Bottle Flavor and Function With U.S. Grown
More than ever, consumers are looking for beverage offerings that deliver on both flavor and functionality. In an evolving beverage landscape, manufacturers and foodservice professionals alike are seeking out ingredients that provide potential health benefits consumers demand without sacrificing taste. In fact, according to the International Food Information Council, more than 70 percent of Americans believe functional foods have a meaningful impact on their health and Nielsen reports that almost 90 percent will pay more for healthier foods.
When incorporated into either packaged or made-to-serve beverage offerings, Montmorency tart cherry juice brings unique flavor, science-backed health benefits and homegrown appeal, making it attractive to consumers demanding more from their beverages.
Mintel reports that consumers increasingly care about the brand stories behind their food and beverages. These brand stories include ingredient sourcing from local establishments, social responsibility and the trend of big brands building relationships with local producers. In addition to caring about the narrative behind their choices, Consumer Reports National Research Center found that 60 percent of consumers would actually pay more to buy American.
Montmorency tart cherries are grown on small, generations-old family farms in the United States. Incorporating Montmorency tart cherry juice into beverage offerings allows manufacturers to build a rich, local brand narrative that resonates with consumers who want to know where their food comes from.
Consumers not only want to enjoy beverages that are better for them, but seek drinks with specific health benefits. Whether it’s a recovery beverage to help athletes perform or a soothing tonic meant to lull consumers to sleep, ingredient decision makers in the beverage industry are tasked with seeking out ingredients that bring a host of functional benefits that apply to a variety of consumer needs.
The Montmorency varietal has been studied more than any of other type of cherry, with more than 60 studies that explore a range of areas like exercise recovery, sleep, inflammation and heart health.
The ruby-red fruit contains anthocyanins, which have been the focus of health-related research. Studies have shown that marathon runners who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice before and after a long-distance race experienced a faster recovery of muscle strength and reported less muscle discomfort compared to those who drank a different beverage.
Additionally, Montmorency tart cherries are one of the few natural food sources of melatonin. In fact, Montmorency tart cherry juice was found to help extend sleep time by 84 minutes among eight study participants, ages 50 and older who suffer from insomnia, according to a new pilot study published in American Journal of Therapeutics.
Consumer palates are constantly evolving as new flavors are introduced to the landscape and fresh combinations can revitalize old favorites. Technomic reports that there’s been a dramatic shift in consumer flavor preferences to more simulating flavors. Two-thirds of consumers like tangy, more than 30 percent preferred sour and around 10 percent chose bitter – all nearly double from three years ago.
As Americans continue to expand their taste preferences, many are seeking out more adventurous flavors and ingredient pairings. Montmorency tart cherry juice has a unique sweet-tart taste and can help enhance bright tangy flavors, balance out darker, smoky profiles and pair well with floral ingredients, among others.
Montmorency tart cherries and tart cherry juice is available year-round and is sourced, bottled and shipped in the United States. For a full list of Montmorency tart cherry juice processors, many of whom offer online options, please visit CherryProcessor.com.