Confectioners look to exotic, functional flavours

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Flavours Fruit Antioxidant Chocolate

Manufacturers will increasingly turn to unusual confectionery
flavours such as pomegranate, eucalyptus and goji in order to make
their products stand out from the competition on supermarket
shelves, according to a new report.

With rising commodity costs squeezing margins across the food industry, manufacturers can no longer rely on sales of traditional chocolate and candy products to keep the company in profit, Report author Helen Lewis of Global Business Insights told that sales of original and unique confectionery flavours have grown over the 2005 - 2007 period, while the majority of the top 15 confectionery flavours, for example lemon and hazelnut, have decreased in popularity.

"Manufacturers are choosing to introduce more exotic and unusual ingredients into products to increase experimentation and trial, and to appeal to a wider range of consumers," she said.

"Incorporating a unique or new flavour into a product can boost interest and help it stand out from the competition."

Exotic fruits are becoming more and more common in confectionery products, as consumers are often drawn to a "taste of the unusual" if they see ingredients such as grape or ginseng on the wrapper.

These flavours are often promoted for their 'unusual' qualities in Asia, where consumers are particularly responsive to new product development (NDP) experimentation, Lewis said.

In Western chocolate eating nations, these exotic fruits are also used to promote the health boosting properties of a chocolate or candy product.

Superfruits - those with high antioxidant levels or nutrient content - will help companies to dispel ideas that chocolate is an unhealthy and fatty food, as "confectionery that seemingly offers health benefits is viewed as a permissible treat by consumers", Lewis said.

Pomegranate, and goji are two of the "fruits to watch", she added.

Other functional ingredients that will become more prevalent include green tea, said to contain high levels of polyphenols and flavonoids, and eucalyptus, often promoted as being able to fight infections.

So far this year several firms have moved into the superfruit and functional flavour arena.

In May, Danisco Flavours, now part of Firmenich, said it had developed an acai berry flavour for use in dairy, ice cream, beverage and confectionery products.

Meanwhile France-based flavours firm Aromatech has developed a new range of superfruit flavours, that it says combines a popular taste trend with antioxidants and a connotation of health.

Aromatech's range includes acai flavour, pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry, acerola, goji and mangosteen.

In the UK, Mastertaste, the flavour and fragrance division of Kerry, recently unveiled its new active botanicals range of natural flavours such as black and green tea, rooibos, chamomile and citrus.

While older, traditional flavours will not prove so popular in coming years, many will increasingly be used to bring an indulgent taste to new products.

According to the report, chocolate, the most popular flavour for confectionery over the 2005 - 2007 period, will become common in products such as low calorie chewing gum and sugar sweets, as they will be used to encourage consumers to think they are still buying a treat, Lewis said.

Furthermore, companies will not drop entirely drop popular fruit flavours such as lemon and cherry, but promote the natural additives as "bringing an element of healthfulness that allows the product to be more permissible."

Business Insights' top ten flavours to watch Pomegranate Coffee Grape Cranberry Green tea Chilli Cinnamon Ginseng Eucalyptus Goji Business Insights' top 15 flavours 2005 - 2007 Chocolate Milk chocolate Strawberry Dark chocolate Orange Mint Lemon Hazlenut Caramel Almond White chocolate Cherry Fruit Apple Raspberry

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