Generic taste enhancers like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and yeast extracts are commonly used by food manufacturers to emphasise certain flavour notes. But while these do a “fine job”, according to Jonathan Jones, managing director of UK-based Create Flavours, they are not flavour specific.
Two years ago the company set out to explore ways of making tomato flavour even more tomatoey. While the tomato flavour itself is provided by volatile substances, non-volatile substances, like glutamates and acids, support them in culinary dishes and make the flavour “tasty and delicious”, Jones explained.
Create Flavours first identified the non-volatile substances, then found other naturally materials, from a variety of sources, that could replicate them.
The result is “stunning, a perfect fit,” said Jones, who has only just started presenting the new enhancer to food manufacturers. It has been tested for use in a wide range of products, including soups, sauces and ready meals. It has also been tested for heat stability, making it suitable for high temperature processes and retort cooking, and can be labelled as ‘natural flavouring’ under the new European regulation.
The aim of the tomato enhancer programme was to find a way to bring out the best possible tomato taste. But Jones told FoodNavigator.com that the enhancer has a side benefit of allowing less tomato powder to be used, which reduces manufacturers’ vulnerability to fluctuations in tomato supply and prices.
Although Create Flavours focuses on the UK market, its flavours are now used globally.
The company has plans to work on specific taste enhancers for other flavours, such as meat and other vegetables. These are expected to be some years in development, however.