Patented fresh flavour tech promises to revitalise stale ready meal category

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/joannatkaczuk
© GettyImages/joannatkaczuk

Related tags Flavor Food

Freeze-drying is great for locking in colour, nutrients and taste… but not the ‘fresh aroma’ profile of herbs, according to Givaudan, whose patented ‘top note’ flavours promise to revitalise the taste of processed ready meals.

In 2014, Givaudan brought together a group of chefs in New York to explore what constitutes a freshly prepared eating experience. Adding just-cut herbs to a dish was one of the aspects they identified.

However, capturing this ‘burst of freshness’ from herbs, vegetables and citrus fruits in convenience foods has been a challenge because the flavour molecules evaporate, oxidatise or enzymatically degrade.

Its R&D scientists set about developing a proprietary technology that prevents this degradation and gives a more accurate analysis and capture of the unique top notes.

Available in lime, lemon, asparagus, lettuce, basil, coriander and parsley, these top-note flavours will revitalise the taste of processed foods by creating the perception that fresh ingredients have just been cut and added to the dish, it said.

The next batch of flavours, which is already under development and will be available later this year, will include chive, cucumber, ginger, lemongrass and Thai basil.

Available in liquid and powder, the aromas will not be branded or sold separately, but will be added to other principle flavours to ‘lift’ the profile.

Global head of science and technology for Givaudan’s flavour division Fabio Campanile told FoodNavigator: “This is a technology invented and trademarked by Givaudan, which enables us to analyse the taste and aroma at the point of preparation, the moment when the ingredient was at its freshest.

“It specifically captures the fresh herb profile lost during freeze-drying and other preservation techniques.”

Natural and nature-identical

fresh herbs botanic basil merc67
© GettyImages/merc67

Givaudan manufactures the herb aromas as both a natural flavouring, which can be listed as such on ingredient lists, and as nature identical.

Nature-identical flavours are the chemical equivalent of natural ones but have been chemically synthesised rather than extracted from source materials. They are cheaper in cost and not subject to the sourcing issues that beset some natural flavours, such as vanilla.

The stability of the flavours depends upon the final application and processing conditions, but the supplier said overall stability is comparable to current flavour technologies.

Price depends on the production batch size but is comparable to traditional flavour solutions, Campanile added.

The Swiss flavour house is targeting the convenience food sector, such as ready meals, but says they could also be used in soups, dairy spreads and cold cuts as well as snack categories.

There could also be opportunities for use in dairy, beverages and sweet goods including bakery products, it added.

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