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TMCNet:  Comax Flavors introduces a promising flavor-masking ingredient

[June 07, 2011]

Comax Flavors introduces a promising flavor-masking ingredient

Jun 07, 2011 (Datamonitor via COMTEX) -- Comax Flavors hopes to expand in the flavor ingredients market with the launch of Comax's Sodium-Masking Flavors. A key selling point of the new ingredient is that it helps to mask the unintended salty taste in sports beverages. In products such as these where sodium is a winning addition but an overly salty taste is undesirable, masking ingredients are a welcome innovation.

At a time when consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious and therefore seeking products with low salt, sugar, and fat content, the benefit of flavor-masking and enhancing ingredients is huge for food and beverage manufacturers that do not want to compromise their products' sensory acceptance. Tapping into this trend, Comax Flavors has launched a sodium-masking ingredient which is claimed to be natural, water-soluble, and effective in masking an undesirable salty taste in juices, pharmaceutical products, dairy goods, and other applications where a certain level of sodium is required. However, challenges still exist as these ingredients are highly system-dependent, while product application requires customization.

Flavor-masking ingredients are used to overcome undesired characteristics such as the bitterness of caffeine, the astringency in white tea, or the fishy flavor in products enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids. In contrast, enhancing flavors are used to increase the perception of desirable sensory characteristics such as the sweetness in a low-sugar chocolate beverage, or the creaminess in a low-fat dessert. This market segment is especially promising for food products which are targeted at consumers with health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity who need to restrict their sugar, salt, and fat intake.

While consumers are increasingly seeking healthy products, they are also becoming more reluctant to compromise on sensory factors. Therefore, being able to offer a range of products that meets both consumers' hedonistic needs and indulgent cravings in a healthy manner is an important element of success for food and beverage manufacturers.

The main stumbling block for the use of flavor enhancers and masking ingredients is the need for customized application processes. For instance, the level of each individual ingredient present in a certain food or beverage product will cause it to have either a balanced or unbalanced flavor profile, which consequently affects its sensory acceptance. Therefore, product formulators must be careful not to "over flavor" products. Furthermore, depending on the product matrix, flavor enhancing or masking ingredients behave differently. Reducing the undesirable "beany" notes in soy milk may not be achieved in the same way for other soy products, as ingredient interactions result in different sensory profiles.

Each year flavor companies introduce innovations to their ingredients line and improve their application processes. However, there is still no magical ingredient that addresses any food flavor's unbalance. Understanding the nature of and interaction between base ingredients, and identifying the type of undesirable note to mask, is crucial for opening up a world of great tasting and innovative products.

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