Wild taps potential for fruit and blossom combos

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Wild is extending its use of blossoms in flavour blends for use in beverages and other products, and is working with more companies to use the likes of lavender, rose and elderberry in combination with fruit flavours.

The company has previously worked with blossoms in its beverage ingredient blends. However it has identified more opportunities for blossom notes in products like near waters and teas, particularly in its home market of Germany, as consumers are looking for more refreshing beverages with interesting, innovative flavors.

To meet this need, it has decided to bring together the various blossoms it uses into a defined range. It is now talking with manufacturers about combinations such as lavender and orange, strawberry and elderberry, and pomegranate and rose. A spokesperson from Wild's technical team told FoodNavigator.com: "We see that blossoms are very good combined with fruit. While the blossom gives a pleasant aroma, the fruit gives a good background."

He added that he does not think blossoms alone will be attractive to customers in Europe, as they may not consider that flowers are edible. Thus, using blossoms with fruits already accepted as edible would provide a level of reassurance in trying something new.

Although Wild can be very flexible about the balance between the blossoms and fruit, depending on the final recipe and the customer's precise needs.

Indeed while Wild has a range of flavours it can sell alone, the main intention is to work with customers on the concept and the recipe as the flavour may need to be adapted or optimised to work in the final product.

In some markets, blossoms may also be suitable for use in other kinds of products, the company says - particularly in mature categories like ice cream and chocolate where manufacturers are under constant pressure to develop products that stand out on retail shelves.

Wild plans to help steer these new uses, and the spokesperson said that the existing extracts could easily be adapted to work in different kinds of finished products.

Wild has a number of blossom flavours that are from the named product (FTNP), but others are blends of other flowers and ingredients. All are natural, however. Plans are also underway to expand the use of blossoms into other unusual combinations, such as blossoms with exotic fruits, herbs and spices.

The spokesperson explained that the extraction of the blossoms has not necessitated new technologies, but the company selects the right technology from its existing capabilities.

Some of the blossoms are extracted in-house, such as elderberry and camomile; for others, like rose oil from Bulgaria, the primary processing is carried out in the place of origin.

An emerging trend

Market research company Mintel sees the use of blossoms in food and beverage products as a trend in its very early stages and relatively uncommon. As such, it is not possible to give a scale of the impact these products have made on the market - nor how they may continue to evolve.

Mintel did note some recent examples of products using blossom flavours in different markets around the world, which it rated highly for innovation.

For instance, last year a UK company called Inside Out Beauty launched a water called Sip, which is enriched with herbal extracts including rose petal, sweet violet, Scottish heather blossom tops, marigold, and linden blossom, as well as vitamin C, white tea tincture and selenium.

Similarly in Australia, Balance Water Company launched a pure spring water product containing flower extracts, including black eyed susan, crowea, banksia robur, and bush fuschia.

In Canada, Langfood Foods launched cereal bars containing flower petal, called Langford Foods' Petals Garden Bars. The range is made without wheat flour and uses a buckwheat, milled rice flakes, selected seeds and a sprinkling of honey. The flowers form a garnish, and are chosen depending on the season.

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