With its mild, refreshing, melon-y aroma and taste, the humble cucumber has risen to the top of the flavor chart. Firmenich, the world’s second largest company in the fragrance and flavor business, declared cucumber as the 2017 Flavor of the Year.
According to Chris Millington, president of Firmenich’s Flavor Division, the growing demand for refreshing, clean, and healthy food and beverages is driving cucumber’s popularity surge. “Our trend insights show that consumers are really enjoying lighter, refreshing ‘green’ flavors, such as cucumber.”
Although cucumber may appear to be just a simple salad staple, Firmenich reports a 392 percent increase in the use of cucumber as a flavor globally between 2011 and 2016. With the growth of healthy drinks over recent years, cucumber adds a touch of sophistication and a twist to standard flavors such as apple, mint, lemon and lime. Cucumber is also appearing in products from potato chips and confection to yogurt and dumplings. And it’s a key ingredient in another popular trend: fermentation and pickling.