Swiss perfume and flavor company, Ferminech, has dubbed fig as “Flavor of the Year” for 2018 based on the growing popularity of this fruit as an ingredient. Known for its sweet flavor and health benefits, Ferminech sees a lot of potential for this fruit.
“With its numerous health benefits and sweet and satisfying flavor profile, fig offers endless opportunities to inspire our customers and delight their consumers across a wide range of food categories,” Chris Millington, president of Firmenich’s Flavor Division, told Food Ingredients First.
Fig had gained its popularity in the American market through chewy Fig Newtons, a cookie product manufactured by Mondelez. Now, figs are ingredients in a variety of products like yogurts, drinks, tea, chewing gum and other snacks. These sweet fruits can also be seen in restaurants wrapped in bacon or as pizza toppings.
Ferminech’s new announcement could be the start of many innovative health products that incorporate figs. According to the company, Innova Market Insights reported figs to be growing at a CAGR of 16.5 percent as an ingredient in foods. The exotic fruit’s sweet, chewy and crunchy texture makes it appealing to a variety of consumers. Topping that off with health benefits such as high fibre and a good source of vitamins and minerals makes this fruit a functional ingredient.
“The trend in everything, everything bagel seasoning that is, has taken over. Long gone are the days of ordering one at your local bagel shop to get your fix. Everything is everywhere: crackers, donuts, yogurt, potato chips, pretzels, and hummus, to name a few. If everything is ‘too much,’ and you, like many consumers, are looking to return to your roots, ancient ingredients such as figs, beets and turmeric are exactly the trends you need. The health benefits of these superfoods paired with their tasty flavor profiles is a winning combination that delights consumers,” said Jennifer Luzes, Global Strategic Foresight Manager at Firmenich.
Luzes goes on to point out that healthy ingredients are the new trend. Consumers are leaning towards natural and organic sources of nutrition as processed and bioengineered products lose popularity.
“Consumers have become more aware of the food they consume and how it is produced. Within this awakening, there is certainly more attention being paid to the health benefits of each item consumed as well as the sustainability and ethics of each product. As more consumers begin eating consciously, it is no longer enough for a brand to create delicious and nutritious food and beverages. Each brand must stand for something to retain its fans, especially among younger generations. ‘Eating wide awake’ is a movement that is only gaining more momentum, notably through social media. Expect to see a rise in hyper-personalized nutrition and diet plans, as well as more doctors prescribing food as medicine,” she concluded.