New product launches come in all shapes and sizes, and for its first Australian release post-COVID, MONIN is embracing a fun fruity flavour that invites café operators to be creative with their drinks menu.
Sometimes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in the case of MONIN’s new product release, it only had to look to the taste preferences of Aussie consumers to know it was time to add a new fruit flavour to its product line-up.
“We are so excited to launch MONIN Fuji Red Apple into the Australian market. We love our apples and have had a red apply shaped hole in our menus for too long,” says John Davidson, Head of Advocacy and Innovation at Stuart Alexander, an exclusive distributor of MONIN in Australia.
In recent years, MONIN noticed how popular the red apple flavour has become – a classic flavour but one that had been forgotten about in past years.
To bring it back to life, MONIN embarked on a year of product development to best capture the essence of Fuji Red Apple favours into a puree format. With MONIN’s apple suppliers sourced mainly from France and Italy, samples and refinements of the puree took months between test samples set back between the European suppliers and MONIN’s R&D team based in Malaysia. Once the recipe was approved, a special machine at the MONIN lab that controls ambience, airflow and temperature was used to accelerate the product’s shelf life, with one month inside the machine the equivalent to three months in the ‘real world’. The goal is for all MONIN products is to have 18 months shelf life.
“We had to get the flavour right and even when we got it to be ‘good’, I kept pushing our team to make improvements so that it would be great. This is one of the philosophies I and our R&D team hold – the aim to get the best flavour out of every product we can,” says J’son Soon, MONIN Beverage Innovation Manager, South East Asia.
This is the first time since COVID-19 that MONIN has launched a new product flavouring in Australia. The Fuji Red Apple puree is already released in Asia, and for the first time, Australians got a first look and taste at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo.
At the MONIN stand, John served Iced Orchard Lattes, an infused iced latte of Fuji Red Apple Puree with De’Longhi’s nitro cool espresso and oat milk; and Fuji Mint Frappe, a slushy of MONIN Fuji Red Apple Puree, MONIN Mojito mix, MONIN frappe mix and purified water.
“The Fuji Red Apple puree is made from 50 per cent non-artificial whole fruit by using a machine to press the apples into a puree form to retain its microfibres. It is this process that gives the puree an authentic red apple taste and texture. The remaining half is made from pure sugar cane to help retain the product’s shelf life.
“Compared to MONIN’s other apple products, the Red Apple Fuji is a more fresh, crisp, refreshing, and not so acidic product. Some have even likened it to apple jam because of its thicker consistency. I like this feature because when it’s mixed with other flavours or products, like coffee, it enhances the body of the drink,” J’son says. “When you first taste it, you get a hit of the apple flesh flavour, and not so much of the apple skin. It’s quite a unique profile. At the same time, there’s a hint of honey and floral aroma that balances the puree nicely.”
In the Asian market, J’son says the product is embraced by café owners wanting to use it to create apple tea, apple juice, in sparkling water, ice creams and some even mix it with beer to create a ‘slushy’. While it’s potential is limitless, in the Australian market, J’son expects the flavour to be used in coffee cocktails or mocktails – with a hint of lemon or lime juice, herbs and spices perhaps – and experimental signature beverages with the assistance of MONIN’s local representatives to help adapt the product to the local market and culture.
“The Fuji Red Apple flavour isn’t too strong, so baristas have the ability to play around with it when pairing it with coffee. They can use an espresso base to make a coffee application with a hint of the Fuji Red Apple puree, which will give the beverage sweetness. Coffee is already complex so use of the Fuji Red Apple puree should be simple and not overly complicated,” J’son says.
He adds that it can also be used in cold beverages such as a refreshing cold brew. Just 30 millilitres is all that’s needed for a standard portion when used in coffee applications, with one bottle going a long way to help establish a café’s creative beverage menu.
With 110 years of commitment to flavour development, J’son says the French-founded company continues to evolve in order to offer consumers around the globe products that embody quality ingredients. As such, J’son says the company is in a period of transition, or as he describes it, “a switch project” where all previous flavours from previous suppliers are converting to use of only natural ingredients.
“Our R&D team are working hard to deliver this project. They always tell me, ‘Jason, to invent a new product is so easy, but to change a product is so hard because you have to redevelop its profile, its look, colour and texture’. It’s a big challenge,” he says. “Today, about 70 per cent of our products feature in one of three categories. They either contain non-artificial flavours, non-artificial colours, or non-artificial preservatives. We are passionate about making the switch to ensure our products are made of premium ingredients.”
With this assurance and commitment, J’son says all that’s left to do is for café operators to get their hands on a bottle of MONIN to experience the difference themselves, and experiment with the possibilities that Fuji Red Apple puree has to offer.
“With today’s current generation and levels of creativity and ability, anything is possible when it comes to flavour,” he says.