Condemned for contributing to the worsening health problems in the population, food makers are under orders to cut salt levels in their processed food formulations.
But replacing this cheap flavour enhancer is a challenge for food developers.
At €0.21 a kilo, any alternatives to salt will add unwanted costs to new product formulations. But salt, a seasoning and preservative composed of 40 per cent sodium and 60 per cent chlorine, plays a pivotal role in multiple foods on the market.
Quest claims that food makers using its new ImpaQ taste technology range could cut salt levels by "as much as 50 per cent, without compromising on the taste."
"We aimed to unravel the 'deliciousness' of a flavour," says Harry Renes, Quest's executive flavourist. Research on volatile flavours over the past decade has been the launch pad for the ImpaQ technology.
"Our breakthrough occurred when we identified the mechanism for cheese maturing, plus fundamental research on the holy grail of taste, bouillons," Renes tells FoodNavigator.com.
According to the flavourist, Quest's research has led to the firm submitting patents for completely new molecules. Without clarifying the precise situation on patents (cleared or in waiting) the company said is has submitted over 35 flavour-related patents.
Shy on disclosing the price of this technology for the customer, Quest's flavours group vice president, Cees de Jong said "prices will vary according to the flavour, there is no average price."
Application trials in low environments and in broader applications - such as increasing deliciousness and bitter masking - are underway with customers in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific, with further expansion expected soon, adds Quest.