- Irish ingredients company Kerry released a new line of natural citrus extracts, according to a release from the company. The citrus flavors include lime, lemon, orange and tangerine with plans to launch additional flavors.
- The New! Citrus Extract is water soluble and colorless, with Kerry saying they are ideal for sparkling and still flavored waters, ready-to-drink beverages and alcoholic options such as hard seltzers and mocktails. Since these extracts are derived from fruit using a liquid extraction process, they are highly concentrated with reduced levels of organic compounds known as terpenes and sesquiterpenes.
- Citrus flavors have seen an uptick in popularity in recent months as consumers look for natural immunity boosters during the pandemic. In May, orange juice sales hit their highest peak since January 2015.
This new line, which can be used in a variety of applications, is being introduced at exactly the right time. While these flavors have been on the rise in recent years — more than 50% of all beverages are at least partially citrus based — the immunity-boosting attributes associated with these fruits have only increased their popularity.
Sourcing these popular flavors, however, has been difficult in the past few years. Orange trees are faced with “greening” that makes the fruit unmarketable. While this malady continues to be a headache for farmers, this year’s weather-related disasters in Florida and Brazil — two of the largest citrus-producing regions — have further driven up prices.
Kerry’s extracts are highly concentrated, offering the possibility for manufacturers to adhere to a “less is more” approach. The technique used to distill these super-concentrated extracts also creates a taste profile to these extracts that Kerry said is “vibrant, juicy, aromatic and intense, with a clean lingering effect.”
These extracts also will enable manufacturers to clean up their labels by substituting terms such as “natural citrus flavor” with “natural citrus extract.” Clean labels have been an area of interest for Kerry in recent years. In 2019, the company introduced a line of plant-based ingredients for use with proteins and dairy alternatives that feature better-for-you claims like gluten-free, and reduce fat, sugar or salt. Last May, Kerry acquired clean label food protection capabilities through the acquisition of two companies, Georgia-based IsoAge Technologies and Biosecur Lab.
Adding clean label citrus flavorings not only expands Kerry's better-for-you portfolio and natural offerings, but it allows the company to capitalize on consumer trends. Having an extract to replicate the taste of these Vitamin C-filled fruits enables Kerry to cater directly to consumer demands for both flavor and health. Beneo, an ingredient supplier, found in 2018 that using natural ingredients and having clean labels surpasses brand recognition and product descriptions as the most important consideration for consumers when purchasing a food product.
Other ingredient companies such as International Flavors & Fragrances, Symrise and Bontoux also offer citrus extracts. However, Kerry’s reduced levels of terpenes and sesquiterpenes make its line stand out.
It is clear that Kerry is positioning itself for future growth through innovation. In July, the ingredients firm released a line of botanical extracts designed for use in low- and nonalcoholic beverages. And in February, Kerry acquired Pevesa Biotech, a Spanish company specializing in non-allergenic and organic plant protein ingredients. Such forward movement will likely prove beneficial for the company in the long run.
A survey from food innovation lab Mattson found innovation is still going strong, with two-thirds of manufacturers working on new concepts and 65% working on new products. Not only are companies pushing forward with innovation, but consumers are ready to give new products a try despite the ongoing pandemic. Mattson found 58% of consumers said they are ready to purchase them. This promise could create another impetus for companies to try to use new ingredients in their products like Kerry's citrus extract.