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The Rise of Salted Caramel

Published: 12/04/2019 17:12

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Caramel and salted caramel flavours have become one the most recent trends in the confectionary, bakery and desserts market, with the UK caramel ingredients market predicted to grow by 7% by 2021.

In the last 5 years, there has been 155% rise in new product launches with caramel or salted caramel as a product flavour, with the last three years seeing a boom in new caramel flavoured products. In the last 10 years, the caramel flavour in new product launches achieved 38.5% annual category growth, which is a significant rise, bringing new opportunities for food manufacturers.

How Caramel Started to Grow a Taste for Salt

Salted caramel flavour became a staple in the U.S. first debuting in fine-dining and gourmet stores, and then eventually appearing in popular chain establishments, high-end supermarkets, and finally superstore shelves. But who initially had the idea of adding salt to caramel? Made from a heady mixture of sugar, salt and fat, salted caramel was first created by a chocolatier called Henri Le Roux more than three decades ago. Henri attended candy school in Switzerland, later returning to France to open a store in Brittany – a region known for its salted butter. In an attempt to offer something different while using the region’s key ingredient, he came up with a salted butter caramel with crushed nuts. For this culinary creation, Le Roux was awarded Best Sweet in France by the Salon international de la confiserie in Paris in 1980.

Salted caramel was then popularized by French chef Pierre Hermé in the 1990s when he invented a salted caramel macaron. American chefs quickly adopted the concept and began combining sea salt with a variety of sweets, including caramel and chocolate

Why Salted Caramel?

New research has revealed that there is a scientific reason you can’t stop eating salted caramel, and no, it’s not just because you’re greedy.

Salted caramel has quickly taken over the Western world to become one of the most addictive substances of the confectionery world and beyond.

From typical products like chocolate, fudge, ice cream and milkshakes, to more bizarre creations such as coffee, tea, vodka and even yogurt, salted caramel is rapidly emerging a Western world flavour favourite.

But according to a recent study, there’s actually a scientific reason behind our cravings for it. Led by the University of Florida, scientists tested salted caramel on 150 lucky participants and found that when we scoff something sweet, salty or fatty, the brain releases heroin-like chemicals called endogenous opioids.

Imagine then the effects of a food like salted caramel which contains all three.

Marketing analysts Dr Cammy Crolic and Professor Chris Janiszewski revealed that eating it actually causes a rare phenomenon called ‘hedonic escalation.’

While some industry experts believe that salted caramel’s hype will eventually suffer as we desire something different, its scientifically proven addictive ingredients might mean its popularity is only going to grow.

This is music to our ears at Tropicana Wholesale since we stock over 30 products with the ‘Salted Caramel’ flavour such as Fulfil Vitamin & Protein Bars, PhD Diet Whey and Grenade Carb Killa Biscuit. To shop all of our Salted Caramel products, please click here or call 0121 313 6738 for more information.

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