Native to Mexico and Central America, mamey sapote is also a popular fruit in Central America, the Carribean and India where it also grows in the tropical climate.
According to international organisation Slow Food, mamey has a vibrant salmon-coloured flesh that is creamy in texture while its flavour is a combination of sweet potato and pumpkin with undertones of almond, chocolate, honey, and vanilla.
Karine Maffre, a flavourist at Aromatech said the flavour firm developed its mamey flavour following a specific request from one customer but chose to commercialise it more widely because it saw potential in the tropical fruit flavour.
“The most suitable market for this flavour is the USA, Latin America and Asia. From European manufacturers, demand will be rarer but, as you know, customers are more and more attracted by exotic fruit and it’s still a big trend.”
The flavour is available in powder and emulsion form and can be listed as ‘natural flavour’ on ingredient lists.
Demand for Aromatech’s flavour could well be given a boost thanks to mamey's long growing cycle and difficult storage requirements.
According to The Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida, it takes one year for mamey sapote to grow from flower to fruit, and then another year for the young fruit to ripen and become edible. Once picked, however, they ripen quickly making long-term storage difficult.
If they are picked prematurely from the tree, however, the fruit will never mature.
In Latin Amercia, mamey sapote is traditionally used to make ice cream or batidos – milkshakes made with milk, ice, mamey, vanilla and nutmeg.
Last year Aromatech launched a range of flavours specifically designed to appeal to African consumers.
The range includes baobab, tamarind and bissap (hibiscus flower) as well as lesser-known fruit – to European consumers at least – such as ditakh, cashew apple, madd and soursop.
Aromatech is a French company with its headquarters near Grasse in the south of France. It has subsidiaries in Turkey, Tunisia, Thailand and the USA where it has a factory and R&D lab.