The Carbery-owned flavour and ingredients firm recently hired Ian Butler as innovations director to expand innovation activities and oversee the creation of the new function.
Butler, who worked for Firmenich and Danisco in the past and is seven months into his new role, told FoodNavigator.com that the new tool of working is now up and running. It involves deconstructing the flavours in natural foods, flavours and processed foods into their individual components.
The company works with clients on collaborative studies, which then feed into the work of the application teams so they can deliver tailor-made solutions. The challenge is to how understand the client process impacts the flavours, Butler explained – for instance if there are off-flavours generated.
As well as the client-focused work, Synergy’s innovation team is also takes a proactive approach to catering to global needs in flavours, working closely with the company’s global category and new product development teams.
Although Butler could not reveal specifics of any proactive research taking place at the moment, he hopes two initiatives will emerge from the pipeline in the next six months.
As for the most pressing trends shaping requirements in the market place, he said the biggest is health and wellness, particularly in relation to how salt and sugar reduction impacts flavour performance in the finished product.
He agreed that the analytical approach can also be helpful in the development of more true-to-life flavours.
The analytical research team at Synergy is made up of food chemists, analysts and biotechnologists, who provide support for Europe and Asia and are based in the UK (with a small group at the headquarters of Synergy’s parent company Carbery in Ireland).
While client-driven work yields fewer opportunities for publishing findings in scientific journals, Carbery is also involved in a collaborative research project with the University of North Carolina to research the flavour chemistry of whey protein ingredients.
This programme is characterising the inherent flavours present in its whey proteins, to gain information on the relationship between flavour, manufacturing processes, storage and consumer responses.
In addition, the parent company is heavily involved in Food for Health Ireland, a platform which is ‘mining’ milk in search of useful bioactive compounds.