João Machado, brand manager at Imperial, told ConfectioneryNews.com: “The demand for exotic flavors is rising in Europe. “
He said that consumers were looking for products that combine these acid fruits with milk chocolate.
Value-added with exotic
“The passion fruit is rising in other markets also, like juices, yoghurts,” said Machado.
His view reflects those of analysts. A 2011 report from Global Industry Analysts (GIA) indentified exotic flavors as one of the key future growth drivers for the confectionery market as consumers turn to added-value products.
Leatherhead Food Research also highlighted the potential of exotic flavors in its Global Confectionery Market' report released last year.
Ingredients firm Wild previously told this site that it saw the confectionery segement as the main market for its range of natural exotic flavors that it launched at Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) last year.
Imperial has a fruit flavor range for its Regina brand that includes pineapple, strawberry and orange flavors.
It has added a passionfruit variety to further tap into demand for exotic flavors.
All Regina products are manufactured at Imperial’s plant in Vila do Conde, Portugal.
The brand is also present in Imperial’s 40 export countries, which includes the US.
Company profile and standing in Portugal
Imperial is part of Portugal-based conglomerate RAR Group, which turned over almost €1bn ($1.3bn) last year.
The company produces goods for its own brands, including Jubileu, Pintarolas and Allegro.
The firm also has contract manufacturing business that produces finished products for private label customers.
Imperial is seventh place in the overall Portuguese confectionery market with a 2.2% share, behind the market leader Mondelez on 15.7%, according to data from Euromonitor International
The Portuguese chocolate market is worth $312.9m, but has declined substantially in the past five years, Euromonitor data indicates.