Until now, Symrise has used much more time-consuming methods for analyzing the complex flavour profile of a finished dish, but it says its new SymStixx system is easy to use, allows more detailed flavour profiling of complex foods, and is more cost-efficient than other methods.
SymStixx is a small glass rod, just a few millimetres thick, which is covered in a special polymer mixture that absorbs different molecules when placed into a food product. These are then separated and identified by a GC/MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) system and the components are compared to compounds in Symrise’s extensive database for identification.
Dr Gerhard Krammer, senior vice president, global flavour innovations, told FoodNavigator.com that the process could make it easier to develop natural flavours that have an authentic natural taste.
“The natural flavour label is restricted to naturally derived products,” he said. “We need to be as close as possible to Mother Nature…These authentic flavour profiles can be captured using SymStixx.”
There has been an industry-wide trend away from all kinds of artificial ingredients, including artificial colours and flavours, on the back of consumer demand. According to the Mintel Global New Products Database, ‘natural’ is the leading claim on new product labels, and was included on 23 percent of foods and beverages launched last year.
From restaurant to lab
Dr Berthold Weber, director of analytical services, said that the SymStixx tool could prove particularly convenient for taking field samples.
“With this tool, we just put it into the product, take it out and clean it with a tissue, and put it into the GC/MS system…Good cuisine is not just happening in laboratories,” he said. “Now we can go into these places where delicious food is served and bring it straight back into the lab.”
Krammer added: “It enables us to read out the structure of these flavour molecules…It’s a very good starting point for our flavourists to create authentic flavours.”
The company said that the new tool will be most useful for analysing meat flavourings in culinary products and natural flavourings such as vanilla and mint.