Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, June 2018

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LAST BITE ■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 62 JUNE 2018 BY JENNIFER PRINCE, ASSOCIATE EDITOR C lean-label f avors are no longer a trend but a requirement of today's discerning food and drink consumers. While consum- ers and manufacturers have their own ideas about what constitutes a clean-label f avor, Dave Franz, senior director, business devel- opment, Kerry Ingredients (Beloit, WI), tells Nutritional Outlook that generally, clean-label f avors are considered to be those that are all natural, or "natural WONF" ("with other natural f avors") added for f avor complexity. While demand is growing for natural f avors, however, it can be dif cult for f avor suppliers to actually get their hands on the source ma- terials for certain natural f avors. Here's a look at some of the biggest challenges f avor f rms say they are facing now. According to Philip Caputo, marketing and consumer insights manager, Virginia Dare (Brooklyn, NY), the raw materials for certain trendy superfruit f avors can be dif - cult to bring in house. "Exotic" natural f avors like mangosteen and dragon fruit (pictured), among others, are often sourced abroad, which means that they must be shipped overseas without losing their f avor. Karen Manheimer, vice president, natural products division, Kerry Ingredients, explains that "'in demand' products such as…mangosteen, dragon fruit, snake skin fruit, etc., are dif cult to transport from their country of origin. Of- ten these fruits are delicious when fresh but lose their appeal when they are processed into juice or other ingredients that could be used in a natural f avor." Another reason these exotic f avor materi- als are dif cult to source is because of the scale of their supply, says Caputo. "In many cases, the raw ingredient supply simply doesn't exist at the volume required to develop natural f a- vors with ease," he says. For example, although blood orange is now a popular f avor, a few years ago it was dif - cult to f nd in products and on menus. As con- sumer desire for blood orange has grown, U.S. growers have started growing the crop to help meet the demand, he says. Up-and-coming f avors like dragon fruit aren't the only f avors that can be dif cult to source. Take vanilla, for instance—a consumer-beloved f avor that is universally used. It is well known that monsoons have impacted slow-growing vanilla crops in re- cent years, causing worldwide shortages. Humans can also be as much to blame for raw material sourcing dilemmas as Mother Nature, says Cyndie Lipka, master f avorist, Prinova (Carol Stream, IL): "T e shortage of [vanilla] beans makes the crop very valuable, and there have been instances where the en- tire crop is stolen. Some farmers get nervous and they wind up harvesting early when beans are not at their best from a f avor de- velopment standpoint." Lipka adds that crop shortages aside, vanilla beans are also "quite f nicky, and require hand pollination for a bean to grow." Citrus crops, meanwhile, are also facing unforeseen ecological setbacks. Lipka cites USDA data estimating that 2018's citrus crop yield will be the smallest it's been since the 1940s, due to various environmental im- pacts. "Oranges have been demolished by a vector-transmitted pathogen which causes a disease called Huanglongbing, or HLB," she says. "T is insect [transmitting this pathogen] af ects trees by killing branches, causing unsellable bitter fruit and stunting growth." U.S. grapefruit crops have also been nearly decimated by natural disasters. Kerry Ingre- dients' Manheimer states that while the "best quality" grapefruit oil is produced in Florida, recent years have seen many acres of grape- fruit crops destroyed by hurricanes. T is is a big concern for many in the beverage space who rely on the popular f avor in beverage formulations. It's worth noting that there are many trending f avor ingredients that do not come with some of the sourcing challenges that other unique f avors do. Manheimer points to turmeric extract, ginger oil, cinnamon oil, and cardamom oil, which she says are cur- rently less dif cult to source. COFFEE LOVER/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM A Sourcing Situation Flavor fi rms discuss some of the challenges they face when sourcing natural, clean-label fl avors.

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