Miyauchi Iyo tangor, Xie Shan Satsuma mandarin, Sidi Aissa clementine, Kabosu papeda hybrid: These are not household names in the citrus world. These and other somewhat obscure fruits comprise a fraction of the more than 1,000 varieties on display in the century-old University of California Riverside Citrus Variety Collection (www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu), the site of Givaudan’s ongoing trademarked Citrus TasteTrek program. These excursions—featuring marketing, R&D, applications and flavor chemists—present at-source exposure for creative and technical staff to rethink what citrus can be, to ask “what’s next,” and ultimately to develop flavors that are differentiated and provide signature.
The process involves a hands-on visit to the grove to gather sensory insights on preselected citrus varieties, and the analysis and vetting of various varietals, eventually resulting in new, winning citrus flavors for food and beverage customers. Last year’s crop of lemon and lime flavors—which could be formulated into applications such as soft drinks or iced tea RTDs—helped generate a 25% increase in interest from customers, according to Givaudan. In addition, the company uses the program to analyze citrus varieties for aroma volatiles of interest. Givaudan’s 2009 program resulted in 12 substantial leads for the company’s portfolio of orange, lemon and lime flavors.