Varietal Focus: Lemon

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Lemon (Citrus limon) is one of the most sought-after citrus fruits in the world. The fruit belongs to the family of flowering plants called the Rutaceae family, which includes oranges and limes. This popular ingredient is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants called bioflavonoids. Citrus bioflavonoids help the absorption of vitamin C, supporting immune system function.

The ingredient is formulated into a wide array of products, from food and drink to fine and household fragrances. Lemon oil is used in aromatherapy for its calming properties, which is said to purify and uplift the mind. Lemon oil can also be used in cleaning products, owing to its antibacterial properties. In skincare, lemon can be used to clarify and brighten the skin, it can also act as an antiseptic which can help with problematic skin conditions, as well as used in products to manage excessive oil.

In food and drink, the ingredient can be found in sweet and savoury applications, from lemonades to condiments such as mayonnaise. The ingredient works particularly well in beverages due to its high acidity levels, which enhances the impression of hydration by stimulating salivation. The familiar ingredient is used in tonics, cordials, juices, craft sodas, drinking vinegars and tea-based beverages such as kombuchas and iced-teas. According to Imbibe, lemon is expected to be one of the “top selling flavours in 2018, particularly in RTD drinks” alongside mango, pineapple, ginger, coconut, apple and grapefruit.

Lemon is also associated with weight loss, being formulated into a variety of health drinks. The flavour can be found in natural energy drinks. Global Data tells us, “Lemon is a common flavour in these natural beverages as it offers a simple, refreshing and familiar fruit flavour that aligns with the natural product proposition that these energy drinks are looking to promote.” Owing to lemons natural and refreshing taste, the ingredient also appears frequently in flavoured waters, pairing well with fresh herbs. As the demand for natural flavours grows, lemon sees an increased consumption worldwide.

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In alcoholic beverages, the ingredient can be found blended into gins, cocktails, vodkas, liqueurs and as a top note in beers. Lemon is also popular in confectionary, desserts, yoghurts, condiments and salad dressings.

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