Winning the battle for sustainable citrus
Citrus offers consumers a vast choice of hot and cold drink flavour options, and remains the world’s most popular beverages base. From everyday orange, lemon and lime to more exotic citrus fruits such as pomelo, key lime and kumquat, the world loves these fruity favourites as a refreshing way to rehydrate. But how do you address a global market where increase is on the demand, yet myriad issues threaten natural supply? Givaudan has the answer.
Citrus continues to be a dynamic, and expanding, consumer trend in beverages and other products, for many reasons. To begin with, it is extremely diverse, and can be used as a primary base, or as an accentuating flavour, used widely in savoury, confectionary and beverage brands. Citrus also has universal appeal, with preferences in every geographic market and region – and where citrus fruits are not naturally occurring they can be readily purchased in the international marketplace. Add to this the expansion of convenience citrus-flavoured beverages in developing markets, often with the cultural perspective that citrus is a source of vitality, and this all leads to an iterative demand for citrus, in its many guises.
The squeeze on citrus
Therein lies the opportunities, but what of the challenges? Dawn, Global Citrus Product Manager for Givaudan, explains some of the scenarios faced: “There are a number of significant barriers to meeting global demand, from natural sources. These include natural phenomena, such as hurricanes and crops decimated by freezes, which can cripple citrus production. From an economic perspective, farmers are also looking at crops with less variability and a better return on investment. Citrus trees are also prone to disease, most notably Citrus Greening Disease, which is prevalent in key production areas. Finally, juice and its by-products compete for demand within the fresh fruit market. This dynamic means that the amount of critical raw citrus materials available from year-to-year can vary greatly.”
In simple terms then, Givaudan, and our customers, face increased consumer demand paired with a declining and volatile natural supply. While not new, these challenges have to be effectively addressed by Givaudan, with the objective of meeting our customers’ needs, as Andrew, Head of Explore, notes: “Regardless of the many issues affecting supply, our customers rely on us to overcome these challenges and provide a steady, and in many cases ever-increasing, supply of citrus flavours. We are not in the business of ‘excuses’, but delivering high quality, variant citrus flavours that meet current demands, and anticipate future growth in this market.”
A sustainable business model
How then, is Givaudan addressing this issue of sustainable supply? Dawn continues: “Givaudan has citrus sustainability built into our business model, and throughout our long history we have monitored, and responded to, several periods of volatility in the global citrus marketplace. We ensure delivery of the right supply and quality to our customers, through global sourcing programmes and sustainable practices in citrus flavour development. Over ten years ago we launched a line of products to help our customers’ mitigate citrus supply chain risk, most notably with our SunThesis® ingredient replacement range of products. We have continued to expand and optimise this line over many years. In more recent times, we have further embedded SunThesis® ingredients, technologies and sustainable practices into the business and we work closely with our customers to make sure they get the right citrus profile with the lowest possible exposure to citrus volatility."
SunThesis® offers peace of mind
SunThesis® replacers are citrus compounds designed to function like original citrus oil. Key flavour attributes and functionality of citrus oils are recreated with our deep knowledge and understanding of citrus oil composition, and SunThesis® can be used with any method of flavour delivery (emulsions, washed extracts, oils etc.). Additionally, SunThesis® products are designed to be more stable than original oils. They offer customers a continuity of supply, cost stabilisation and, echoing Andrew’s earlier point, peace of mind: with SunThesis® customers can avoid fluctuations and uncertainty, attaining more control over the citrus supply chain.
Thanks to Givaudan’s continuing investment, deep knowledge and proprietary technologies in citrus, such as SunThesis®, our customers and the world’s consumers can look forward to an uninterrupted supply of, and innovation in citrus-based beverages and attendant products – a very refreshing thought!