Esarom, an Austrian flavor producer, is predicting apple as the top flavor for 2020, Food Ingredients 1st reported. The company noted the range of tastes in apple flavors — from apple blossoms to those fruits that have been processed — could be used in cider, spirits, pie or baked apple.
Esarom has been tapping into that diversity to develop an extensive apple ingredient portfolio, the publication said. Individual apple varieties contribute to certain flavors, while formulations can be made to be juicy and sweet, crispy and fresh or sour and tangy, Esarom said. The company makes both natural flavors for use in organic products and nature-identical flavors.
Susanne Winter, Esarom's head of marketing, told Food Ingredients 1st the company has become familiar with several types of apples. "Gala, Braeburn, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith are popular and well-known apple varieties — so it makes sense to play with those types of flavors," she said.
Apple can be a popular flavor in foods and beverages, but whether it will become the front-runner among all flavors next year remains to be seen. It makes sense for Esarom to predict it because the company has developed a range of apple ingredients and probably would like to draw manufacturers' attention to it.
Products featuring fruit flavors also may benefit from the better-for-you trend. Apples in particular are generally considered healthy — hence the old adage about "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" — so people wanting to boost soluble fiber and potassium could be more inclined to seek them out in foods and beverages.
A study published in 2015 in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at nutritional data from about 8,400 adults — including 753 who consumed an apple daily. While researchers found the evidence didn't support the old adage, they concluded the small fraction of U.S. adults who eat an apple a day appear to use fewer prescription medications.
Esarom predicted the top flavor would be cherry in 2019 and mango in 2018, according to Food Navigator. Cherry-flavored products in recent years have posted modest growth, with Innova Market Insights noting just a 1% average annual growth in launches featuring it from 2014 to 2018, Food Ingredients 1st said. Mango has had more success with Innova saying that said global launches featuring the fruit jumped 240% from 2008 to 2018, Food Navigator reported.
When it comes to natural apples, however, there have been some application challenges. As a result, processing companies such as Fourayes have been developing ingredient solutions, and companies have been breeding apple varieties that are more resistant to browning like the Arctic apple of offer a longer shelf life.
The Cosmic Crisp apple developed by Washington State University is the latest example. The much-touted cross between the Honeycrisp and the Enterprise is expected to hit shelves in December, according to Eater. Excitement over this new apple, which is said to have the disease-resistant durability of the Enterprise and the crunchy flavor of the Honeycrisp, could further enhance development of products using apple flavors and ingredients.
Esarom predicted the apple will find favor next year because it's a local staple in most places and it also blends well with other fruits, herbs and spices. As a result, consumers are likely to find apple-ginger, apple-hop and apple-cherry flavors, the company said, while apple-pear, apple-raspberry and apple-cinnamon could be seasonably popular. These are adaptable to a wide range of products — drinks, cereals, snacks, among others — so consumers might have even more fruit flavor options next year.