Herbal trends in beverage industry were growing for the past several years. The main reason of using these raw materials is functionality. Although only a very small amount of herbs has proved health claims, extract are becoming more and more common part of the beverage recipes. A good thing about natural extracts is that consumers are familiar with certain herbs and they do not need to be educated additionally in regards to their useful properties. For example everyone knows that valerian root is good for relaxation or green tea is a well known antioxidant. So for such ingredients you do not need any explanation s or even health claims.
Another type of herb usage is to create a specific and very unique aftertaste. It can be a very simple combination upgraded with a small hint of a specific herbal taste, which would put your product to a next level. For example simple combination lemon with elder flower: most popular citrus fruit flavor in the world with a hint elder flower. Sometimes just a small improvement can change the product completely, not only talking about the taste but about target and positioning as well. Also combination of orange and bergamot mixing with black tea extracts, a very well known classy combination could be a hint for a different type of product than an Ice Tea.
Sometimes herbal extract might provide not even a taste but very unique and distinctive properties. For example ginger which has easily recognizable spiciness. It is quite a challenge working with this raw material, as usually the extract has no spiciness just the flavor or it is creating sediments, so it is very important to find a suitable supplier. Ginger is well known for its properties for immunity, digestion improvement or even bone health. Quite popular type of product is a ginger beer, which is a great substitute for beer in HALAL countries.
Chili extracts are used only as an enhancer not like a main flavor. In could be used in various different solutions: juices, alcoholic drinks or adult soft drinks. Such combinations as tomato juice with chili or mango and orange with chili are giving a boost for well known bases. Chili extract is used for various problems with digestion including upset stomach, stomach pain and cramps. It contains an active ingredient capsaicin which is well known even in the ancient medicine.
Another very interesting herb is Gentian Root extract, which is a great solution for natural tonic drinks. This extract is providing with a very unique taste similar to Tonic water and could be combined with either simple lemon taste or put on top of the various juice combinations.
To sum up, herbal extracts are very board based ingredients which could be used as the main ingredient with a health function, but also could be added as hint to improve daily taste and surprise the customer with a unique and unexpected combination.
Original article was published in Beverage Industry Blog