Bell Flavors highlights botanical extracts as a key theme for 2018

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22 Jan 2018 --- The rapid shift towards more natural and organic products is expected to drive the global level market growth of botanical extracts, according to Bell Flavors and Fragrances. The usage of botanical extracts in food and beverage products offers great taste as well as natural flavor, together with enhanced organoleptic characteristics and improved nutritional value – underlining its growing presence in the market.

Consumers seek for natural and non-artificial ingredients that are constantly driving the strength of clean label within the market. A growing focus on transparency and natural claims underline the strong need for ingredients that continue to deliver higher value. Therefore, innovations with regard to clean, natural ingredients, such as botanical extracts, are a key focus for Bell Flavors & Fragrances EMEA.

Click to EnlargeAgneta Hoffmann, Marketing Specialist at Bell, recently spoke with FoodIngredientsFirst about the companies’ trends and visions for 2018. “Our number one topic for this year is our botanical extracts, natural ingredients are a key focus for us in 2018 and that’s why we created a new range of botanical extracts for a wide range of applications.”

“We see that they are the best solutions for answering today’s consumer's concerns around clean label, and inspires products for the market segments, relating to natural and ‘back to nature’ themes, especially driven by ongoing health, wellness and authenticity trends,” she explains. “Authenticity is the main buzzword, it’s not only a major food and drink trend but it is also pushing boundaries and narrating the purchasing behavior of the consumers.”Click to Enlarge

Hoffmann believes that the clean label market is still growing and expects it to grow rapidly in the next five years as well. Consumers are also willing to pay a higher price for premium products within the clean label food and drink segment, especially among  younger consumers and millennials, who are looking for health benefits from food items. “There is a growing focus on transparency and natural claims, which shows that we need to form ingredients that deliver those values to the consumers and that’s why we put our emphasis on clean and natural ingredients such as our botanical extracts range.”

“Even on a global scale, we are seeing this shift towards natural and clean label, not only in Western Europe but also in other parts of the world,” says Hoffmann. “With the interest rising in botanical extracts, their presence in the market, I believe, will be much higher this year and also in the coming years. Currently, about 10 percent of global food and drink launches are listing herbal extracts on the pack,” she adds. 

In line with these trends, Bell has developed a range of inspiring clean label; botanical extracts solutions which can be applied to dairy, savory and beverage applications. “We have a range of floral, fruit and vegetable-based extracts, as well as herbs and spices, meaning there are healthy innovative ingredients that offer a taste, not only by themselves but in a variety of combinations,” she states.

“For example, our rosemary extracts and herb mushroom extract blends can typically be used for savory applications and we also have a rose blossom extract, which is great for dairy applications. Dairy flavors have been huge for us in the last couple of years, which is still ongoing and not declining at all,” Hoffmann says.

Innova Market Insights tipped “Beyond the Coffeehouse” as trend number five for 2018 and Hoffmann agrees with this notion. “One of the major trends we have noted is ‘Cold-Brewed Coffee 2.0.,’” she confirms, “Coffee has seen a rapid increase in the past year, it is also expected to grow and become a staple for many customers in 2018. And it’s definitely a trend that is here to stay for us.”

Click to Enlarge“We took a deeper look into the coffee hype and we saw that there two major trends taking cold-brewed coffee phenomena to the next stage. Firstly, with the increasing amount of dairy launches, on an indulgent platform, calls for a premium positioning for the dairy drinks side, so we have been tapping into this cold-brewed way of life, by creating a range of cold brewed coffee notes designed specifically for this purpose.”

“We also see a strong trend of combining premium cold-brew coffee notes with sweet notes, such as maple or other brown notes, and other the hand, the innovation on the flavors side, we see a trend for  floral notes, being combined with coffee notes, which interlinks the botanical movement for this year,” Hoffmann reveals.

“This is the main topic for many foods and drinks forecasts; floral notes and coffee match very well together, as coffee has many aromas, and some of them pair very well with floral tones,” she says. 

Elsewhere in the business, Bell is looking to develop a range of cold brew coffee notes for refreshing, energizing, soft drinks. “This is really about mixing the cold-brew coffee notes with soda water so we have a bubbly ice Americano, for example, its very summer appropriate way to get your morning buzz,” Hoffmann continues, “And we wanted to offer an energizing alternative to a classic sweet iced tea, so these options can also contribute to growing influx of sugar reduced beverages, which is also a huge trend for this year. We wanted to combine the trend of artisan and craft inspired beverages, but also set the product apart from the rest by delivering a real extraordinary taste experience which is not so sweet,” she explains. “The combination of natural flavors and floral notes will be a huge trend among those products because combined with the cold brew notes, they offer a more sophisticated and less sweet, fresh taste blend, which we think will be hugely popular.”

Another important segment for Bell is the savory snacking category. “We see that culinary snacking is on the rise,” notes Hoffmann, “Which is driven towards a shift in new natural and healthy ingredients. It’s now all about, salt reduction, optimizing recipes for healthier versions, and in new convenience formats. Texture varieties and snacking throughout the day is very popular right now and has grown significantly in the last year. There is an ever-increasing variety of snacking options available now in the market, which is driving interest from consumers, and they are very interested in novelty, especially when it comes to food being ‘instagrammable’.”

Click to Enlarge“There is a bigger demand for more sophisticated snack nowadays, taste is still key of course,” she confirms, “Next to health issues, combining indulgence and premiumization, together with a pleasurable eating experience is one of our key trends when it comes to snacks, we see a lot of premium innovation, inspired by gourmet cuisines, or funky food and drink trends such as the craft beer movement.”
 
Bell’s flavor trends include combinations, of cheese, smoked truffle, caramelized onions and grilled meat notes. “These flavors are indulgent and premium and are very popular with today's consumers,” she adds. We base many of our innovations around and culinary flavors, inspiring natural seasonings, for vegetable chips, sweet potatoes, nuts, seeds and so on.”

“Our smoke flavors don’t need to be declared as smoke flavors, they are not artificial, and they are completely natural which also compliments our trends for this year and the clean label movement.”

Looking to 2018, Hoffmann believes that health and wellness trends will have a huge impact this year: “We will see a shift to a more relaxed and health-conscious theme for this year, and the sports drinks and sports nutrition category will be heavily impacted as it has been for the last two years,” she concludes.  

By Elizabeth Green

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