In response consumer demand for natural, authentic home-cooked flavors; the food industry’s continuing need for natural flavorings supplied in a convenient form; and the scarcity of raw materials and tools that have been available to the industry, Givaudan Flavours developedByNature.

By Laith Wahbi, global product manager, savory
Givaudan Flavours, Switzerland

Givaudan Flavours’ByNaturerange was developed in response to three distinct market trends: consumer demand for natural, authentic home-cooked flavors; the food industry’s continuing need for natural flavorings supplied in a convenient form; and the scarcity of raw materials and tools that have been available to the industry for addressing European United regulations concerning natural flavors. 

Givaudan’s extensive research and development investment involves responsibly sourced materials, advanced biotechnology skills and the exploitation of recent advances in fermentation science and enzymatic processes. As a result, food and drink manufacturers can tap into an extensive portfolio of high quality and efficient natural raw materials and proprietary flavor-creation tools. 

A range of “gold standard” culinary recipes also is used to help deliver improved, authentic tastes, offering customers a way to create exciting new flavors for foods and beverages that reflect a wide range of authentic recipes and cooking styles.

Givaudan also offers a special advisory service aimed at helping to reduce the complexity faced by European manufacturers in bringing delicious naturally flavored foods and beverages to market that meet all regulatory requirements for natural label claims. 

Reducing Salt Levels Without Sacrificing Taste
Salt levels in food have become a particularly hot topic recently as health scientists point to the well-documented links between high salt intake, increased blood pressure (hypertension) and the risk of cardiovascular disease. From sandwiches and ready-made meals to cheeses and processed meats, consumers are being told that many of their favorite foods simply carry too high a price tag in terms of the effects on their health.

In response to this, food and drink manufacturers are introducing new low-calorie, low-sugar, low-salt and low-fat variants across all product categories. However, as well as avoiding excesses, consumers also are guided by positive nutritional attributes in the products they buy, and in their quest for more healthy ingredients, they do not want to compromise on enjoyment or taste.

Food manufacturers are sometimes accused of misleading labeling, or substituting one not-so-healthy ingredient for another. For example, that low-salt spread or biscuit might turn out to be ultra high in saturated fat, or those low fat crisps might be achieving their great taste appeal with the help of artery-hardening sodium. 

Creating the Genuine Article
As part of itsTasteSolutionsprogram, Givaudan Flavours is working with food and drinks companies to help them switch to new product formulations that do not involve these kinds of tradeoffs between ingredients. Adding salt has often been used as a way of enhancing the flavor of an application. By starting at the other end and asking what makes food taste great, rather than just thinking in terms of salt reduction in isolation, a more complete solution to natural taste creation becomes possible.

As the world’s largest flavors business, with a wide broad portfolio of proprietary technologies and natural flavor components at its fingertips, Givaudan has plenty of experience in analyzing and recreating authentic food flavors and aromas. 

The Salt Curve
Rather than trying to replace salt, Givaudan has been seeking to understand the effect of salt in the application so that it can build back the aspects that are missing when salt is reduced.

This presents a significant technical challenge, but one that can be overcome by understanding the effects of the “salt curve” on food taste. The salt curve is used by Givaudan’s technical teams to illustrate visually how the quality and intensity of the salty sensation changes over time.  Givaudan continues to invest in sensory techniques to best measure these taste impacts in various applications. 

First, the taste delivers a distinctive initial mineral bite, followed by a body or mouthfeel phase, and lastly by a characteristic clean, lingering profile.

Back to Nature and the Culinary Arts
As part of itsTasteSolutionsprogram, Givaudan has developed an extensive portfolio of building blocks and ingredients to help flavorists create flavor and enhance taste naturally.

Natural food sources are rich in flavor elements, which may be identified using analytical techniques to isolate the unique ingredients that provide the greatest and most authentic impact on particular flavors. Once these have been determined, the next stage is to identify the natural routes that are available to the flavorist for capturing the essence of these compounds in order to generate the desired flavoring ingredients.

The study of nature and its store cupboard is not only focused on analyzing foods that are rich in flavor elements, but also on the study of the “natural biotransformations” - the fermentations and natural reactions required to generate complex flavors from a particular natural food source.

As part of our ongoing global quest to discover new taste technology, Givaudan embarked onTasteTrekUmami. The Givaudan task force was made up from a joint team of flavorists, chefs and analytical scientists from Europe and Japan. The aim ofTasteTrek Umami is to discover new taste molecules with the focus on umami and taste enhancement from ingredients used in the Japanese kitchen.

Japanese cuisine uses a range of fermentation, maturation and cooking processes which result in microbial or enzyme modification of the foodstuff, which often generates molecules high in taste activity. For this reason, many traditionally preserved foodstuffs are still used today as they are appreciated for their tastes.

Increasingly, too, the company’s flavorists work closely with world class culinary chefs (Givaudan’s Chefs’ Council) to deepen its knowledge of successful but unusual flavor combinations. 

Consumer research together with sensory analysis allows the flavorist to further understand and quantify consumers’ uses, attitudes, perceptions and behaviors in relation to flavors.

A combined Approach to Flavors Innovation
Givaudan’sByNatureprogram andTasteSolutions technology provide a combined and highly tailored approach to the challenge of creating flavorful natural and low-salt foods. In particular, Givaudan’s innovative technologies and multi-disciplinary approach to the salt reduction and natural flavors challenges are proving successful in meeting the demands of today’s consumers for healthy yet flavorsome products with a premium market appeal.