Functional Flavor Profiles
Health ingredients require custom-tailored formulas
VOL. 35 OCTOBER 2010
Several times a year, beverage flavorist Kathi Sparks and members of the flavor chemist team at Wild Flavors take part in “proactive flavor” projects,
developing lines addressing particular industry trends.
This time, the team custom tailored a flavor range for the
company’s health ingredients for beverages, nutritional
bars and coatings, and other foods with functionality.a
“Consumers are becoming more health conscious and
have a strong desire for natural products,” says Sparks.
“They want efficacious ingredients in both beverage and
food products that taste great and are natural—and they
want those products to be easily accessible.” As a result,
Sparks and her colleagues regularly work on functional
and low-calorie products, often using stevia extracts and
other natural sweetener blends.
“We’ve always focused on natural flavors, ingredients
and technology,” says Sparks. “It’s a really good fit for us.
We’re continually searching out new natural impactful
aroma chemicals and ingredients to formulate with.”
Sparks notes that the flavor chemists routinely col-
laborate both with the applications team and health
ingredients group in developing flavor concepts for
functional applications. “Our [health ingredients] team
developed all of these extracts and emulsions,” she
explains. “They’re very clean tasting, but there’s still a
taste that’s imparted. For example, in our green coffee
extract the active component is [the antioxidant] chloro-
genic acid. It imparts a slight acidic taste.” The extract
supports weight management by helping reduce the
amount of carbohydrates absorbed by the body. It can also
help manage blood sugar levels.
Despite its functionality, the material is, as mentioned,
acidic, in addition to solubility issues, requiring technical
solutions from the formulation team.“If you involve the
flavorist at the beginning of developing a beverage or a
finished product, we know exactly what’s in the base, what
processing parameters the product’s going to go through
and what the customer is looking for,” says Sparks. “The
health ingredients team puts them through their paces in
different model systems so that we really know the stabil-
ity of the ingredient. And we can taste that [functional]
product to see what flavor it’s imparting and pick flavors
that will pair very well with it. Also, we can incorporate
different [taste] blocking technologies to help the cus-
tomer tailor the product to what they need.”
One profile the team of flavor chemists created to
compliment the acidic aspect of the green coffee extract
was a natural tamarind flavor WONF (with other natural
flavors). The formulation works with the functional
material’s existing taste profile, Sparks explains. “The
tamarind is very earthy, sweet and resinous,” she says. “It
has a very acidic taste and pairs very well with the coffee
extract.” In addition, the chemists developed a natural
pineapple dragonfruit flavor WONF that is tailored to
work with the extract.
bMaxImmune is a trade name of Wild Flavors.