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Beverage ingredients follow taste of Africa trend

By Sarah Hills , 29-Sep-2008

A range of African-inspired flavours for beverages are being introduced by Symrise as it taps into the growing popularity of African ingredients which offer the novelty factor as well as health benefits.

The African Inspirations series include liqueurs, flavored vodkas, beer mixers and ciders with “exotic” fruits and spices. The company claims that the products are natural as they contain high-quality extracts and distillates obtained from native raw materials.

For example the cacao liqueur uses a blend of cacao from the Ivory Coast and typical African spices such as cardamom, while the cider has a rooibos flavour note. Rooibos, or red bush, is a plant commonly used in tea in South Africa.

They are part of a range of new concepts to be unveiled at the 2008 BRAU Beviale event, which will take place between November 12 and 14 in Nuremberg.

Symrise said the beverage concepts have mainly been developed for the EAME (Europe, Africa, Middle East) region and it was focusing on ideas that underscored the “long-term megatrends of health, indulgence and convenience”.

The African appeal

Other industry innovators have also sought inspiration from African flavours, particularly in the superfruit category, in a bid to both harness their healthy reputation and counter consumer boredom.

Last year Treatt launched two new flavour ingredients of African origin; Tamarind Treattarome 9860 and Rooibos Treattarome 9762. Rooibos has built up a strong following for its superior antioxidant content.

Meanwhile Africa farmers could be set to tap into a billion dollar industry as in June, the baobab fruit pulp obtained novel foods approval for use in products for the European market.

Baobab is the large green or brown fruit of the Adansonia digitata, (or 'upside-down') tree, which grows primarily in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The pulp is said to have an antioxidant activity about four times that of kiwi or apple pulp. Anticipated products include smoothies and cereal bars.

Beverage concepts

Symrise used findings from consumer and trend research as a basis for developing its product concepts, which it says encompass growth segments in the alcoholic beverage market, such as ciders, liqueurs, flavored vodkas and beer mix drinks.

It looked at top-selling items on the market for non-alcoholic beverages, such as near waters (flavored water), fruit juice beverages and organic drinks. The company also hopes to revive what it describes as the stagnating carbonates market with one of its own in-house “sparkling premium” product concepts after a survey identified a high level of consumer acceptance for premium carbonates.

The Good Conscience product series includes a premium carbonate known as Fancy. This is a reduced-calorie refresher with lemon and mango/pineapple notes and is described as “kind to the waistline without the use of artificial sweeteners, and has a higher concentration of juice than most carbonates”.

Symrise added: “The second concept, Home-made, is especially well suited for on-trade, among other applications. This carbonate is based on pure fruit juice and fruit extracts with traditional, local flavors – classic, unadulterated, no artificial flavors, sweeteners or additives, and it tastes especially good”.

In the superfruit cateogory, Symrise combined fruits such as cupuaçu with acerola and aronia with goji. Its near water concepts include combinations of pomegranate, seabuckthorn, acerola and açai.

Symrise cited emerging markets in which it is active as having a very positive effect on its first half results. European, Africa, & Middle Eastern (EAME) sales were up from 186.4m to 188.9 in local currencies; and Asia Pacific from €62.9 to €66.5. Only South America saw a small dip, from €22.8 to €22.3.

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