Ingredients firm DSM has launched a neutral-tasting yeast extract that promises to improve taste and flavour impact in a wide variety of food applications.
Maxarome Select, launched at the recent FiE show in Paris, could be of interest to manufacturers looking to replace MSG or reduce salt in their products.
But DSM believes that its neutral, flavour-enhancing properties give the product much greater scope.
"Maxarome Select is DSM's forth generation of yeast-based flavour enhancers, and represents an evolution in this sector," DSM Food Specialties product manager Iwan Brandsma told FoodNavigator.
"It is completely taste neutral, this is what makes it innovative. It is a completely natural taste enhancer. And manufacturers can label it as yeast extract."
This goes against the grain of what properties yeast extracts are expected to possess. Yeast is widely used in the food industry because of its taste contribution - it can impart a meaty bouillon taste to a wide variety of products. This is derived from the yeast's amino acid and peptide complex.
DSM's newly launched Savorkey range of yeast-based reaction flavours, for example, is a more conventional use of yeast as a value added ingredient.
However, new technology means that it is possible to develop speciality yeasts that are rich in glutamates and nucleotides. The synergistic effect of these two compounds makes it possible to use extracts exclusively to improve unami taste and enhance flavour.
"Maxarome Select is really a performance ingredient," said Brandsma.
"It imparts unami and mouthfeel. It can delivers taste improvement, balance flavour, mask off-notes and round off flavour."
And the advantage of using yeast extract is that Maxarome Select is a clean label, completely natural solution.
Brandsma says that the ingredient can be used in a variety of applications such as soups, ready meals and crisps. But even more interesting is the possibility of using yeast extracts in new food areas, such as in salad dressings.
"This opens up new possibilities. Beforehand, yeast extracts could not be used in such applications because they would impact unfavourably on the flavour. Now we can add yeast without a negative flavour, such as in Thousand Island dressing, and contribute to mouthfeel and fullness."
Brandsma also points out that even though the product is not being marketed as a salt replacer it can be used to eliminate other tastes that would traditionally have required sodium.
The product is the newest addition to DSM's nucleotide yeast extract range.
"It reflects our building block approach to flavours," said Brandsma. "You start with a basic savoury foundation, then take yeast and turn it into a reaction flavour such as boiled chicken."
The global yeast market is worth around €1.17 billion. A handful of European suppliers, including BioSpringer, DSM, and Bel Industries, supply two-third's of the world's 100,000 MT consumption. In addition, this market is growing on the back of increasing demand for natural ingredients in processed foods.