When Life Gives You Lemons

May 12, 2022MarketBites

When life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade – everyone knows that. But there’s more to lemons than you might think. Did you know that lemons are not first-generation citrus fruits? Don’t feel bad…most people have no idea that there are only 4 “Original” Citrus varieties: the Pummelo, Mandarin, Small Flowered Papeda, and the Citron. Everything else in the citrus world is a generational hybrid of these four citruses. In fact, a lemon is a second-generation hybrid that stems from the citron and the sour orange, which is a first-generation hybrid of the pummelo and mandarin.

Uncovering the Secret of Citrus

Citrus, and lemon, in particular, make up more of our diets than you might think – partly due to how ubiquitous citrus fruits are. In fact, citrus’ growth is expected to outperform 89% of all other foods, beverages, and ingredients from 2021 to 2025 (Datassential). Since we know citrus is a big deal – we decided to conduct some research. Givaudan asked consumers about many aspects of a variety of citrus fruits and compiled the results into a fun product called the Givaudan Citrus Academy (which you can learn more about from your Givaudan Account Manager or by sending an email to NOAM.marketing@givaudan.com). The results about lemon might surprise you! The research uncovered what seasonal connections lemon has, which wellness benefits are associated with lemon, what flavors are paired most often on menus with lemon, and more.

A Spotlight on Lemon

But- what’s in a lemon? How does it get that distinct, mouth-puckering sensation? We asked our flavorists and food scientists to list out the “building blocks” of a lemon flavor, and some of the most important ones include juicy, peely, candy, and pithy. Lemon is a nuanced and complex flavor that can be used in a variety of food and beverage options. Lemon is often considered a “secret weapon” in the food and beverage world. It can provide a lift to berry flavors or bring some acidity to a salad dressing. It can be an option for sweets without being too sweet. To learn more about the world of lemon, check out the Givaudan Elements: Lemon Edition.

“When working on lemon flavors, I consider what type of lemon profile the customer is looking for? Are they looking for a zesty lemon, freshly squeezed juicy lemon, or a lemon drop candy type profile? This information is crucial when creating the best possible flavor for our customers. It’s also important to know what type of application the flavor will be going into. A lemon-drop type flavor profile may work well in a confectionary application, but can come across too sweet or heavy on the palate in a sparkling beverage application that is meant to be refreshing.” 


Megan Scholle, Senior Flavorist

So now that you’ve seen a peek behind the curtain, be sure to keep an eye out for all the ways you interact with citrus fruit – lemon in particular. It may not be obvious at first, but you’d sure miss it if it wasn’t there. And remember… if life gives you a lemon – thank it!

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