Over the past few years, the food scene has undergone a sea-change. People today aren't afraid of experimenting. Chefs and restaurants are more than happy to meet their demands. One of the currents trends that has been spoken about is use of syrups, squashes, concentrates to enhance flavours in a dish. People are opting for syrups with natural extracts. Different flavours like hibiscus, banana, green apple, coffee, chocolate, etc, are common ingredients today.
Sharing her take on the rising usage of syrups, squashes, and concentrates, nutritionist Nicky Sagar says, “People have identified the health benefits of offbeat, flavoured syrups. They are, thus, making a conscious choice towards leading a healthier lifestyle. Hence, they are reducing the consumption of liquids or syrups with preservatives, added sugar, chemicals.”
Savoury-flavoured syrups are used in salad dressing, meat recipes, confectionery preparation, and bakery products. Nevertheless, demand for chocolate-flavoured syrup plays a major role in the growth.
Lincoln Bennet Rodrigues, Founder & Chairman, The Bennet and Bernard Company, owner Black Vanilla Café, and hobbyist chef, says syrups and concentrates are not just limited to food. They are being increasingly used in beverages and medicines as well. “The pharmaceutical industry is also contributing due to the need for flavoured syrup in medicines to make them taste better. Over the next few years, the market for syrups is expected to rise as an organic commodity widely available in a variety of low-calorie formulations. The popularity of syrups in the production of drinks and as additives in yoghurts and frozen desserts is also likely to foster market growth. Syrups based on chocolate, caramel, vanilla, fruit, malt and coffee flavours have found popularity as taste enhancers.”
Other popular flavours are jamun, gondhoraj, litchi, mulberry, mango, raw mango, chocolate, herbs and seasoning, vanilla, coffee, almond, blackberry, green mint, lavender, passion fruit, coconut, cinnamon, and blue mint.
Want to make your own caffeinated drink at home? Lincoln has an easy hack. “You'll need coffee grounds, water, and 12 hours of planning for coffee concentrate. Once you've got the concentrate, you can whip up a batch of DIY coffee syrup by dissolving equal parts sugar into the coffee concentrate,” he shares.
Many recipes with vanilla as the dominant flavour can be swapped with coffee concentrate for a new taste. Coffee concentrate can replace the powder in any cake recipe. Just dilute some syrup in some water. You have your swap-in soak for tiramisu flavours.
Another reason why syrups and concentrates are seeing a sudden spike in India are global influence and the rising gin culture. “The versatile spirit is a lot of fun to experiment with, from fruits and berries to citrus flavours and herbs in gin cocktails. Thus, there is a need to make these cocktails as simple as possible. Not everybody has the patience to muddle fruits, mint, etc. for that perfect cocktail,” say Shuchir Suri and Punweet Singh, Co-founders at Jade Forest.
This is why brands are introducing flavoured syrups, concentrates, and tonics to create delectable cocktails that are simple and accessible.
Until recently, flavour inspiration was being taken from the west. “While they remain a hot favourite, the recent trend has moved to homegrown flavours while giving them a modern twist,” mentions Shuchir.
However, Nicky wants people to exercise caution when it comes to their consumption. “Look for the nutrients that the syrups are packed. Some syrup may have certain ingredients which you may be allergic. So, carefully look at the ingredient list, benefits, and nutrition amount while picking a flavoured product,” he concludes.