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Business Bites: Ube crowned top flavor for 2024

On this week’s plate: Flavor company T. Hasegawa USA announces flavor of the year as part of annual F&B trends report; dozens of global industry events taking place this year; Kyowa Hakko expands manufacturing facilities in Japan; and more.

5 Min Read
purple yam

At a Glance

  • T. Hasegawa USA releases annual flavor trends report, unveiling ube as its flavor of the year.
  • Food & Beverage Insider assembles a list of must-attend F&B events taking place across the globe throughout the year.
  • Kyowa Hakko strengthens presence in Japan to manufacture its Cognizin ingredient incorporating citicoline.

Ube is showing significant growth in new product developments and on menus alike. Native to the Philippines, the purple yam has been a staple in Filipino cuisine for millennia, but recently gained popularity in American cuisine. Food and beverage flavor manufacturer T.Hasegawa USA recognized its popularity by naming ube as its flavor of the year. Also, glance through a list of more than 80 F&B events taking place across the globe. Learn more in this week’s column.

Flavor giant T. Hasegawa names ube top flavor of the year

T. Hasegawa USA, a global leader in flavor development, recently released its 2024 Food and Beverage Flavor Trends, with ube topping the list. This purple tuberous root from the Philippines has gained international attention for its bright purple color; nutty, earthy flavor; and versatility in dishes ranging from savory to sweet. Ube also happens to be a solid source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Other flavors to watch, according to the company, include the humble cherry pepper, which has grown in popularity by 700% since 2019, along with maple, salted caramel and furikake, a dry Japanese condiment.

Grow your business in 2024 with these industry events

At food and beverage industry events, you can literally taste the innovation. Shows, expos and conventions can all be amazing resources for industry professionals, providing opportunities to network, sample new products and get the latest intel. Informa-run highlights include SupplySide West, a premier gathering of buyers and suppliers from across the industry, and the various Food ingredients (Fi) shows hosted around the globe, from Asia to South America. Some events feature live culinary competitions, while others let business owners pitch ideas to earn funding. For more info, check out Food & Beverage Insider’s curated calendar of events for 2024.

Kyowa Hakko expands Cognizin Citicoline manufacturing facility in Japan

Biotech company Kyowa Hakko Bio Co. Ltd. is increasing its footprint in Asia. The company recently announced the grand opening of its expanded citicoline manufacturing facilities for Cognizin at the Kyowa Hakko Bio Yamaguchi Production Center in Hofu, Japan. According to company reps, the demand for citicoline—a naturally occurring brain chemical—has surged, especially in the United States where it’s commonly used in supplements and functional F&B products, which prompted the expansion. The new facilities also establish a stronger global supply network for pharmaceutical and health food manufacturers.

FDA finds chromium in recalled applesauce products

Last November, FDA launched an investigation into applesauce pouches produced by three brands—WanaBana, Schnucks and Weiss—which were recalled because of elevated lead levels. All products, manufactured in Ecuador, contained cinnamon, which was identified as the probable cause of contamination. In December, FDA clarified “extremely high” levels of lead were found in the recalled products, 5110 ppm and 2270 ppm, when 2.5 ppm for lead in bark spices such as cinnamon is considered the maximum acceptable level. Last week, FDA issued an update to the investigation, announcing that the agency found chromium present in the products. Chromium is a naturally occurring element found in rocks, animals, plants and soil, which FDA said is an essential trace nutrient important to the diet. It exists in several forms, however, with the two most common being chromium (III) and chromium (VI). Chromium (VI) compounds are human carcinogens known to cause lung cancer, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, International Agency for Research on Cancer and EPA. FDA wasn’t able to determine the form of chromium in the cinnamon applesauce pouches, but said the lead-to-chromium ratio found in the sample “is consistent with that of lead chromate (PbCrO4), which contains chromium (VI).” The agency affirmed this isn’t a definitive indictor that lead chromate or chromium (VI) was present, but advised people who consumed the products to inform their healthcare providers so they can monitor the situation more closely and take action, if needed.

U.S. News & World Report’s ranks best diets for 2024

Looking for ideas to create new products or flavors this year? If so, U.S. News & World Report’s annual best diets rankings for 2024 list is something to check out, as consumers are increasingly seeking different ways to manage weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle. The company ranks diets in 11 categories: Best Diets Overall, Best Weight Loss Diets, Best Fast Weight Loss Diets, Best Diabetes Diets, Best Diets for Bone and Joint Health, Best Diets for Health Eating, Best Diet Programs, Best Family Friendly Diets, Best Heart-Healthy Diets, Best Plant-Based Diets and Easiest Diets to Follow. Partnering with market research firm The Harris Poll on the methodology, with additional input from a panel of leading health experts, this year’s rankings examine 30 diets, including six new additions like the Vegan diet. For the seventh consecutive year, the Mediterranean diet—which focuses on quality and lifestyle opposed to a single nutrient or food group like the others on the list—secured the No. 1 spot for seven of the categories.

ADM acquires Revela Foods and FDL

Agriculture leader ADM closed 2023 with a pair of big flavoring acquisitions: Revela Foods and FDL. With headquarters in Wisconsin, Revela is a leading producer of dairy flavorings for a variety of foods, including snacks and desserts. The company has experienced rapid growth—to the tune of $240 million in projected sales for 2023—thanks to an innovative enzyme technology that fuels its formulation of clean-label dairy flavors. This acquisition adds new capabilities to ADM’s global portfolio in the dairy and savory flavors segments. FDL is a UK-based functional ingredient and flavoring producer with projected 2023 sales of approximately $120 million—an acquisition which brings more than 10,000 proprietary flavor formulations to ADM’s portfolio.

About the Author(s)

Heather Carter

Associate editor, Food & Beverage Insider

With over a decade of diverse professional experience under her belt, Heather has journeyed from the bustling world of local news reporting to the intricate realms of trade publishing. She has covered a wide array of topics, ranging from architecture and design to the food and beverage industry.

During her illustrious career, Heather also ventured into the realm of public relations, where she gleaned invaluable insights into the art of strategic communication and brand storytelling. Yet, her heart has always been anchored in the vibrant world of F&B, a passion deeply ingrained in her roots as the daughter of a seasoned chef. She has always held a profound appreciation for the role food plays in shaping cultures and connecting people.

With each story she tells, Heather seeks to illuminate the profound impact of food and beverage on people’s lives, celebrating its ability to evoke emotions, foster connections and weave the fabric of our shared human experience.

As Food & Beverage's associate editor, she co-publishes a weekly news column, Business Bites, which showcases the latest industry news, highlighting key business updates, food and beverage innovation, industry events and more. Some of her other articles touch on important topics, such as ultra-processed foods, plant-based foods primed to change the food landscape, international flavors and ingredients, as well as better-for-you CPGs. She also frequently covers top trends at various industry events and has moderated first-of-their-kind education sessions at Informa events.

She can be reached at [email protected].

Scott Miller

Staff writer, Food & Beverage Insider

Scott Miller brings two decades of experience as a writer, editor, and communications specialist to Food & Beverage Insider. He’s done a little of everything, from walking a beat as a freelance journalist to taking the Big Red Pen to massive technical volumes. He even ran a professional brewing industry website for several years, leveling up content delivery during an era when everyone had a blog.

Since starting at Food & Beverage Insider, he’s written pieces on the price of greenwashing (and how to avoid it), debunked studies that served little to no purpose (other than upsetting the public) and explained the benefits of caffeine alternatives, along with various other stories on trends and events.

Scott is particularly interested in how science, technology and industry are converging to answer tomorrow’s big questions about food insecurity, climate change and more.

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