This ingredient’s fruity, guava, balsamic aroma adds charisma
to strawberry and other flavors.
John Wright; email@example.com
Strawberry flavors have undergone severalgenerationalchangessince the advent of GC/MS analyses
allowed flavorists to use nature more
liberally as a source of inspiration and
ideas. Many of the ingredients used in
more modern strawberry flavors were
newly developed as a result of their
analytical discovery, but some of them
were familiar raw materials for which
analysis simply indicated new uses.
Methyl cinnamate (FEMA# 2698, CAS#
103-26-4) belongs very firmly in the
latter category. It is not exactly a modern
flavor ingredient, but the discovery of
this chemical’s interesting fruity, guava,
balsamic aroma in fresh strawberries has
sparked renewed interest. Today, it would
be very difficult to find a strawberry flavor
on the shelf of any laboratory that does not
contain high levels of methyl cinnamate.
I would never advocate using nature
as a cast-iron template for flavor creation,
but it is sometimes at least worth using
nature as a reality check. Unfortunately,
the use of methyl cinnamate fails that reality check by a wide margin. The levels of
methyl cinnamate that are often used in
strawberry flavors far exceed the levels
of this ingredient that normally occur in
real strawberries. This imbalance seems
not to be too problematic at first, but it
carries with it several subtle drawbacks.
Most commercial strawberry flavors are
a little too cloying because of the unnaturally high levels of methyl cinnamate,
and they are also relatively inflexible in
respect of dose rates. Excessive levels of
methyl cinnamate also impose some cost
penalties, especially in natural with other
natural flavors (WONF) flavors.
If we take a closer look at real strawberries, we will find they also contain
ethyl cinnamate (FEMA# 2430, CAS#
103-36-6), a very attractive ingredient
with an even more pronounced fruity,
guava profile. When used in this combination, the two cinnamates benefit from
a degree of synergy. It reduces costs in
strawberry flavors and results in flavors
with more realistic profiles and much
more application flexibility.
The dose rates given below are the
levels of ethyl cinnamate to be used in
flavors that are intended to be dosed at
0.05% in a ready-to-drink taster, beverage or bouillon. With the exception of
strawberry they all assume the chemical
is used alone, without other members of
the same family.
Strawberry: It is possible to use very
high levels of ethyl cinnamate in strawberry flavors, even up to 10,000 ppm,
but much better effects are achieved by
using lower levels, ideally in combination
with methyl cinnamate. In my opinion,
the range from 200 ppm to 1,000 ppm in
strawberry flavors is ideal and gives the
most authentic results.
Raspberry: Ethyl cinnamate can also
be useful in raspberry flavors, adding
to the depth and richness of the profile
at levels ranging from 50 ppm up
to 500 ppm, with 200 ppm being an ideal
Cranberry: The profile of this ingredient is quite important to the overall
character of cranberry flavors and the
ideal level of use is in the region of
Blackberry: The effect in blackberry
flavors is similar to raspberry flavors, but
the ideal level is a little lower, around
Cherry: Cherry flavors can often be
overly balsamic, so moderate levels of
ethyl cinnamate are most effective, usually in the vicinity of 100 ppm.
Blueberry: As with stra wberry flavors,
it is possible to get away with overdosing
the cinnamate esters but the best effects
are achieved with quite low levels in the
region of 50 ppm.
Black currant: High levels of ethyl
and methyl cinnamate are sometimes
used in black currant flavors, but the most
realistic fresh fruit effects are achieved
by additions around 50 ppm.
Tropical Fruit Flavors
Guava: This ingredient is so guavalike in
character that it could almost serve as a
stand-alone flavor. Levels of use vary dramatically but even very high levels, around
5,000 ppm, are extremely attractive.
Star fruit: Star fruit is quite a delicate
fruit and star fruit flavors are generally
nowhere near as pungent as guava flavors.
Nevertheless, this flavor category can also