Flavors in beverage products can heighten or balance a drink’s texture and sweetness. They can also enhance a beverage’s color or provide other sensory experiences.
Wellness flavors remain key sellers among consumers that prioritize healthy foods and drinks. This trend is fueled by the growing popularity of RTD premium adult beverages and the emerging low/no alcohol space.
Fruit flavours evoke a sense of exoticism, as well as a desire to experience nature’s goodness. They also play a role in helping beverage manufacturers to connect with consumers’ wellness beliefs and aspirations.
Flavorists use the natural building blocks of fruits to create flavour creations that replicate the aroma, taste and appearance of a particular fruit. These include essential oils and aromatic compounds such as aldehydes, lactones, esters, and alcohols. These chemicals are found in the peels, rinds and flesh of all fruits.
The best fruits are those that have reached the peak of ripeness and quality. Preharvest factors such as weather, soil preparation and cultivation, crop load, irrigation and fertilisation practices and postharvest temperature management all affect the development of a fruit’s volatiles and its ability to retain and transfer its flavour.
Citrus fruits are a well-known source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Their tart taste helps to balance out drinks with high levels of sweetener and can also add a nice flavour to complement liquors such as whisky or rum.
Citrus is a large genus of plants belonging to the rue family (Rutaceae), with over 140 tribes and 1300 species of edible citrus fruit. The fruits of this group, including lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits and mandarins, are a type of modified berry with flesh that is divided into segments filled Beverage Flavours with juice-filled vesicles. The outer peel or rind is leathery and studded with oil glands.
Innova Market Insights reports that consumers are reaching for tropical and cocktail flavors in soft drinks as well as the emerging low/no alcohol space. This trend is supported by our global sensory capabilities which show us that consumers are looking for natural, clean label ingredients that offer health benefits and a variety of different tastes. We can help beverage companies develop exciting new beverage ideas that meet these changing consumer needs.
Herb flavours bring a freshness to drinks and can offer many health-promoting properties, as well as enhancing the aroma, appearance and texture. These can include anti-inflammatory agents, a range of vitamins and minerals and even the ability to help reduce low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).
Adding herbs to drinks is easy – simply add the leaves to a hot liquid, allow to steep and strain before serving. This is a good technique for leafy herbs like lemon verbena, lemon balm, thyme or basil. Alternatively, add sprigs to a cold drink, such as kombucha or water kefir, where the constant temperature allows the full flavour of the herb to be infused, and can help reduce bitterness.
In cocktails, herbs can also be infused in simple syrups or used as a garnish. Rosemary’s smoky flavour, for example, works particularly well with citrus and food flavour manufacturers sweet drinks, as does mint. Other interesting herbal flavours to try include fennel, which can add a bold and refreshing bitterness, and silver thyme, which has a pine flavour.
Spices can be used to create a wide range of flavor experiences. They can provide the six basic taste perceptions of sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and hot and also deliver secondary effects such as nutritional, health, or preservative functions.
Whole spices, whether ground or whole, provide aroma and texture. They are rich in volatile oils, which give them their characteristic aromas. The ratio of volatile to nonvolatile components varies between varieties within a species, and can be affected by growing and harvesting conditions as well as storage and processing methods.
The oily volatiles of whole spices can be lost during storage, and their volatile properties can evaporate when they are exposed to high temperatures, especially in aqueous systems. As a result, the aromas of whole spices are typically more difficult to stabilize and maintain over time than are those of dry spice blends.
Aside from the five basic tastes of bitter, salty, acidic, sweet and umami our tongue is also equipped with a number of other sensors. These are referred to as taste buds and allow us to perceive a wide variety of flavors including, but not limited to, the taste of vegetables.
Vegetable flavour ingredients can offer beverage manufacturers the opportunity to deliver an added nutritional benefit. They can be used to help address the growing consumer concern for reducing sugar levels in beverages, whilst delivering a fruity or natural taste.
Vegetable flavours are often grouped according to the part of the vegetable from which they originate. This includes root vegetables, brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnip and swede) and alliums (onions, garlic and leeks). Vegetables may also be classified by color, with green vegetables being those that contain chlorophyll, orange vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes containing carotene, and white vegetables containing flavonoids.