One of the reliable truths of the food industry is that consumer tastes are constantly shifting and evolving. And to keep up with all the latest trends, food manufacturers always need to be innovating and developing new and exciting products. One perennial source of new product flavors is fruit; the truth is, though, that nature doesn’t make new fruits very often. That’s why food production companies rely on the endless combinations of fruit flavors to make their products stand out. Below are some of the most popular flavor combinations that consumers are seeing on the shelves.
Popular Fruit Flavor Combinations
There’s no doubt that some fruit flavors, whether they’re from fresh fruits or in the form of commercial ingredients like juices, essences, or purees, will always be popular in the United States and elsewhere around the world. Citrus flavors like lemon and lime have long been familiar in many different types of beverages, for instance, as well as various tropical flavors like mango and passion fruit. But even though these fruits will always be popular, the latest trend is to combine them with each other and less familiar flavors in unexpected and exciting ways:
- Add a touch of spice: Spiciness isn’t something one normally thinks of in the same context as fruit flavor, but the number of fruity and spicy combinations has increased in recent years. This is perhaps partially due to the influence of well-known cocktails like margaritas adding zesty jalapeno or chili peppers to fruit flavors like strawberry. Yet spicy ingredients are also being mixed into smoothies and shakes; for example, adding cayenne pepper to a smoothie with cucumber and lime gives you a refreshing fruit flavor with a little undercurrent of heat.
- Florals and botanicals: Maybe it’s because fruit comes from flowers that fruit and floral flavors seem to go so well together. When used in the right amount, flavors like lavender and elderflower are known to complement the tartness of citrus fruits; a great example of this new kind of combination is floral-infused lemonade. Yet fruits and flowers are also being combined in teas, cocktails, hard seltzers, and craft sodas. Even classic drinks like apple juice can become a fresh new experience with addition of a botanical like thyme or basil.
- Berry fusion: Berries have been used for their juice or to add flavor to dishes for a very long time, but there has been a recent push to bring different berries together in new combinations. Also, other types of berries that haven’t traditionally been popular are now the stars of new products; examples include acai, black currant, elderberry, and mulberry. There’s something about the tart and delicate berry flavor that pairs well with other kinds of fruit as well as floral, botanical, and even savory ingredients. Berries are also regularly now used with tropical fruits like mango and guava.
- International flavor: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to feel like a distant memory, interest in travel and cuisine from different countries around the world has soared. This has meant that everything from salsas and salads to beverages and desserts can be found with combinations of fruit and flavors associated with the culinary traditions of numerous countries. One example is an Indian fruit chutney made with mangoes and apricot that is seasoned with cumin, coriander, and pepper. Also numerous Mediterranean cultures are fond of using figs and dates with aromatic ingredients like rosewater.
- Salty and sweet: One of the most satisfying flavor combinations in recent years is salty and sweet. These two basic flavor categories are seemingly opposite, but the contrast the two provide is tasty and delightful. From prosciutto-wrapped melon chunks to salted apple chips, there are very few rules for how these flavors can be matched. This is largely because salt or salty ingredients can reduce the tartness or bitterness of fruits like pineapple, cranberry, or grapefruit. This effect of salt is also why it is frequently used on the rims of fruity cocktails.
- Herbal healing: Over the past few decades, as nutritional science continues to evolve and deepen, research has shown that fruits, herbs, and other plant products contain valuable natural compounds that can improve various aspects of health. Because of this, food manufacturers have been more and more interested in developing products that aim to improve health by including these plants. A wide variety of products use nutrient-dense fruits like blueberries, cherries, and oranges and then combine them with powders or essences that can provide additional health benefits. These added ingredients (for instance turmeric, green tea, or hemp) bring nutritional value at the same time as flavor, color, and sometimes texture.
FruitSmart Provides High Quality Ingredients
There’s no doubt that fruit is always a popular addition to many different kinds of food and beverage. But even though some of the base flavors may be incredibly familiar, there is literally no end to the combinations of flavor that are possible. At FruitSmart, we are passionate about providing only the best fruit juices, concentrates, essences, and purees to add delicious fruit flavor to any recipe. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about any of our amazing products or what it’s like to partner with FruitSmart.