Cover Story: Flavors to Watch

FONA’s Flavor Radar mixes current data points from industry-renowned databases and in-depth analysis on how a flavor trend is affecting the food industry. Combining a comprehensive set of indicators—including restaurant menus, new product introductions and print media data—with analysis, enables the reduction of speculation from the study of flavor trends. The Flavor Radar encompasses four categories: novel, up-and-coming, mainstream and everyday. These different categories are driven by a combination of factors, including a flavor’s appearance on restaurant menus from fine dining to quick service, new product introductions from stage one (premium product) to stage three (national brand), and print media publications that appeal to a range of consumers from the gastronomic consummate to the casual gourmand. Presented in this article is just a sampling of some of the flavors that have been mapped on the Flavor Radar.


The most popular variety of the mandarin orange in Japan, the satsuma (unshu mikan), was first introduced to the United States in 1878. Grown commercially in southern Louisiana and southern Texas as well as Florida, the satsuma fruit turns bright orange as it ripens in late fall. With an intoxicating aromatic peel, the satsuma is almost seedless, and its flavor is juicy, very sweet and low in acid. Satsuma has recently appeared on fine dining menus mainly in dessert form. Recent features include:

  • Warm chocolate crepes with pistachio brittle and candied satsuma sherbet; Bayona Restaurant, Q4 2007, Louisiana 
  • Frozen honey mousse with satsuma mandarin and Jurançon granite; Farallon, Q4 2007, San Francisco

While commonplace in Japanese drinks and confections, satsuma is much more obscure in the US new product landscape. Though not featured in a food or beverage, satsuma was recently spotted at The Body Shop in a scented candle. Satsuma is mapped as novel on the Flavor Radar.

Other flavors discussed: Feijoa, Yangmei (Chinese Bayberry, Yumberry), Mangosteen, Prickly Pear, Lychee

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