Firmenich names fig the 2018 “Flavour of the Year”

Based on its growing appeal as a healthy and fruity flavour, Firmenich has announced its “Flavour of the Year” to be fig.

“A true feel-good flavour, fig is becoming increasingly popular with consumers, with fig flavoured products growing by more than 80% between 2012 and 2016,” says Chris Millington, president of Firmenich, flavours.

“With its numerous health benefits and sweet and satisfying flavour profile, fig offers endless opportunities to inspire our customers and delight their consumers across a wide range of food categories,” he adds.

According to Firmenich, from 2012 to 2016, the growth of fig flavored products (globally) increased by +84.3%.

Firmenich’s trend insights also show that fig resonates with consumers who perceive it to represent health and authenticity, two trends that topped Euromonitor’s outlook for 2017, and Firmenich believes these trends will continue into 2018. In addition, as consumers look to replace processed sugar with alternative sweeteners, fig has become a common go-to substitute.

“Figs are lusciously sugary with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds,” says Matthew Walter, head of culinary at Firmenich. “Raw figs are tart but make a tasty addition to spicy curries. One of my favorite dishes is anjeer murg (chicken and figs),” he adds.

From a flavour-profile perspective, the versatility of figs is what makes them so appealing, according to Anne-Claire Robineau, flavourist at Firmenich. “A fig is consumed in different formats, so it provides room for creativity to reflect different facets in top notes: fruitiness of the ripe fruit, green leafy notes of the fresh fruit, indulgent and rich notes of the dried version,” she explains. “From a flavour point of view it can be translated into fruity, jammy, floral, green, leafy, coumarinic, woody, winey, and sulfury dimensions.”

Fimenich became interested in fig during the Greek yogurt boom, which began in 2010. At the time, flavours connected to the beneficial properties of the Mediterranean diet had started to grow in popularity.

“Pomegranate, olive, dates, and fig were all on the rise and have continued to gain traction in recent years, but there is something about fig that we feel is special to this moment in time,” says Mikel Cirkus, director of strategic foresight at Firmenich.

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