April 10th 2018
Looking at flowers and other plants for wellbeing and flavouring is nothing new; herb and spice gardens date back to the beginnings of civilization. From herbal medicines to perfumes, the ancients found uses for much of what nature provided.
In the culinary world, botanical extracts like rosewater and orange blossom water have flavoured the cuisines of countries from Morocco to Persia for millennia, and in India, chai tea was used as a healing beverage dating back into prehistory.
Here at home in the present day, flower parts and botanical extracts used in food preparation are growing in popularity. The driving forces behind the trend are baby boomers who are looking to food as a source of wellbeing in their senior years, instead of pills. Millennials, who prize clean labels, alternatives to processed ingredients, and buzz-worthy, Instagramable food, are also gobbling up the trend. Both these groups want functional food - food that does more than please the tongue and fill the tummy.
Few ingredients are more functional than botanical extracts, carefully crafted from flowers and other plants. They can add visual appeal, wellness benefits, and flavour to a food or beverage application. The perception of botanical ingredients as natural and therefore wholesome and healthy, can also bring instant cachet to a product, giving it highly sought-after clean label appeal to consumers.
Which botanicals are in demand? Ginger and dandelions are appearing in many trendy recipes this year. Rosewater is back in a big way, buoyed by the surging popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine. And, cherry blossoms, both the actual flowers and the extracts, are a perfect ingredient for an authentic flavour, especially in Japanese cuisine.
Here in North America, lavender is blooming, cropping up in chocolate, cakes, cocktails, and more. Elderflower, long a popular ingredient in the U.K., is reaching the Canadian market, too, notably in beers and ciders. Sticking with alcohol, the craft beer craze has been virtually defined by a sharp rise in the use of hops, especially in IPAs.
If your consumers are demanding healthier options, floral flavours and botanical extracts could be part of your response. Come and see us, and let’s talk. We’re kind of like a garden centre for natural flavour solutions.
For more information, or to request samples, just fill out our online form here.