December 16, 2013
PRINCETON, N.J.Banking on its popularity as health and nutrition, Firmenich has named the antioxidant-rich blackberry the Flavor of the Year for 2014. The company said the superfruits popularity is in part its flavor profile and complexity, which reflects a consumer desire to explore and to push the boundaries within the safety of familiar concepts.
Similar to last year's flavor of the yearlime the blackberry stands out within its fruity family with its unique, intriguing profile, something that consumers continue to relate to in a world where being unique is something to celebrate.
"Consumers are becoming highly discerning in their preferences, opting for more and more complexity in flavor profiles. This has caused a natural evolution towards profiles such as blackberry," said Hidemi Tashiro, a master flavorist at Firmenich.
David Lyon, Director of Firmenich's Global Sensory team, a group responsible for analyzing the profiles of thousands of flavors each year, said: "According to AromaSphere®, our proprietary tool to categorize the consumer language of flavor, the words that describe the profile of blackberry indicate the complexity of the flavor profile: ripe, sweet, acidic, juicy, seedy, jammy, spicy, and even floral at low levels.
Tashiro said the elements interact with and complement each other, creating a complex profile with wide-reaching appeal.
According to Firmenich, Millennials are helping to drive this trend toward blackberry because they know exactly what they want, but also are drawn to adventure.
Beyond the traditional berry applications such as dairy, Firmenich is seeing blackberry trends in other categories as well, noting Kashi's Blackberry Graham cereal bars; beverage brand IZZE's Sparkling Blackberry drink; and McDonald's new Blackberry Raspberry Fruit Tea Fusion as just a few examples.
The trend also goes beyond the world of retail and into restaurants. Firmenich cites menu items, such as roasted rack of wild boar with a blackberry, sage and balsamic reduction; sweet potato quinoa cakes with blackberry salsa; and blackberry and fennel pizza as menu items recently spotted by their trend watchers around the world.
"Blackberry is such a fun flavor to work with," said Master Flavorist Robin Trumm. "It pairs well with many other flavors, including black pepper, apricot, champagne, citrus, plums, Port, and ginger, just to a name a few."
The company predicts blackberry products will continue to increase and is currently developing beverage concepts, such as blackberry ginger tea. In sweet hoods, blackberry will be included in the company's Haute Couture line of cereal flavors, which combines ancient grains and berries.
The company also has a blackberry flavor-filled donut cereal bar in the works. Within the savory segment, applications like honey blackberry salad dressing and ginger blackberry mustard glaze are in development, and will soon be ready to take to customers worldwide.
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