Flavor houses have been helping firms mask chalky, metallic, bitter or astringent notes from functional ingredients, vitamins, proteins, minerals and intense sweeteners for years, Teresa Olah, marketing director, flavors North America, told FoodNavigator-USA.
But many traditional techniques have involved a ‘blanket’ approach, which can sometimes mask desirable aromas (citrusy notes), as well as undesirable ones (burning mouthfeel, lingering sweetness) in an application such as orange soda, she said.
“With Smoothenol 2G you can mask specific attributes like bitter or astringency while still allowing the aromatic flavor profiles to shine through. In summary, it provides the ability to mask what you want, not what you don’t.
“Smoothenol 2G is unique because of its ability to selectively target multiple taste receptors. This is a new phenomenon in the flavor industry but a common practice in the pharmaceutical world.”
it provides the ability to mask what you want, not what you don’t
The technology is based on a growing understanding of bitter taste receptors on the tongue, which - when activated by certain stimuli - send messages to the brain telling us we’re eating something bitter.
What is now better understood is that certain food compounds may bind to and activate multiple bitter taste receptors, which means multiple compounds may be required in order to counteract the effect of a single compound, added technology development manager David Bom.
“Yesterday’s masking technologies were based on a single-compound approach that we now know is at odds with the reality of taste receptors.”
Yesterday’s masking technologies were based on a single-compound approach
The Smoothenol 2G range includes customized products including:
- BitterFix, which masks the wide variety of negative flavors associated with natural and artificial sweeteners
- AstringentFix, which smooths the dry mouthfeel caused by tannins in fruit, tea and red wine
- FunctionalFix, which reduces metallic off-notes caused by added proteins, omega 3s, vitamins and minerals
- BurnFix, which masks the perception of alcohol burn in spirits
- SourFix, which softens sour notes associated with citric acid and acidulants in lemonade and citrus-flavored drinks