According to Nielsen’s Global Health and Wellness 2015 report, “Consumers are going back to the basics” when it comes to the foods they eat. The survey revealed that the most important health attributes influencing purchase decisions are: “fresh” and “natural and minimally processed.” The Nielsen survey’s respondents ranked “all natural” ingredients and those without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) the highest of all desirable attributes, with 43% considering them “very important.”

It is worth noting that, although the majority of the US consumers claimed they read nutrition and ingredient labels, only a small percentage understand label symbols and claims. This lack of understanding from consumers catalyzed a trend Innova Market Insights identified as a “move from ‘clean’ to ‘clear’ label,” prompting manufacturers to adopt clearer and simpler claims on their packaging for maximum transparency.

While consumers perceive clean-label products to be healthier, they are not about to sacrifice taste for health. Great flavor remains the ultimate priority. Therefore, to ensure success, food and beverage companies must provide consumers with clean-labeled nutritious items that deliver a distinctive and delicious eating or drinking experience. That’s where natural flavor extracts and essences can bring a significant advantage to product development.

Natural Appeal
Extracts and essences are water-based ingredients that retain, in a concentrated form, the aroma fraction and other properties of the specific herb, spice, fruit, or vegetable it is directly obtained from. Containing no solvents or other added components, they are all-natural and can easily be incorporated into a comprehensive range of food and beverage applications.

One example of the value of these natural essences and extracts is in batch-brewed teas. A volatile botanical, tea loses some of its aroma and freshness during the manufacturing process. With essences, manufacturers can return what was lost while brewing, restoring the authentic taste of a freshly brewed cup of loose-leaf tea.

Unlike flavorants typically a blend of several components designed to mimic the specific taste of a product or other (usually more expensive) ingredient, essences are simply the named product itself; they do not require a change in label when added to the formulation.

Another favored use for extracts and essences is to customize the flavor profile of a finished product by balancing taste and aroma. Extracts and concentrates are used to modulate taste attributes such as astringency or bitterness, or visual appeal, such as color. Essences are preferred for fine-tuning flavor top notes and aromas.

“Consumers are increasingly demanding products with a shorter and more recognizable deck of ingredients,” explains Kevin Goodner, PhD, product manager for essences and extracts at Synergy Flavors Inc. “Essences are the perfect answer. They allow manufacturers to develop tasty products with very simple ingredient lists. In addition, with consumers’ growing interest in organic and GMO-free products, extracts and essences are a great way to offer on-trend food and beverage formulations.”

Goodner adds that variations (e.g. organic, Fair Trade, etc.) of conventional extracts and essences can be easily produced, only by sourcing the named product with these specifications. “Flavors, on the other hand, can contain a high number of components from various origins, making it harder to comply,” he cautions.

Superior Stand-outs
To stand out in an overly crowded marketplace, companies focus on the product attributes consumers find most desirable. Simple packaging communication highlighting product authenticity is increasingly essential to attract and spark consumer interest.

Consumers are attracted to premium products, enticing brands striving to achieve the perfect balance of exceptional taste and outstanding quality to claim valued premium positioning. Essences and extracts are powerful allies in carrying out such strategies, as their inherent properties match all the specific requirements.

Returning to the previous example, tea is second only to water as the most globally consumed beverage and, according to Mintel, is expected to grow a further 16.8% from by 2019 (4.7% when adjusted for inflation). “With this rising popularity, coupled with the current decline in soda consumption, we’re witnessing increased competition on the non-carbonated RTD tea market.”

In this context, using essences to revitalize already existing product lines makes excellent strategic sense for manufacturers. Synergy Pure extracts and essences hold great potential for the development of new products introduced with the promise of differentiating from existing offerings. “One of the most distinctive features of this range is the outstanding freshness it carries,” adds Nina Hughes-Likins, senior marketing manager for Synergy.

Getting Fresh
Consumers perceive freshness as healthier, and many companies are striving to deliver ‘freshness’ in their finish products. Synergy Flavors is uniquely equipped to support these endeavors. Focused on accurate capture of Nature’s true flavors, the company’s proprietary technology for its Synergy Pure line is designed specifically to boost essences and extracts’ natural appeal, and to capture the ‘freshly-brewed’ or ‘freshly-picked’ nature of a broad portfolio of botanical, herbal, vegetable, tea, coffee, and pure vanillas, while effectively maximizing the natural flavor impressions of horticultural products.

“It’s like capturing the aroma of a first cup of freshly brewed coffee, or basil freshly picked out of the garden, but continuously,” enthuses Goodner. “We strive to stay true to the product’s authentic aroma, as per our baseline. Nature created it. We captured it.”

Synergy Flavors’ accelerated, but gentle single-pass extraction process allows the company to uniquely minimize the degradation of flavor and nutrients that occurs in typical distillation processes—as well as deliver fresh tastes that replicate outstanding flavors close to nature.

Synergy Pure high quality, natural essences and extracts are suitable for an array of food and beverage applications, including tea, coffee, frozen blended drinks, juices, alcohol beverages, dips, sauces and more, offering an unparalleled top note of fresh flavor to a processor’s latest creations.

Unrivalled freshness, authentic flavor and simple ingredient statements make a winning combination for successful product introduction in today’s crowded food and beverage landscape.

Synergy Flavors Inc. is a leading international supplier of flavors, extracts and essences for the global food and beverage industry. With more than 100 years of flavoring expertise, Synergy combines a long heritage of flavor development with proprietary extraction technology—blending art and science in creating an exceptional array of tastes. The company is passionate about creating great tasting foods and beverages and work collaboratively to develop signature flavor profiles. With facilities in US, Europe, Asia and South America, Synergy Flavors’ team of chemists and formulation experts are globally positioned to deliver market understanding and customer collaboration to provide flavor solutions for the Bakery, Beverage, Confection, Dairy and Nutrition industries.

Visit for more information.