With an eye on the fruitful sports nutrition market slated to reach €5.4bn by 2010, the two firms aim to use flavour engineering to push beyond traditional flavours towards “more sophisticated flavour profiles” that include exotics, superfruits and flavour fusions.
"The flavour is designed to fit like a glove," said Greg Bach, Synergy's director of business development in the Americas.
"The flavour is constructed not as an add-on, or masking flavour, but rather as a flavour specifically designed to work with the base," he explained to NutraIngredients.com.
For example, when engineering a vanilla flavour for a protein-based nutrition drink, Synergy will identify flavour-markers in the protein base for which the vanilla is to be built around, with subsequent flavour components added to these pre-existing markers to build up branches around this main trunk.
In terms of protein bases, boosting the taste profile is a key challenge for formulators. But industry is acutely aware that this key obstacle must be overcome. Driven by an increasingly demanding consumer, the debate no longer comes down to taste versus functionality, but to taste and functionality.
Synergy claims it is changing the focus from flavour masking towards flavour engineering, designing 'high impact flavours' that are designed to work with a range of protein types, from whey to soya.
"As protein bases differ from whey to soya, Synergy takes the approach of working with the base and finding the flavour molecules best suited to mask the bitter off notes of the particular protein. We have a number of flavours available for demonstration in sports nutrition bases," commented Donna Rose, customer marketing manager at Synergy Europe.
Irish-based whey protein specialist Carbery recently announced it will engage in a major investment and recruitment programme in response to a whey market it says has "exploded".
The company said it would boost spending in key areas such as functional ingredients, infant nutrition, sports beverages and clinical nutrition. Although the company did not release spending figures, it said it was laying down capital to increase, and improve, processing capacity as well as making a number of new personnel appointments.