A vegetarian pepperoni flavor can be used in applications such as calzones.
Vegetarianism continues to attract. Consumers interested in meat analog products include not only “true” vegetarians, but also “temporary” vegetarians. The latter category is comprised of consumers avoiding meat for a limited time to give themselves a health boost, to lose weight or to “cleanse” their systems. However, meat's savory taste continues to entice. Thus, food formulators continue to seek satisfying, meat-like flavors for vegetarian foods that are able to withstand manufacturing practices.

“We found a real need when we were designing these flavors,” states Stephen Williams, group technology manager, Kraft Food Ingredients Corp. (KFIC), Memphis, Tenn., of the company's recently expanded portfolio of vegetarian savory flavors. They are a new subset of the company's Flavors of Cooking™ line.

The items in the “Flavors of Cooking” line can be used to create unique, savory applications that can be easily adapted to fit a variety of ethnic cuisines, such as Southwestern, Caribbean and Mexican dishes. The line of savory flavors proves to be economical to manufacturers, as they save in time, labor and raw material costs.

Layering for Flavor Depth

A challenge when formulating with meat analogs is off-flavor, so product developers often use masking flavors. While these analogs are far better than the first generation ingredients offered to formulators, they still need some help. Developers using KFIC's vegetarian flavors have had good results incorporating them at just above the threshold to provide excellent savory flavor foundation notes that can be used as building blocks. “If you tasted a product using our chicken brothy flavor, you may not taste that flavor, but when you consume the product, you get a savory note—it makes the product much more satisfying,” explains Williams. “The flavors can be added at 1% to 2% to get that characterizing type flavor profile, or used at a much lower level to get a savory background flavor.”

Layering flavors provides more complexity. Customers using the KFI vegetarian flavors have had a better depth profile when combining Natural Flavor Enhancer with Chicken and Vegetable Broth Flavor, or with Beef Broth Flavor. The Natural Flavor Enhancer intensifies the meat or savory flavor so that there is a “multiplication” of flavor. The company's All Purpose Savory Flavor often is used as a base—it imparts a hearty, savory flavor profile in conjunction with meat and poultry. “It adds a boost or intensifies overall flavor of chicken or whatever protein you have in the product,” states Williams. Additionally, these vegetarian flavors work well with others in the Flavors of Cooking line, such as grilled and roasted flavors.

Applications for the line's Smoky Bacon Flavor include baked beans, lentils, cabbage, or other vegetables, as they give the application a flavor “richness.”

Another vegetarian flavor that has had excellent reception is Pepperoni Flavor. This product has a very authentic pepperoni flavor and its profile works well in sausages and in baked goods such as lasagna.

The flavor line's application rates are comparable to standard flavors. They can be used in applications such as vegetarian stews, grain-based burgers, tofu, pasta dishes, snacks, sauces and fillings.

For more information:
Mike Veal at 901-381-6543
Steve.Williams@kraft.com, www.kraft.com
Kraft Food Ingredients Corp. Write in 307