Botanicals breakthrough: Industry innovation


02 Aug 2017 --- One food trend that is undeniably shaping 2017 is botanicals – how substances obtained from plants are giving a major boost to new products across multiple platforms. You can read the first part of the report here

Plants for flavor
Plant-based ingredients are also being applied for their flavorful properties. Herbs and botanicals are trending in soft drinks launches, where they function as a healthy alternative, while natural energy alternatives are being sought, with ingredients such as guarana and maca benefiting from the trend. 

There was a 36 percent hike in global soft drink products with herb flavors in 2016 compared with 2015, according to Innova Market Insights.

Further evidence that botanicals provide new flavor sensations can be seen in new product developments in the beverage space. Take the naturally sweetened The Fruit Lab Green Tea with fresh lime and mint flavor (Netherlands) or the Pure Leaf Tea House Collection Organic Black Tea with a hint of blackberry and sage (US), as just two examples.

Even soda giant Coca-Cola has created a version with ginger – known for its exotic, spicy-sweet and refreshing flavor with stomach settling benefits – for the Australian market. 

Fresh flavors from fresh produce & flowers
Synergy Flavors has just added new British Cucumber essence to its Synergy Pure range which the company claims is perfect for beverage applications because it delivers the fresh flavor of cucumber with the added benefit of a British provenance claim.

Synergy’s proprietary processing technology uses gentle, reduced heat processing and vacuum evaporation techniques so that the Synergy Pure essences retain the authentic flavor of the raw material being used. The technique effectively maximizes the ingredient’s natural sensory properties, while minimizing the degradation of healthy, naturally present nutrients.

“The market demand for all natural, clean label products is well documented and continues to grow. The demand for cucumber products is also growing, yet British stocks are dwindling. Synergy’s cucumber essence provides a consistent, reliable, natural product,” says Hugh Evans, Marketing Manager for Europe and Asia at Synergy Flavors.

“Synergy’s expert applications team has developed a number of innovative applications that showcase the new essence so that you can make British cucumber the star of your range. Mouth-watering and refreshing, they include British cucumber & mint sorbet, British cucumber and strawberry yogurt, British cucumber tzatziki dip, British cucumber gin, and British cucumber and apple flavored water,” he explains.

Flowers are more commonly associated with medicinal tea but are also finding new applications in a wide spectrum of beverages due to their exotic appeal, with hibiscus featuring in Innova’s top ten better for you beverage list. And according to Innova Market Insights data, global soft drink products with flower flavors jumped 107 percent in the 12 months between 2015 and 2016.

Botanicals in alcohol & mixers
The gin revival can partially be attributed to the natural botanical boost. All gins include juniper as an ingredient, while other botanicals used are coriander, angelica, orange peel, lemon peel, cardamom, cinnamon, grains of paradise, cubeb berries and nutmeg. Typically a fine gin contains six to ten botanicals.

Martini claims 100 percent natural ingredients went into the development of its new drink, Martini Riserva Bitter which is part of the Martini Riserva Speciale range. Martini claims to have used three rare botanicals including saffron, angostura and columba for the drink to give it a unique and special taste profile. 

The alcohol mixer area is very much following the principles of adding value, premiumization and delivering more than the traditional tonic water, according to Paul Collins, Director of International Sales and Marketing at GNT. 

“In this space botanicals particularly come into play as do infusions, this is a key area for color since this will lead to a color/flavor relationship. Other ideas incorporate the “play” element where a color/flavor booster can be added by the consumer at the point of consumption and we see this as an exciting area for further development,” he explains. 

Looking ahead
Other areas to look out for moving forward that offer foods that are “in tune with my body” will include those exploiting the benefits of herbs and botanicals that are steeped in tradition in India (Ayurvedic) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (China). These are being relayed to western markets and for many, offer a more natural preventative alternative to pharmaceutical products. This trend is likely to grow as the idea of personalized nutrition and well-being gets stronger amongst Western consumers. 

By Gaynor Selby

Related Articles

Business News

UCL study urges European Commission to block Bayer Monsanto merger

17 Oct 2017 --- The so-called mega-merger planned between seed giants Bayer and US-based Monsanto should be blocked under EU competition law, according to a major new study from University College London. Released yesterday (October 16), on World Food Day, the authors of the report claim that the European Commission should be obliged to block the merger, which is currently under an in-depth investigation, even on a narrow reading of EU competition law.

Regulatory News

Jamie Oliver sugar tax success: Drop in sugary drinks sales at his Italian chain

17 Oct 2017 --- Introducing a small levy to the price of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) sold in Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurants across the UK is likely to have contributed to a significant decline in SSB sales, according to new research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. The celebrity chef and food campaigner has collated the results of a study that has been running in his 37 Italian restaurants exploring the effects a 10 pence sugar tax had on sales of sugar-sweetened beverages. 

Food Ingredients News

Anuga 2017 NPD trends: High protein and vegetable innovation

16 Oct 2017 --- Last week, over 7,400 companies from 107 countries exhibited at Anuga 2017 in Cologne, with a strong focus on new products and innovations. High protein platforms featured strongly on the dairy NPD agenda, with offerings including Greek and skyr options. FoodIngredientsFirst takes a look at some of the highlights.

Food Ingredients News

NZMP highlights consumer trends driving demand for protein across Asia

16 Oct 2017 --- With the Asia protein ingredients market forecast to grow by 11.5 percent from 2016 to 2020, NZMP – Fonterra’s dairy ingredients business – are leading the way as one of the key players for high protein food launches. NZMP believes that Asian consumers are increasingly seeking specific nutritional benefits to support their growing interest in health and active living.

Regulatory News

DSM: 47 percent of consumers are more concerned about sugar consumption than 3 years ago

16 Oct 2017 --- DSM has published a new report in its Global Insight Series focusing on consumer attitudes and behavior around the labeling of sugar content. The report, based on an international survey, shows that concern about sugar is on the rise globally, with nearly half of all consumers saying they are more concerned about overall sugar consumption than they were three years ago. In most countries, label reading has become the norm with more than 50 percent of global consumers say they check the sugar content of foods before they buy.

More Articles