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Firmenich tips blackberry as “Flavour of 2014”

In the family of “super foods”, the blackberry itself is rich in antioxidants and other powerful nutrients. Its flavour profile is just as powerful and its complexity is what drives its appeal.

Berry flavours have always been popular, yet recently consumers are even more attracted to the interesting profile of Blackberry. Firmenich says this reflects a more general consumer desire to explore and to push the boundaries within the safety of familiar concepts.

Similar to last year’s flavour of the year – the refreshing lime – this year’s tastebud-bursting blackberry stands out within its fruity family with its unique, intriguing profile, something that consumers continue to relate to in a world where being unique is something to celebrate.

“Consumers are becoming highly discerning in their preferences, opting for more and more complexity in flavour profiles. This has caused a natural evolution towards profiles such as blackberry,” says Hidemi Tashiro, a master flavourist at Firmenich.

David Lyon, director of Firmenich’s Global Sensory team, a group responsible for analyzing the profiles of thousands of flavours each year, explains the appeal further: “According to AromaSphere, our proprietary tool to categorize the consumer language of flavour, the words that describe the profile of blackberry indicate the complexity of the flavour profile: ripe, sweet, acidic, juicy, seedy, jammy, spicy, and even floral at low levels,” he explains.

“These are the elements that interact with and complement each other, creating a complex profile with wide-reaching appeal,” adds Tashiro.

Firmenich believes that the Millennials are helping to drive this trend towards blackberry. They are a group of consumers who despite knowing exactly what they want, are also drawn to adventure. Blackberry, with its delicate nuances, has the ability to surprise the palate with every bite.

Beyond the traditional berry applications such as dairy, Firmenich is seeing blackberry trends in other categories as well, noting Kashi’s Blackberry Graham cereal bars; beverage brand IZZE’s Sparkling Blackberry drink; and McDonald’s new Blackberry Raspberry Fruit Tea Fusion as just a few examples.

Yet this trend goes beyond the world of retail and into restaurants as well. Firmenich cites menu items such as roasted rack of wild boar with a blackberry, sage and balsamic reduction; sweet potato quinoa cakes with blackberry salsa; and blackberry and fennel pizza as menu items recently spotted by their trend watchers around the world.

Because Blackberry is so versatile, the company is seeing it married with other spices and fruits.

“Blackberry is such a fun flavour to work with,” says master flavourist Robin Trumm. “It pairs well with many other flavours including black pepper, apricot, champagne, citrus, plums, Port, and ginger, just to a name a few.”

The company predicts blackberry products will continue to increase and is currently developing beverage concepts such as blackberry ginger tea.

In Sweet Goods, blackberry will now be included in the company’s Haute Couture line of cereal flavours, which combines ancient grains and berries. Giving a nod to consumers’ indulgent cravings, there is also a blackberry flavour-filled donut cereal bar in the works.

Within the Savory segment, applications such as honey blackberry salad dressing and ginger blackberry mustard glaze are in development, and will soon be ready to take to customers worldwide.

Firmenich is the world’s largest privately-owned company (No 2 worldwide) in the fragrance and flavour business.

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