Flavor Insight Report: Huckleberry

July 30, 2021
Flavor Trends

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A wild, blue-black berry that closely resembles (and is often mistaken for) the blueberry. Huckleberry refers to several different plants that belong to the Ericaceae family, a family of flowering plants bearing small berries that range in color from red to blue to black. The huckleberry has thicker skin and is slightly less sweet and more astringent. The taste depends on the color of the berries, red huckleberries tend to be tarter, while darker purple, blue, and black berries are sweeter in flavor. Let’s dive into Huckleberry and see this fruit on the menu, in social media and in new products!

Huckleberry Who?

This wild berry is indeed often mistaken for the blueberry but deserves its own time in the spotlight. The huckleberry primarily grows in the Pacific-Northwest region of the United States and is in peak season in July-September. The huckleberry is often used in pies, jams, pancakes, baked goods and even cocktails.

Taste Profile

  • Slightly less sweet & more astringent than blueberries

  • The taste depends on the color of the berry. Red=more tart and dark purple & black=sweeter.

Nutritional Benefits

  • Rich in antioxidants and low in calories

  • High in Vitamins A, B & C

  • Promotes a healthy metabolism

  • Tea made from huckleberry leaves aid in digestion

“Huckleberries can be used interchangeably in most blueberry recipes, so if you find yourself with a huckleberry harvest, just choose a blueberry recipe and give it a whirl.” -What’s Cooking America

Huckleberry Social Listening Summary

We conducted a social listening analysis on huckleberry covering the previous 12 months. An overview is provided below.

  • 78,486 mentions in the past year
  • 53% MALE

On Foodnetwork.com 63 total recipes appear when searching for Huckleberry. The few recipes range from sweet treats to savory sauces. A few very popular recipes are Huckleberry Pancakes and the world-famous Huckleberry Sauce.

Top Posts:

Twitter: @glacierNPS posted a tweet asking, “what’s your favorite way to eat huckleberries?” They also posted additional informational tweets around huckleberry including, “In a pie, in a pastry, in a jam, on a bowl of ice cream, or straight from the bush—any way you slice it, huckleberries are a delicious treat and a highlight of a trip to Glacier National Park!”

Twitter: @AutmunEmberLeaf tweeted “Two of my favorite things in the world, #Morels and #Huckleberries.”

63 huckleberry recipes appear on foodnetwork.com

On Foodnetwork.com 63 total recipes appear pop up when searching for Huckleberry.  The few recipes range from sweet treats to savory sauces. A few very popular recipes are Huckleberry Pancakes and the world-famous Huckleberry Sauce.

Grilled Salmon with Huckleberry Relish

Did you know huckleberries can be used as a topping for any dish? Neither did we but, a post from feastingathome.com, they highlight a unique way to use huckleberries. A popular summer recipe is grilled salmon with huckleberry relish. The berries are slightly pickled giving the salmon a light and delicious flavor. This is a fresh relish topping that enhances the huckleberries, while keeping the berries fresh, plump, and mostly intact. This recipe is one of the most popular dishes and can be paired with lamb or chicken!

Huckleberry on the Menu

113 huckleberry mentions on the menu

Fine dining is the top restaurant segment, with dessert and beverage as the top menu sections with the most huckleberry flavor menu items. Desserts account for 35% of all huckleberry flavored menu items.

  • Huckleberry Bread Pudding featuring huckleberry jam, bourbon butter sauce and vanilla bean ice cream at Boulevardier in Dallas, TX.

  • Huckleberry Meringue described as “locally foraged huckleberries give this meringue a pretty whisp of flavor. Great paired with gelato, sorbetto for lemon curd for a posh plated dessert at home.” Available at Café Juanita in Kirkland, WA.

  • Three Day Weekend Cocktail featuring Cazadores blanco tequila, New Deal ginger liqueur, Giffard Pamplemousse, huckleberry syrup and lime at Urban Farmer in Portland, OR.

Consumer Awareness of Huckleberry

Consumers are becoming more aware of huckleberry as is is starting to appear on more restaurant menus and new product introductions, but still has a ways to go. According to Datassential’s Flavor Tool, consumer awareness is the following:

  • 16% love or like it
  • 56% know it
  • 22% have tried it
  • Most popular in West Region of the US and with Boomers

Huckleberry Global New Product Introductions 2015-2020

14 huckleberry flavored new product introductions

NORTH AMERICA is the top global region for huckleberry flavored new product introductions.

SWEET SPREADS is the top product category globally for huckleberry flavored new products.

HUCKLEBERRY is rarely included in a flavor pairing, but we are spotting a few including lemonade, lime and blackberry.

Products of Note:

Waveline Hard Seltzer + Electrolytes Variety Pack:  80 calories per can and is made with quality ingredients, including real Washington fruit and electrolytes sourced from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. It is free from gluten, carbs, sugar, sweeteners, malt and anything artificial, and is described as refreshing. One of the flavors in the variety pack is Huckleberry Lime. | USA

Shaver Farms Wildbeary Huckleberry Jam: Made by hand in small batches, the huckleberries are picked at the peak of ripeness from the mountains in the Inland Northwest. | USA

Liberty Orchards 100 Year Anniversary Sweet Century Collection: Celebrating 100 years this collection was created to honor the “collection of the fairies” created many years ago. The candy is made with only the finest ingredients and still slow-cooked each batch by hand. A huckleberry-hazelnut is one of the flavors available in the collection. | USA

The Takeaways

Huckleberry is showing 300% growth from 2019-2020 with products mostly appearing in North America. We are also spotting huckleberry flavored menu items in a variety of restaurants. Fine dining is the top restaurant segment with dessert and beverage the top menu sections. Huckleberry has so much potential, especially with consumers looking to expand beyond the traditional mixed berry. The question is—is huckleberry on your Flavor Radar?

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Sources in full report