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IMAGINE FOOD WITHOUT FLAVOR...OR EVEN WORSE, FOOD WITH AWFUL FLAVOR! The attractive, vivid and glowing color of the food could be the first thing that would entice you to eat the food but if the flavor is awful you are not going to eat it, or least you don't enjoy eating it. Simply put, flavor is the most important attribute in foods and beverages. Flavor is so important in the enjoyment and appreciation of food. Choosing the right flavor or flavor combination can be daunting especially for the inexperienced. It is an art as much as science. So let's explore the magical world of flavors...enjoy!

Taste is the most influential factor in consumer purchase choices. The key to designing exciting new products with attractive flavors that will achieve continuing market success is to understand consumer needs. Here's a selection of articles on flavors to get you started. Make a note and answer the questions to test your understanding (questions will follow soon).
  • The Sweet Taste of Success - "Flavor chemists have access to thousands of flavor compounds capable of accentuating the subtle nuances of sweet goods. The literature tends to focus more on the application of flavor to savory, rather than sweet, food products. But with a basic understanding of how to properly use flavoring ingredients, the food scientist can create the right flavor system for sweet applications" (Food Product Design). Read on to learn more...
  • Flavor tricks - You may wonder why a flavor supplier has at least 200 different chicken flavors, or equally as many strawberry flavors in their portfolio. This is because balancing flavor in a system can be a tricky proposition. Read more...
  • New ways to deliver flavor - "A number of technologies and techniques are evolving as important means of delivering flavor to food products. Encapsulation of flavoring materials is one of the most active areas currently under development. While spray drying is one form of coating flavors that has been used for many years, new processes, materials and applications have resulted in a diverse mix of directions" (Food Product Design). Read on...
  • Maximizing Flavor Delivery - "The difference between a great meal and a ho-hum experience is more than a good recipe. The selection of ingredients, preparation methods and technique come into play. When a dish is superbly balanced, it becomes rich, full-bodied and maybe even craveable. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami tastes can combine to create an explosion of flavor sensation" (Food Product Design). Read more...
  • Flavor Enhancement - Are you working on a product that, despite numerous iterations, seems to lack that “certain something”? Although the basic flavor may be pleasant, maybe the product just isn’t as round, interesting or savory as it could be. What can a food technologist do? Read this article to learn the trick...
  • Flavor Enhancement: Taking a Closer Look - What does "enhance the flavor" really mean? How do you know a problem really exists? What tools are available? What are the marketing implications? How will you measure results? To effectively improve the flavor, a product designer must address all of these questions. Read on...
  • Umami and Beyond - Taking its name from Japanese, umami is a pleasant savoury taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. As the taste of umami itself is subtle and blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavors, most people don’t recognize umami when they encounter it, but it plays an important role making food taste delicious. Read on...
  • The Creation and Use of Vanilla - Vanilla? Hmm...I love ice cream with vanilla flavor...yummy! We even have vanilla coke! "...vanilla, evoke feelings of warmth and comfort. Even infants seem soothed by its flavor and aroma. Just taking a whiff from a bottle of pure vanilla extract can send the olfactory system into euphoria. The Aztecs and the Europeans once considered the vanilla bean to be a powerful aphrodisiac" (Food Product Design). Learn the magic of vanilla...
  • Extracting Yeast's Flavor Advantage - "Today’s food industry still prizes yeast’s fermentation abilities but has discovered another valuable function: Yeast can improve and enhance the flavor of a whole spectrum of foods" (Food Product Design). Read more...
  • Secrets of Flavor Masking - As companies strive to satisfy an informed and diverse market, food technologists face new challenges in creating products that meet consumer demands and taste good. This is where flavor-masking comes into play. Read on...
  • Taste Bud Teasers and Flavor Tricks - "Even pharmacists have caught on. Walk into any major pharmacy to purchase a fluid prescription and you will be asked: What flavor? Indeed, with the right additives, it is possible to trick the taste buds into finding something typically unpleasant tasting, into something, well, in the case of cough medicine, tolerable" (Food Product Design).

Here's a list of recommended articles from Food Technology (you have to get it from the library):
  • Giese, J. (1994). Modern Alchemy: Use of Flavors in Food. Food Technology (February), 106-116.
  • Add more recent article...

video-icon.jpgVideo on demand - These are collection of recorded presentation on Prepared Foods website; the presentation is given by industry application specialist on the subject of fats and emulsifiers. This is the opportunity to listen to the experienced industry people because we cannot invite them to USM (no budget!). Feel free to listen to any of the presentation. Some of the presentations can be downloaded using Real Player (download the free version). You can even convert it to 3GP format so that you can view it on your handphone!! This is what we call now as mobile learning. You can even convert it to 3GP format so that you can view it on your handphone!! Hmm...how nice to learn nowadays...learn anywhere, anytime, even when lying on the bed!

I suggest at least listen to a few presentations below (and the rest I hope you can explore at your convenience):

Webinar
  • Beverages and Beyond: Trends & Innovations in Flavors, Applications and Concept Delivery -- This is a presentation from Food Product Design website.

    Synopsis:
    Innovation is key in the rapidly shifting beverage market, especially when it comes to flavors. In fact, flavors introduced in the beverage market often herald emerging flavors for the entire food industry. And it’s not just consumer preferences that are changing, but the nature of the beverages themselves. Both of these factors can make flavoring drinks for maximum appeal seem daunting.

    This presentation will pinpoint flavor hotspots for beverages and identify other applications where these types of flavors are likely to expand. It addresses how to streamline the product development process by exploring current trends in flavors both in retail alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in the US, and identify emerging flavors in foodservice beverages, as well as beverage flavor trends from around the world. WILD’s trend and flavor experts will discuss how flavors can best be selected and applied to various beverage formats, with a look to the future of flavor-concept delivery.