Givaudan said that it has developed the ‘largest, most comprehensive collection of data’ on plant proteins and taste ingredients in the industry.
Over the past year-and-a-half Givaudan’s ‘expert panel’ have conducted over 2,000 evaluations of sensory data collected by its technical team. This has been used to develop new maskers for off-notes in seven alternative proteins: soy; pea; faba; rice; oats; algae; and whey.
“The new solutions offer improved taste as they can be tailored to the specific taste challenges for each protein or protein combination, delivering better results,” Dr. Flavio Garofalo, global category director savoury flavours and natural ingredients, told FoodNavigator.
“They are suitable for use in clear label formulations, can be declared as natural flavours, are non-GM, do not contain common allergens, and can be supplied as Halal and Kosher.”
‘Short-cutting’ the formulation process with data
Masking off-notes in protein can be a time-intensive and complicated process, as one ingredient may counteract a particular off-note but exacerbate another. Each additional ingredient adds complexity to the ingredients list and may also increase overall cost.
Givaudan developed its SmartTools software in response to this challenge and, Dr. Garofalo suggested, the company’s flavourists can leverage this data to ‘short cut’ the development process.
“Striking the balance between functionality, texture, taste, nutrition and cost when working with alternative proteins is difficult to achieve without fully understanding the interactions of all the ingredients in the food or beverage product.
“Using the SmartTool flavourists are able to short cut the process and employ the knowledge held by the tool to enable them to quickly and simply find the right ingredients at the right concentrations to create effective, tailored flavours which address the specific challenges of a single protein or any protein mix.
“Today there are dozens of different types of plant proteins being used in product development and often in various combinations. In nearly every case there are off-notes that need to be addressed. Our SmartTool can be used to select the right masking ingredients to achieve the desired effect. The tool enables our flavourists to formulate a flavour solution that is well-suited for the application – and that tastes great.”
Fundamental research for future innovation
Givaudan said that by conducting ‘fundamental research’ to understand ‘all aspects related to off-notes generated by proteins’ leaves the company equipped to create additional taste ingredients going forward.
While the smart masking tool and subsequent maskers have been developed for nutritional beverages, their benefits are already proving useful in other applications, the Swiss company revealed. In particular, work has begun on applying this knowledge to solutions for meat alternatives.
The new maskers and SmartTool will be rolled out across all regions in the coming weeks and months.
The company said they demonstrate ‘significant progress’ in addressing the taste challenges associated with plant-based protein in nutritional beverages, as well as shining a light on further product development opportunities with lesser known proteins.
Dr. Garofalo noted that the use of masking agents can also have a positive impact on the overall nutritional profile of plant-based products, negating the necessity of adding sugar, for instance.
"The maskers do not address salt or fat reduction in formulations. However sugar is often used in formulations to mask astringency. Using our masking solutions as an alternative to combat astringent off-notes, will enable manufacturers to reduce sugar in an application."