Back to Basics: Bananas for Flavor or Format

 In Blog, Food & Beverage Trends

Bananas are one of the first foods that doctors recommend introducing to infants, making it an obvious choice as a flavor in conventional snacks, beverages and confections. Consumers who appreciate these potassium rich botanical berries, however, often find the flavor of banana products to seem artificial and unappealing. (Yes, believe it or not bananas are classified as berries: “the banana fruit is a seedless, parthenocarpic berry developing without pollination and fertilization.”) The texture is one factor that makes banana a challenging flavor to reproduce in the lab, and as a result, even in the past few years, we’ve seen some banana inspired products fall by the wayside. A few successful products are paving the way for more progress to be made in banana flavor and application innovation. Here are a few brands to know about so that you don’t go bananas when planning for future product launches:

Fronana: This banana based frozen dessert comes in several flavors such as Wildberry Whirl, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Mango-Pineapple and supports many food sensitivities; it’s vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free. This brand leverages the health halo around the fruit – in fact, they even suggest that it’s healthy enough to be eaten for breakfast.

Barnana: Historically, nearly 20% of organic bananas are lost because they’re damaged, but Barnana found a way to repurpose unripe or scuffed bananas into a nutritious snack. As one of the leading brands in upcycling (including mentions in Forbes, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo Health, and Us Weekly) they’re being joined by an increasing number of startups prioritizing an end food waste. #WasteNot (36k+ posts on Instagram at the time this was written)

Sir Bananas: Made with banana puree, this banana milk (available in both original and bananas + chocolate varieties) has few rivals currently on the market. This non-dairy milk alternative has potential to capture a wide audience, as it not only touts 8 essential nutrients, but also packs 7g of protein into a 1 cup serving. Some ingredients you won’t find in Sir Bananas: artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, gluten or carrageenan.

ChicP: This U.K. based company is committed to using surplus produce in their line of hummus and dips. These brightly colored, nutritious dips feature herbs, beetroot, ginger, turmeric, and also have a banana-avocado-cacao hummus. We predict that brands like ChicP that align with several macro-trends (Instagrammability, plant-based nutrition, upcycling) will gain consumer interest and support in 2018 and beyond.

Hakuna Banana: This banana-based non-dairy frozen dessert claims to include 2 whole bananas in each pint. Flavors of this fruit-sweetened (with dates) product with no refined sugars include Banana Spice, Banilla, Blueberry and Cashew Cookie Dough. Conceived in the West Coast, their “no worries” attitude coupled with the popularity of more healthful pints, leads us to believe that this product may soon be available nationwide.

Interested in using bananas in your next beverage product? We’re happy to help: