Sorbets and Sherbets

Sorbets and Sherbets

7/29/2016  By Erin Marinan and Jenifer Smith


Sorbets & Sherbets are similar enough but there are some distinct differences that separate them from being in the same category.

Similarities with the two are Sorbets and Sherbets or Sherbert are made typically with pureed fruits, sugar and water.  The difference is Sherbets also contain milk, gelatin or egg whites.  Standard brands of sherbet will contain 1 - 2% milk fat or cream.  Sorbets never contain dairy and the consistency tends to be softer.

Anything above 3 percent is generally labeled ice cream; anything below 1 percent is referred to as water ice.  Unfortunately sorbet is not a regulated term like Ice Cream so saying that it is just fruit-based is inaccurate and with new trends and flavors happening all the time, you can see non-fruit versions in the market.  To complicate the terms even further, in other parts of the world, sherbet can refer to a fizzy powder stirred into beverages, or a beverage made of diluted fruit juice.

Consumer’s palettes are becoming more sophisticated – no longer are consumers satisfied with just Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry when it comes to frozen desserts. The popularity of global chefs and their foods is increasing demand for exotic flavor combinations. For example, Moroccan Orange Blossom, Sticky Rice and Mango, Speculoos and Tiramisu, just to name a few.

Other buzz words that are hot are “Artisan” and “Locally Crafted” depicting flavors showcasing that regions local products.  For example, Parfait ice cream here in Seattle uses Theo’s Chocolate in their Dark Chocolate ice cream. Locally sourced honey in their Ballard Bee Honey and Seattle based True North Roasters in their Coffee Cookie-O. Nationally Haagen-Dazs has an Artisan Collection line that highlights local producers around the U.S.

Sweet/savory combinations in flavors and herbal infusions into bases are also on trend. Olive oil is a popular addition that not only is out of the norm but also has a positive effect on texture while imparting nutty and grass notes to the finished product. 

Alcohol infused flavors is another area that is trending.  I had the opportunity to tour Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream several months ago and tasted a new flavor in their scoop shop using alcohol; Bourbon Brown Butter.  Ben and Jerry’s has also come out with a new line using New Belgium Brewing Ale paired with Salted Caramel Brownie base.

Non Dairy options are super-hot right now in the marketplace as dairy consumption continues to decline.  Many national brands are rolling out lines of non-dairy ice cream. A local company here in Seattle, Frankie and Jo’s is starting a plant based ice cream and sorbet business.  Frankie and Jo’s will be making their own juice blends for their sorbets and nut milks for their ice cream bases.  Even going so far as replacing refined sugar with dates in some of their blends.  In addition, no gums are added to their bases to keep with the company’s natural profile.

Based on the current trends, it looks like the U.S. will continue to hold the title of highest consumption rate when it comes to ice cream and sorbet.  This popularity will continue to push food companies both large and small to continue to develop new and interesting flavor combinations for many years to come.

Whether you're looking to develop the next biggest flavor trend or just getting started with a line of flavors for your sorbet or sherbets, Northwest Naturals can help.  Contact one of our sales members or our customer service team to get samples and start your next great creation.