Exploring Africa Through Taste Buds

The African market is anticipated to be one of the fast- evolving markets in the region. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) aside from being the leading exporter and re-exporter of goods to African countries, stands among the top ten importers of several African products.

African ingredients and flavors are gaining momentum across food & beverages, beauty products and pharmaceuticals in the UK (Mintel, 2018). With nearly a quarter million British expatriates living in the UAE and more in the neighbouring GCC countries, the demand for these diversified food & beverage choices are expected to grow.

Alike the British expatriates, the UAE is also home to many African expatriates. With the booming economy of the African market and the rising number of African expatriates in the UAE, opportunities have been created to capitalize on accelerating demand for products with African flavors.

Supermarkets such as Hyperama in the UAE have started allocating dedicated shelf space for products from the African continent and these products are gradually being introduced and sold in the local markets. In the recent past, we also observed new online supermarkets such as OrLjaa, African Shop, African Market Dubai and African & Caribbean Market selling African products.

The region has a variety of exceptional food ingredients with promising taste profiles. After many years of expertise delivering solutions to local African markets, the technical teams at FSL and Aromatech have specially designed a range of flavors based on local African fruits to appeal to those consumers savouring African sweet-tangy flavors.

Ubuyu Flavor

Ubuyu is Zanzibar’s favourite candy. It is made from boiled baobab seeds, coated with a thick layer of sugar, salt, black pepper, cardamom and vanilla. Baobab seeds are known as a “superfood,” it carries a natural kick of citrus, bursting in sour, sweet & spicy notes. Enjoyed as a delicacy by many Africans, this flavor profile works well with candies and ice lollies.

Ditakh Flavor

The ditakh is an exotic fruit that is native to Senegal, mainly consumed as a beverage or an ice-cream. Naturally rich in vitamin C, it resembles an earthy flavor and tastes of Kiwi fruit which is semi-sweet & sour. This flavor is best combined with a sugary profile and works well as a flavor for a thirst quencher or even for a popsicle.

Prekese Flavor

This pod is a specie of the pea family with several medicinal properties. It is native to west tropical Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Prekese is a shiny purplish-brown fruit of the Aidan tree, it carries a mild sweet flavor and aroma. Locals use this fruit in their stews and soups and identify it as a “soup perfume.” It delivers a fragrant and tempting sugary aroma.

Cashew Apple Flavor

Cashew apple is common across Africa, it is a yellow to red fruit with a pulp that can be used to produce juices, jams or fermented drinks. The fruit flesh carries a unique tartness with a mix of semi-sweet mango, cucumber and lemon. It contains a high percentage of vitamin C and is mainly used in jams and fruit juices. Cashew apple juice acts as a excellent antioxidant too.

Bungo Flavor

This is a tropical fruit in Africa which is widespread across Madagascar and Comoros. It also grows in Tanzania and Somalia and looks like an orange with a hard peel. When open, it contains about a dozen of pips that are similar to a mango seed with pulp and fiber. Bungo carries a sweet-tart flavor that is a cross between mango, pineapple and orange. This flavor works well in beverages and desserts too.