strawberry milkshake, natural strawberry flavor

Natural Strawberry Flavor | Trends & Innovation

Strawberry, with its bright scarlet color and beguiling sweetness is one of nature’s finest gifts. For generations, food scientists have used this playfully fragrant berry flavor to enhance our favorite food and beverage products. Given strawberry’s immense global popularity, we felt it was time to explore innovative uses for natural strawberry flavor. Join us on a flavor-filled journey as we discuss the versatility of strawberry flavor and reveal a world of creative possibilities!

young girl with a basket of ripe strawberries
Biting into a ripe strawberry never fails to evoke a smile.

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Where do strawberries come from?

A step back in time reveals the fascinating history of the strawberry. It’s a native of North America, with historical records showing wild strawberries growing in abundance across the continent. Strawberries belong to the Rosaceae family, initially known as Fragaria, a Latin term inspired by the fruit’s sweet fragrance. The wild strawberry was much smaller than today’s palm-sized fruits; however, its diminutive size concealed a powerhouse of potent flavor. Over centuries, selective breeding and agricultural practices led to the larger, juicier variety we relish today (sometimes at a detriment to the flavor complexity of the original fruit). Luckily for Blue Pacific Flavors, a handful of heirloom strawberry varieties are still being grown in Southern California, and we use these precious fruits from the past for inspiration in our strawberry flavor creations.

Want to pick your own strawberries? Click find a u-pick strawberry farm near me.

What does natural strawberry flavor taste like?

What makes natural strawberry flavor so delightful and unique? Strawberry flavor is a complex interplay of over 350 volatile compounds, each lending its unique characteristics to the overall flavor. The two primary components are Furaneol and Mesifuran, responsible for the typical caramel and sweet fruity notes respectively. Many more natural compounds add nuance and structure to the fruit profile, and depending on their level can shift the profile from fresh and seedy to ripe, jammy, and even candied. It’s this intricate chemistry that allows the strawberry flavor to smoothly blend with others, paving the way for innovative combinations. Imagine a smooth dark chocolate infused with rich strawberry or a zesty organic lemonade with a subtle strawberry aftertaste. Whether the star player or part of a blend, strawberry flavor shines in many food and beverage applications. 

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two women in head scarves drinking strawberry milkshakes, natural beverage flavor
Unleash the vibrant essence of strawberries to elevate the flavor of your food and beverage creations.

4 popular strawberry flavors

Not all strawberries are the same! Selecting the right strawberry flavor profile takes a deep understanding of both the application and the consumer. Our natural strawberry flavors fall into several categories, each with a specific end use or consumer opportunity in mind. Here are four of our favorite strawberry flavor profiles!

Fresh & Leafy Strawberry Flavor

This bright and tangy flavor profile is reminiscent of a freshly picked strawberry, still warm from the morning sun. It evokes the crisp, green notes of the leaves and the earthy tones of the seeds layered over a meaty berry center. It’s the perfect balance of fruitiness and green undertones and works well in teas, flavored waters, and hard seltzers. 

strawberry and mint beverage, natural beverage flavors
Sipping a refreshing beverage with a splash of succulent strawberry flavor is pure bliss.

Sweet & Jammy Strawberry Flavor

This rich flavor profile is all about the bold, concentrated sweetness you experience when you bite into a spoonful of homemade strawberry jam. It’s rich and intense, a flavor that brings a robust, sugary rush, just like a ripe berry boiled down to its sweet essence. We love jammy strawberry flavor in baked goods, gummies, syrups, and dessert sauces.

strawberry toaster pastry, jammy strawberry flavor
Savor the sweet essence of Summer with irresistible strawberry flavor in jams, jellies, sauces, and sweets.

Ripe & Juicy Strawberry Flavor

This explosive flavor profile captures the essence of a strawberry at its peak ripeness – succulent, bursting with juices and a fructose-filled sweetness that’s naturally intense. It showcases the fruit in its most perfect state and transports you to a sunny strawberry field. Use this flavor type in ice cream, yogurt, juices, and soft drinks.

Strawberry smoothie
Sweet & tangy strawberry notes create a delightful burst of fruity goodness in all sorts of foods and beverages.

Candy Fantasy Strawberry Flavor

This whimsical flavor profile takes us back to the simple joys of childhood. It’s the maltol-forward flavor of bubble gum, cotton candy, soda, and lollipops. This profile is unapologetically sweet, with a slight tang, and a taste that lingers on your palate. It conjures up nostalgic memories of indulging in your favorite strawberry flavored treats. Don’t hesitate to use it as a novel energy drink or confectionery flavor.

strawberry cotton candy milkshake, natural confectionery flavors

What pairs well with strawberry?

Strawberry may be a classic fruit flavor with a well-deserved fan club. Yet, pairing it with unexpected partners can result in innovative and delightful flavor combinations! Here are some unique pairings to try as you innovate with strawberry flavor:

Sweet strawberry pairings

  • Strawberry and Dark Chocolate: The bitter, rich taste of dark chocolate paired with the sweet strawberry flavor results in an indulgent and decadent treat. The sweetness of both jammy and candy strawberry balance nicely with dark chocolate’s assertive nuances.
  • Strawberry and Persimmon: Mellow, honey-sweet persimmon offers both harmony and contrast to the fragrant juiciness of ripe strawberry. It’s the perfect transition flavor for late summer and early fall!
strawberry dark chocolate flavor
Strawberry + dark chocolate = fruity indulgence at its finest.

Herbal strawberry pairings

  • Strawberry and Basil: Fresh basil adds a fragrant, herbaceous note that complements the sweet, bright flavors of the strawberry. It gives a refreshing twist to teas and premium appertifs.
  • Strawberry and Mint: This pairing brings freshness to the forefront, the cooling mint perfectly complements the sweet berry taste, creating a revitalizing flavor fusion. Fresh, strawberry, and even fantasy strawberry flavor profiles work best with the cooling freshness of mint flavor.
  • Strawberry and Rosemary: The woody, aromatic rosemary provides a grounded contrast to the bright and fruity strawberry, creating a distinctive and elegant flavor duo. Fresh and juicy strawberry flavors play nicely with this potent herb.
Ingredients For Summer Drink Strawberry Basil Lemonade On Concrete Table Background. Close Up
Basil is a great partner for strawberry, adding a sophisticated and sweet herbal note to the bright berry.

Spicy strawberry pairings

  • Strawberry and Black Pepper: The spicy bite of black pepper accentuates the natural sweetness of strawberry, offering a tantalizing blend of delicate sweetness and bold spiciness. Jammy strawberry flavor works well to temper the black pepper’s heat.
  • Strawberry and Ginger: The spicy, warm notes of ginger add an exciting twist to the sweet and juicy strawberry, offering a flavor profile that’s both comforting and invigorating. Depending on the type of ginger flavor used, any of the strawberry flavor types could work – either alone or in combination.
Strawberry And Pepper
Black pepper adds a bold, spicy edge to the succulent strawberry.

Savory strawberry pairings

  • Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar: The tartness of balsamic vinegar juxtaposed with ripe strawberry creates a balanced, gourmet flavor that’s rich and complex. Try it in a gelato or nonalcoholic beverage application for a truly elevated taste experience.
  • Strawberry and Goat Cheese: The creamy, tangy goat cheese enriches the fruity sweetness of strawberry, yielding a luxurious and smooth taste experience. A combination of juicy and jammy strawberry flavors is the perfect match for the strong yet clean canvas of goat cheese.
Strawberry Risotto With Traditional Italian Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar offers robust wine-like flavors and acidity, balancing nicely with the sweetly fragrant strawberry.

Natural strawberry flavor for food and beverages

These are just a few fresh ideas for incorporating natural strawberry flavor into your food and beverage applications. From classic combinations like strawberry and cream to more unconventional pairings like strawberry and jalapeño, the versatility of this fruity flavor knows no bounds. Luckily there’s plenty of white space left for natural strawberry flavor, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Try one of our many natural or organic strawberry flavors in your next application and see where the little berry with the BIG taste takes you!

Try natural strawberry flavor

Looking for natural and organic strawberry flavor?  Request a sample today and start using strawberry flavor in your products! 

Request A Sample of Natural Strawberry Flavor

Food and beverage development services

We hope these ideas help launch your next iconic flavor!  Blue Pacific Flavors has been a leader in flavor trends and food and beverage innovation since 1993.  Learn more about our product development services in this video.

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