Frutarom has a history of citrus flavours stretching right back to its inception in 933, when it used Israeli grapefruits as a raw material.
The new range has been developed as part of the new Citrus Competence programme and is based on a number of parameters that have not always been in evidence in citrus flavours on the market. These include refreshment, true-to-life, true-to-nature, natural, enhanced stability, freshness.
“The future is nature,” Jim Moore, global category manager for beverages, told FoodNavigator.com – but added that flavours must be intrinsically linked to what the consumer thinks of as true-to-nature.
They must be “as close to the natural product from the tree as we can possibly get, so the consumer is left in no doubt that it is like eating a real clementine,” he said.
This has involved going back to the groves to understand what creates the juiciness or the green notes, or other characteristics. Knowledge of the sensory elements of taste is combined with understanding of the chemistry that makes up the citrus flavour, he explained.
“The importance of citrus is so critical and it has so many peculiarities and facets which make it so fascinating to work with,” Moore said. “What we are embarking on is the start of a complex route to understand what citrus is and how it works.”
The new flavours have all been developed with the new legislation on natural flavourings in mind. From 2011, natural flavours claiming to be ‘from the named fruit’ (FTNF) will have to originate 95 per cent from that fruit. The other 5 per cent can come from some other natural source.
Moore said that quality and sourcing are vital to the programme. The company has sources from several different regions, including Brazil and South East Asia, as well as Israel.
But there is great diversity in natural raw materials and ensuring flavours are consistent when fruits’ growing conditions can vary dramatically is a challenge. Frutarom can also draw on the portfolio of its Fine Ingredients division, which actively seeks out new raw materials.
The company will enter the second phase of the programme in 2010, which will involve more work on consumers’ understanding of freshness and refreshment – an area that is tricky because it is so subjective.
Moore said his team is looking to find out what really satisfies a consumer, in terms of freshness and refreshment, not just thirst quenching.
There will also be more in depth work of the importance of freshness related to stability, and use of flavours in non-beverage sectors like confectionery, bakery and dairy.
The Citrus Competence programme was designed for beverages, but it is important to create flavour profiles that work across other applications too. The flavours themselves would meet the same criteria of freshness, authenticity, true-to-nature, etc - but there may be technical aspects to be considered such as the need for them to withstand boiling temperatures when used in confectionery, for example.
Frutarom is not alone in revamping its citrus flavour range in line with demand for natural offerings. Last week Givaudan announced new lemon and lime flavours inspired by its flavourists’ sampling work at the University of California Riverside’s citrus grove.