EFFA explores European “cocktail of flavors” with juniper, rose & vanilla playing key role in taste
25 Nov 2021 --- A Virtual Flavour Day organized by the European Flavour Association (EFFA) has explored how taste and flavor can set the tone for Europe and drive more sustainable and conscious choices by enabling consumers to choose a product that is good for them, good for the planet, and one that is also multi-sensory.
FoodIngredientsFirst attended the virtual event with over 360 participants. Key flavor players from the UK, France, Italy and Germany created a European cocktail of flavors that tells the continent's story through taste and music.
According to EFFA, there is not one “Flavour of Europe,” but many. To prove this, the event organizers created four different confectionery concepts. Three are made with typical ingredients from the other regions of Europe, and Adriano Galante, a musician, created melodies for each of them.
The fourth candy and the fourth melody were also unveiled during the virtual tasting, where all the notes (flavor and musical) are combined for a #BetterTogether final Flavour of Europe candy and melody.
Building concepts that represent Europe
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Steve Pearce, EFFA flavor ambassador and CEO of Omega Ingredients, the company behind the fourth candy concept, says the whole idea was to build up the flavors in layers.
“This is also the analogy with music because we talk about notes of the materials and ingredients. We talked about composing different layers of tastes that represent the flavors of Europe.”
“It’s that synergy of building it all together to make a much more complex and interesting flavor. Making a single flavor is straightforward, but making three single flavor compositions that are tasty alone but also when combined.”
The concepts started with the idea of plants growing to cover the breadth of Europe in terms of the social and cultural requirements of different flavors, says Pearce. “For example, the first flavor had elements of beetroot in it, which in Eastern Europe, is particularly popular,” he comments.
“And so moving around Europe and starting at a ground level meant that flavors such as juniper, rosemary and herbs came through. We are always thinking about the next flavor and how to build it up.”
Citrus tones also played a key role in all of the concepts, as well as vanilla, rose and berries.
“I wanted to bring in this idea of the concepts being a ‘new dawn’ if you like, which reflect on the difficulties that Europe has been facing with Brexit and COVID-19, which has greatly affected Britain and other European countries,” he elaborates.
“It's also a way of saying there's a big, bright, beautiful tomorrow at the end of every difficult day. So that was the concept. And in the end, I think it came together very nicely,” Pearce underscores.
Music to your ears
Also sharing their insights on the flavor development but from a musical perspective, Galante explains how the seasons of Europe were considered to match the music to the different tastes.
“I thought about weather, colors, the continent as a whole, and I tried to create these experiences based on how people were going to eat the candies. For example, how are they going to taste what’s inside and how are they going to move from candy one to candy, two, three and then four,” he explains.
“We tried many different kinds of candies, through sound and music. And it was a very natural process of being creative and really similar to what I do with music, poetry or contemporary dance or theatre as I do in many other projects. So it came very naturally to me to think about these flavors and picture them as music.”
During the process, Galante sampled many flavors as well as melodies, so it was a case of trial and error. Surprisingly, the entire journey wasn’t as long as first expected, with Galante pinning down the music to each concept after only a few weeks.
The ingredients’ inspiration came from a social media campaign, #TheFlavourofEurope and attendees were invited to participate in a sensory game by writing in a wordcloud what nuances they thought Flavour of Europe contained.
Crucial to flavor development
Regina Maiseviciute Haydon, a global food and drink analyst at Mintel, discussed innovations, consumer trends and market development for flavors during the virtual event.
She highlighted three central pillars and how flavor is shaped by them all. These are the demand for better-for-you products, pleasure and escapism, and the challenge of sustainability.
Haydon also underscored a rise in demand for citrus flavors in light of the COVID-19 and how consumers frequently turn to ingredients that support health and well-being.
When asked by FoodIngredientsFirst if industry will continue to see these knock-on effects of COVID-19 in the months ahead, she replied: “I believe that demand for more functional products, but with ingredients that can be scientifically validated is the new direction of this trend.
There is now a tangible product that tells the Flavour of Europe and the Flavour Industry story. With passion and creativity, consumers also have more conscious and sustainable lifestyles by making the healthy choice the tasty choice, says EFFA.
By Elizabeth Green
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