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Firmenich has named lime as its Flavor of the Year for 2013 and plans to promote the flavor worldwide in its beverage, sweet goods and savory segments.
“Limes are small citrus gems,” said Aldo Uva, president of Firmenich Flavors. “They are small, yet powerful; dark and tough on the outside yet light and juicy on the inside; a classic flavor which surprises and delights the palate upon every encounter. There is also great compatibility with lime and other flavors, which broadens its appeal even more."
Taking a cue from global color authority Pantone, whose perennial Color of the Year is a driving force in the world of design and fashion, Firmenich said its expert panel has found that lime is a flavor that both comforts and excites, something that consumers are looking for.
“The shift is now back to more classic tastes, particularly those with a complex profile, which today's more sophisticated consumers tend to prefer," said Mikel Cirkus, director of conceptual design.
Meanwhile, there has been a rise in Latin-themed cuisine in the past year; lime is an important ingredient in dishes raging from Peruvian ceviche to Mexican chicken tortilla soup, according to Sandy Cook, a senior chef in Firmenich's savory unit.
“Also, foods from Southeast Asia, such as Thailand and Indonesia, maintain their steady influence on world cuisine, and lime is a force in many of those dishes," said Cook, who believes its the combination of sweet and bitter that lends itself so well to savory dishes.
Cook added that mentions of lime on restaurant food menus have increased 14% between Sept. 2011 and September 2012, according to Mintel Menu Insights.
Sales of lime flavor and variations of lime have been consistently been rising over the past years; the ingredient is used throughout the world in beverages such as lemon-lime soft drinks and margaritas as well as in candy, gum, sweet goods and desserts, such as the classic Key lime pie.
In particular, lime is also being used more often in savory dishes, a trend the company believes will continue into 2013 and beyond. Firmenich predicts lime will appear in all types of product lines in 2013 ranging from Key lime vodkas and ice cream to mojito yogurt; raspberry-lime ready-to-drink teas; lime dressings, sauces and marinades.
Also in 2013, Firmenich is sending its trend forecasters out in the field, all around the world, to scope out the next wave of food and beverage trends in order to identify the 2014 Flavor of the Year.