim.
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