“Our trend insights show that consumers are really enjoying lighter, refreshing ‘green’ flavors, such as cucumber,” said Chris Millington, president of Firmenich’s flavor division, which cites Mintel data reporting a 392% increase in the use of cucumber as a flavor globally between 2011 and 2016.
“Vegetables in general are becoming more accepted as flavors and ingredients, sometimes even replacing fruit in traditionally sweet categories such as ice cream and cereal. This is why we predict that 2017 will really see the mild cucumber become a big-hitting new favorite.”
Senior flavorist William Moldt said cucumber’s popularity will likely grow throughout 2017 because of its relevance to three global meta-trends Firmenich is monitoring: Refreshment, Health & Natural, and Fermentation & Pickling.
“I love working with cucumber and find its adaptability inspiring. Our customers never tire of its fresh, green and juicy notes and there is really no limitation on what we can create with cucumber.”
Matthew Walter, head of culinary at Firmenich, added: “The rise in cucumber can be attributed to its strong emotional link to freshness. Its ability to ‘accept’ other flavors essentially turns it into a blank canvas, allowing total creative freedom for a chef.”
Cucumber adds a twist to flavors such as apple, mint, lemon and lime while increasing the energizing characteristics of a food or beverage, says Firmenich.
“It also adds a touch of sophistication to otherwise simple products and flavorists have embraced the versatility it provides. The green, watery characteristics of cucumber marry well with fruits, herbs and citrus and are universal drivers of freshness not only in beverages but also in dairy and savory products.”