In its roll-call for top sweet flavours this year, US flavour firm Bell Flavors projects acai, an exotic berry that packs a powerful antioxidant punch, will lead the top ten list.
The popularity of acai, a small, round, black-purple fruit long consumed by native Indians in the Amazon region of Brazil, gained momentum in 2008 as consumers increasingly turned to its juice for a gulp of nutrients and antioxidants.
Further, acai slots neatly into the growing area of 'superfruits', a term coined by the food and beverage industry to refer to a fruit or extract – frequently sold at a premium – which combines strong nutrient richness and antioxidant quality with an appealing taste.
The top ten
Further exotic fruits were pin-pointed by Bell in its sweet flavour rundown for 2009 such as yuzu, a citrus fruit originating in East Asia, which the flavour firm slots into second position after acai. Guavasteen – or pineapple guava – a juicy fruit with a sweet, aromatic flavour, took the number three slot.
The remaining sweet flavours predicted by Bell in descending order are: red or black currants; acerola, a tropical fruit cultivated for its high vitamin C content; lychee; camu camu, an acidic Amazonian fruit bursting with vitamin C; marula, a traditional food plant in Africa that may have the potential to improve nutrition; persimmon, one species of which is known more commonly as 'kaki'; and finally, figs.
According to the Illinois-based firm, its top ten list reflects “in depth analysis of three specific markets categories”, tabulated through three methods.
The first method is to track samples that have been requested over a 12 month period, and the second method is ‘Trend Scouting’ the flavours, as performed by the company's marketing & R&D departments and drawing from four continents.
For the third method Bell compiled flavour trends from "our external resources and suppliers, Mintel, media, and other credible sources."