Rising interest in naturalness and a growing awareness of the potential health benefits of botanical ingredients have combined with the desire for something more unusual to develop the demand for floral ingredients and flavorings. The number of global food and drinks launches featuring floral ingredients recorded by Innova Market Insights in the first 10 months of 2011 rose 7% over the same period in 2010 to already be within striking distance of the total recorded for the whole of that calendar year and more than four times the level recorded five years previously.
The use of flowers as flavorings has long been popular in Japan and other parts of the Far and Middle East, but that trend has now spread to Western markets. Innova Market Insights records that the most popular floral flavors globally in January to October 2011 were jasmine, lotus, rose and chrysanthemum, but that there were significant differences according to geographical region and type of product.
Innova found that a wide range of sectors have seen activity in the use of floral flavors globally, led by hot beverages, primarily tea, soft drinks and confectionery, but also including alcoholic beverages, dairy products, spreads and seasonings. Tea, soft drinks and confectionery accounted for a combined 70% of total launch activity featuring floral flavorings in the first 10 months of 2011, with jasmine leading in tea, rose in confectionery and chrysanthemum in soft drinks. In the confectionery sector, rose is a traditional flavor in Turkish Delight-type products, but it now appears in a growing number of premium chocolate lines, particularly dark chocolate, alongside lavender, violet and also orange blossom, geranium and jasmine.
Lu Ann Williams, research manager for Innova Market Insights, reports that companies are increasingly using floral flavors to impart new and unique notes and aromas to a range of products, particularly in countries and regions where they may not traditionally be used. “This is particularly impacting the beverages sector,” she said, “although confectionery is also seeing a relatively high level of activity as consumers continue to search for something combining novelty with naturalness and a healthy image.”