If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I grew up in a one-story, red brick ranch home in a little town called Sunman, Indiana. We had no stoplights, but we did have the essentials… an IGA (a small grocery store + gas station for those of you who may not know), a service station for car repairs, and you guessed it… a liquor store! Okay, there may have been a few other businesses, but you better not blink your eyes because you’d be bound to miss them.
We had an old, single cab, manual Ford F-150 pickup truck. It was one of a kind, let me tell you. I don’t recall if the air conditioner worked or not, but if it did, my dad never used it. We were a window down, breeze blowing in your hair, singing to the radio kind of family. I remember this song called “Watermelon Crawl” by Tracy Byrd. This song brings back a whirlwind of memories every time I hear it. If you’re not familiar, here’s a little clip of the lyrics “If you’re ever down in Georgia ’round about July…If you ain’t in a hurry, then you oughta stop by…I can guarantee that you’re gonna have a ball…Learnin’ how to do the watermelon crawl.” Believe it or not, there is actually a dance that goes with this song… I know what you’re probably thinking. I may be guilty of showing off my moves once, or twice, okay maybe more than that, but who’s counting?
I grew up with one older sibling, my brother Chris or as we used to call him “Bungus”. He hated this name by the way. Our lives were simple but hard, tiring but rewarding. Every year like clockwork we planted a garden in the spring, many of you would probably look at it and consider it a small field. We planted tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn, beans, cabbage, broccoli, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, strawberries, and blackberries. Phew… I think I captured everything! As I got older, we got more adventurous and added watermelons. We really had no idea how to care for them, when they were ripe, or when they should be picked, but that didn’t stop us. Through trial and error, we prevailed.
For those of you not privy to a garden with fresh fruits and vegetables like I was, when picking a watermelon, be sure that it’s heavy and has a yellow spot on one side. This “yellow spot” is often referred to as a field spot. Typically, the rounder the watermelon, the sweeter it is whereas the oblong-like melons are watery and less flavorful. At least, that’s been my experience. Regardless, I think many of us would describe watermelons as sweet, juicy, and slightly rindy (you know, when you bite into the whitish-colored flesh). What if we could capture this flavor experience and create a more “true to fruit” flavor for applications ranging from beverages to confection? I’m sure a few of you are thinking about watermelon flavors in a candied, jolly rancher style sense.
Well, in 2020, Megan Scholle, a flavorist at Givaudan, developed a watermelon flavor using insights from Givaudan’s FreezeFrameⓇ technology. FreezeFrame is a proprietary analytical technique that captures molecules at peak ripeness that would otherwise disappear through evaporation, oxidation or degradation. Essentially, we are capturing the moment of peak freshness from a variety of herbs, vegetables and fruit. She used this knowledge and expressed that within her creation, so when I experienced her watermelon flavor for the first time, it brought me back to Sunman, Indiana, our old Ford F150 pickup truck and jamming to Tracy Byrd’s song, Watermelon Crawl.
If you’re looking to create a memorable experience within your brand, maybe even get your consumer to do a little watermelon dance, you can’t go wrong with this flavor. Give your consumers a pleasant surprise. Maybe they had a similar childhood experience as I did and just maybe you’ll bring that memory back to life for them…