According to Firmenich, the world’s largest privately owned fragrance and flavor company, 2018 could be the year of the fig. The Swiss-based brand has named the low-profile fruit as its “Flavor of the Year” and offers a compelling argument for its soon-to-be meteoric rise, Cooking Light reports.
“Fig-flavored products [grew] by more than 80 percent between 2012 and 2016.” —Chris Millington, president of Firmenich, flavors,
While you may not have expected this avocado-smashing news, figs have been inching into the zeitgeist for some time now. “A true feel-good flavor, fig is becoming increasingly popular with consumers, with fig-flavored products growing by more than 80 percent between 2012 and 2016,” Chris Millington, president of Firmenich, flavors, told Cooking Light.
Millington attributes these gains to the health benefits offered by the fruit: It’s high in fiber and contains essential (and buzzy) minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and manganese. It’s also naturally sweet, which means it makes for a delicious, nutrient-rich, low-sugar dessert. Umm, *inserts praise-hands emoji here*.
What’s more, figs are complex in flavor, which means they can be used in a variety of ways. “From a flavor point of view, it can be translated into fruity, jammy, floral, green, leafy, coumarinic, woody, winey, and sulfury dimensions,” Firmenich flavorist Anne-Claire Robineau explained. Try them in your smoothie, for starters, or simmer them into your oatmeal for a pop of color and texture, transform them into jam, or simply toss them into your salads.
Finally, Firmenich cites the artisanal—and somewhat nostalgic—feel of a fig as a reason for its on-trend vibe. The unassuming fruit is apparently a reminder of simpler times, though you should soon expect to see it explode into the digital present; after all, figs (and fig toast) are awfully photogenic and prime Instagram bait. (Sorry, avo toast!)