A more holistic strategy to flavors that encompasses a multi-faceted approach of “taste” has been a key theme in the flavor industry this year. Several major business moves, which include Givaudan’s swoop for Naturex, illustrate how flavor players are moving beyond their core base, amid an overarching clean label trend. Herbs and spices are trending amid this current market dynamic.
“From a flavor point of view, the world has never looked so exciting,” that is according to Ricardo Ibañez, Marketing Manager Sensient Flavors, Sweet and Beverage Europe.
“Today’s consumers have a huge sense of adventure and a seemingly endless thirst for new experiences. At the same time, a deep desire for truth and authenticity is driving them in the direction of the past and towards ingredients with trustworthy backstories – often stretching back to ancient times,” he tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
For food and beverage manufacturers, this fascination with old, new and natural offers huge scope for the creation of innovative products that tantalize the taste buds, excite the imagination and deliver natural health benefits.
Culinary herbs can charm the senses with their impactful scents and clean, vibrant flavors, according to Ibañez. “They add naturalness and, from an aesthetic perspective, their delicacy catches the eye for pretty-as-a-picture hors-d’oeuvres, cheeses and savory snacks, soft drinks and cocktails,” he explains.
Sensient stresses that consumers are no longer casual about what they eat. They want to know the source of what’s in their food. They are demanding clean, easy-to-understand labeling that tells them everything about what they eat and drink and perceive. Whether rightly or wrongly, these consumers believe that the more concise and understandable an ingredients list is, the better the product will be for them.
When consumers want to find high-quality foods and beverages, they look for a few choice words on the labels. Chief among these are “natural” and “extract.” Seventy-two percent of consumers think that these two words most define what “clean label” means, according to 2017 Sensient primary research.
To meet this demand, Sensient is promoting their Natural Origins extracts as “a perfect fit for what consumers are looking for in their food and drink these days.”
Their range includes extracts from herbs, fruits, flowers and hops, spices, vegetables, teas, coffees and cocoas. Being 100 percent natural and organic, they can be used in clean label, transparent ingredient listings that instill confidence in consumers, while their authentic tastes invigorate and transform product profiles.
The provenance of the source materials used in some of the extracts enables food and beverage producers to make declarations that help to differentiate products on retail shelves. As a further benefit, the adaptable process used in their production permits independent or top note usage only so that the extracts can be tailored to exactly what is required.
Sensient uses carbon dioxide at low temperatures & high pressures to extract gingerols & shoagols from their ginger botanical to make one of their most popular extracts
Another aspect of the clean label trend is the use of age-old or straightforward processes. The company highlights several examples of selective extraction techniques which capture the true flavor and aroma profile of the original source.
Carbon dioxide can be used for extracting flavors from botanicals under certain conditions. For instance, Sensient uses carbon dioxide at low temperatures and high pressures to extract gingerols and shoagols from their ginger botanical to make one of their most popular extracts: “a ginger that delivers authentic taste with punch in a highly concentrated form.” Gingerols are responsible for the authentic taste, while shoagols deliver the heat kick.
Another example is provided by chrysanthemum, a highly prized and delicate flavor extract used in a wide range of foods and beverages throughout Asia. Increasingly of interest to Western European tastes as a floral extract, the delicate nature of the botanical flower petals and the resulting flavor released requires a great deal of care during handling. So in this case, extraction is achieved through a gentle and traditional percolation process in which spent petals are removed by filtration to recover a rich, dark and hay flavored extract.
Thirdly, a distillation process is used to extract volatile flavor components from a wide range of botanical sources, such as fruits and spices, whereby the company captures the flavor components as the distillate passes through a cooling column. In support of the popular innovations currently surrounding gins, the company prepares a popular extract that amplifies the juniper berry (the main taste botanical in gin) to give novel and interesting taste opportunities to distilleries.
A further expansion of clean label processing was announced earlier this summer. In July 2018, Sensient Technologies Corporation acquired Canadian botanical extraction company Mazza Innovation. Sensient is eyeing their technology as a strategic pillar for all of its business operations, including colors and flavors. Presented under the new name of “Sensient Natural Extraction” and continuing to operate out of Canada, the new business unit provides a clean extraction opportunity. The acquisition will offer opportunities in sustainability, cost reduction and clean label, as the entire botanical being used can be broken down and distributed among the diverse companies that comprise Sensient.