It has been a year since Wild’s acquisition of US-based mint specialist AM Todd and the flavours and ingredients firm says the deal has borne fruit on several levels – including allowing it to tap into new consumer flavour trends.
Mint is in high demand across the world, but natural mint oil prices have tended to be volatile over the past few years, and supply has fluctuated as growers have been offered better prices for other crops, particularly corn for ethanol production.
When Wild first acquired AM Todd, it said adding to its existing ingredient flavour and ingredient range would allow it to expand into new markets and channels, and also help its customers’ growth through new business lines.
Looking back over the past year, Wild says trends have moved in exactly this direction, with new carbonated soft drinks, ready-to-drink tea and waters flavoured with mint. It has also seen mint combined with other flavours, such as citrus and other fruits.
Speaking with FoodNavigator, director of global mint product management and strategy for Wild’s AM Todd division, Chuck Dodson, said that the company has been able to use its knowledge of mint agriculture to produce specific flavour profiles for its customers.
“We have been able to develop plants that are higher yielding and more disease resistant which is important in meeting higher demand,” he said.
“We have also been able to produce plants naturally that have slightly different tasting oils. This allows our customers to have different taste varieties that are unique to the products they are taking to market.”
Apart from its mint fields in the United States, the company also has farms in India, just north of Mumbai – the site of one of the largest mint growing areas outside of the US.
Although there are more than 600 mint varieties in the world, only four are grown for commercial use, Dodson said: Scotch spearmint, native spearmint, peppermint, and arvensis. Arvensis is generally the cheapest variety and is mostly grown in India, although it is “beginning to approach the cost of North American mint”.