US flavor demand driven by natural ingredients

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Flavor

Demand for flavors and fragrances in the US is forecast to increase
3.5 percent per year to $4.6 billion in 2009, according to

In a new study entitled Flavors & Fragrances,​ the market analyst says that gains will be supported by an increased consumer interest in more complex and authentic flavors and fragrances. The continued popularity of natural ingredients will also boost demand, since these materials are typically more expensive.

This assertion is backed up by a number of other recent market reports. Frost & Sullivan for example suggests that the rise in consumer demand for natural food products, coupled with the associated need for flavouring compounds from natural sources, have provided a major boost to the essential oils and oleoresins market.

The research pitches the European and US essential oils and oleoresins market at €558m in 2002, set to climb to €666 million by 2009. The figures equate to shipment volume growth from 74,700 tonnes to 105,800 tonnes during the same timeframe.

Furthermore, new product introductions and technology advances will continue to boost demand. Microcapsulation for example, tiny particles that contain an active agent or core material surrounded by a shell or coating, are now increasingly being used in food ingredients preparation.

Coating an ingredient with another material seals it off from its surroundings, opening the door to new possibilities in product development. One example is an innovative partnership between flavor firm David Michael & Co and microencapsulation specialist Balchem Encapsulates, which has led to the microencapsulation of flavors based on a fluid bed process combined with water soluble and lipid coated flavours.

Indeed, food will remain the largest market for flavors and fragrances, according to Freedonia, based on the widespread application of flavor materials in processed and convenience foods, bakery and dairy products, candy and confections, and snack foods.

The analyst predicts that the growing popularity of more authentic flavors will spur demand in this market. In ethnic-based processed foods, for example, consumers have shown a preference for flavors found in specific regions such as Thailand, over a more general flavor profile such as Asian.

In addition, the further expansion of fortified foods - particularly in the dairy, and candy and confection segments - will provide opportunities, since flavors are often used to cover up the off-tastes of vitamins and minerals. This also suggests a bright future for food ingredient technologies such as microencapsulation.

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