Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned fragrance and taste company has announced Magical Botanical to be its 2022 Flavor of the Year as it responds to a transformed society’s need for enhanced wellbeing and creativity.
According to Emmanuel Butstraen, President of Firmenich’s Taste & Beyond division, “We tapped into the extraordinary talent and creativity of Firmenich Flavorists across the world to create something entirely new, inspired by the transformative and healing notions of botanicals.”
Magical Botanical draws its inspiration from the latest Pantone® Color of the Year 2022, and the transformative power and magical nature of botanicals, ushering in a new era for inspired flavor creation.
Magical Botanical flavors were designed around a core of intriguing botanical ingredients and culinary herbs of natural origin and traceable sourcing, and known for their healing and immunity-supporting powers. Firmenich Creators paired these ingredients with dynamic elements of surprise and delight, transforming them into great-tasting flavors. The resulting flavor collection was designed to inspire new creativity in a wide variety of applications across sweet goods, savory foods and beverages.
This marks the first time Firmenich has created a new flavor by blending a variety of natural elements for its Flavor of the Year launch. This year also brings the unveiling of a sensory partnership between Firmenich and the global color authority, Pantone. Inspired by an unprecedented moment of global transformation, both Firmenich and Pantone have chosen to introduce entirely new creations as the Firmenich Flavor of the Year and the Pantone Color of the Year™, respectively.
Pantone Color of the Year 2022 is PANTONE®?17-3938 Very Peri, an entirely new periwinkle blue hue enhanced with a vibrant violet red undertone. It was created by Pantone using the universal language of color to reflect these uniquely transformative times.
Mikel Cirkus, Global Creative Director, Taste & Beyond said, “Like Pantone Very Peri™, Firmenich’s Flavor of the Year aims to capture the emerging themes we’re seeing in the world around us, by translating new trends and consumer emotions into positive sensory experiences. For 2022, we have tuned in to the global transformation and heightened focus on wellbeing. Over the last 18 months, our collective experience of radical uncertainty has sparked a great transformation. From this, our perspectives, priorities and expectations are changing. Still unsure of what the altered landscape holds, people are none the less embracing its possibilities with hope. We created our Magical Botanical collection to reflect this societal transformation and the new consumer needs it is creating, as people nurture their own creativity, hopes and personal wellbeing.”
Firmenich’s proprietary Flavor Knowledge Portal, fueled by Mintel GNPD data, leverages more than 10 years’ worth of data across millions of launched products to uncover patterns and trends around food and beverage innovation. This data reveals that even before COVID, food & beverage companies began accelerating their bets on botanicals. Firmenich Global Head of Human Insights, Jeff Schmoyer said, “Growth in products that announce botanical on front of pack has been exceptional, with over 1,300 launches expected this year and accelerating growth of 29% CAGR since 2017.” Botanicals are usually applied across an exceptionally wide array of categories from hot drinks, alcoholic drinks and baked goods. It has also found new applications in sauces, snacks, juices, nutritional drinks, confectionery and desserts to meet consumers’ growing desire for natural, healthy transformations to their diets. In sensory terms, this is driving growth in the use of flavor notes classifed as flowery, herbal, and tea tonalities within its AromaSphere™ flavor description system, across these same categories.
Botanicals lend themselves naturally to creative blending in food & beverages. Over the past decade, the use of combinations of flavors had been on a steady increase in launched consumer packaged goods (CPG’s), cresting at 45% of all launches in 2018. In the most recent wave of Firmenich’s global consumer tracking across 22 countries, the top 3 behavior changes noted by consumers during the past year were “made a major improvement in cooking ability”, “became more passionate about food overall” and “increased use of herbs & spices”. According to Schmoyer, :all of this points to a surge in intentional consumer creativity, and interest in learning to work with and combine nature’s most aromatic and culinarily relevant plants to create unexpected food and drink experiences for the future.”