Developing a premium strawberry flavor… Is controlled environment agriculture the answer?

While other fruit flavors such as yuzu and dragon fruit may be considered trendier in the current food and beverage landscape, consumers’ love for strawberry hasn’t wavered. According to FONA International’s 2021 fruit flavor trends report​ based on Mintel GNPD data, new products launches featuring strawberry grew 23% between 2019 – 2020, and strawberry is considered an everyday flavor for many consumers. 

Despite consumers’ familiarity with strawberries, the flavor can vary greatly, noted Dr. John Reich FFAR (Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research) scientific program director and director of PIP (Precision Indoor Plants) 

“Some can be described as having a flavor of Hawaiian Punch or Sweet Tarts, while others taste like pineapple,”​ said Reich, who is leading the call for research applications addressing premium strawberry flavor development using controlled environment agriculture (CEA) practices. 

FFAR is currently accepting research pre- applications​ until November 10, and will invite a final round of those applicants to submit a full application in January 2022.

Premium strawberry flavor development

According to Reich, the variability in flavor when it comes to a fruit such as the strawberry has gone largely unexplored and absent in the market is a premium strawberry flavor that can be controlled and replicated consistently in an indoor growing facility. 

“Because you can control an environment much more precisely than you can outdoors, you can really understand how these metabolic pathways are controlled,” ​said Reich.

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