Global Flavor Creation

The new “flavorist” must now deal with disparate and multi-cultural consumers, adding several new dimensions to the ever-growing matrix, explained Timothy Webster, vice president of global business development at David Michael & Co.

Obviously, market drivers in Tianjin, China, are completely different from those in Oak Brook, Ill. In today's environment, it is not unheard of for a flavorist in Philadelphia to work with an associate application specialist in France to develop a food product that will be manufactured in Spain to be exported for sale in China.

Two different types of flavor systems have evolved—localized and globalized. The local system is developed to target the taste preferences of a particularly defined region. As the geographic area of this market increases—adding more-diverse cultures and taste history (becoming more global)—decisions must be made on how to develop the correct blend.

For example, moving from a Sichuan target to a Chinese target: Developers can extrapolate the same decisions as they expand to an Asian target and then a global target. As the target market grows, the product is further removed from the local preference of the consumer, but the individual consumer is always local. From the flavor-preference perspective, successful flavor creation depends upon developing specifically for local markets. This strategy can work well with regional and smaller companies.

Larger corporations are looking to streamline the supply chain, moving to a more global flavor solution—a single flavor system for a product worldwide. It is even better if that flavor can be used in multiple products. Developing a universally preferred flavor requires a complex series of decisions and compromises, made more difficult by cost-containment constraints that go hand-in-hand with profile demands. Today, main concerns are price and logistics costs, but other concerns are on the horizon. In the future, if not now, the flavor will need to be universally accepted from legislative and religious perspectives, be non-hazardous for shipping purposes, present no consumer objections from labeling and nutritional standpoints (allergens) and present no consumer objections from an ethical point of view (genetically modified organisms, GMOs).

The successful flavor creator will be able to help the customer understand the desires of the consumer and develop flavor systems to complement the operational strategy. To survive, the flavor company must re-invent itself, develop and rationally apply new technologies, and develop strategic alliances to drive costs out of the system while maintaining sufficient margin to support the creativity that makes successful food products.

“Difficulties in Global Flavor Creation,” Timothy Webster, David Michael & Co.,,

Beverage Sweetener Plus

The FDA has officially announced that a reduction in calorie intake is a fundamental step in the battle against obesity. Ulla Peterson Skytte, application and technical service manager for Arla Food Ingredients, explained how tagatose can help achieve these dietary goals.

Tagatose is a relatively new sweetener, equal to sucrose in sweetness but with some extra advantages. Tagatose is a low-glycemic, low-calorie sweetener with fiber-like effects, and can be used as a flavor enhancer in low dosages (below 1%) in many high-intensity sweetener systems. Tagatose synergizes with intense sweeteners, providing bulk, masking off-flavors and reducing lingering sweetness (a common problem for high-intensity sweeteners).

As a reducing monosaccharide, taga-tose is highly Maillard reactive, which is beneficial in creating flavor in certain food systems. Derived from galactose, tagatose is a ketohexose with the same chemical formula as fructose, another ketohexose with pronounced Maillard reactivity. However, studies document that tagatose develops completely different flavor components that can be cost efficient and used optimally to manufacture foods with characteristically caramelized malt flavor profiles. Among these are milk-based crumb chocolates and traditionally cooked cereals. See chart “Key Physical Properties of Tagatose” for more application advice.

"Tagatose: A Low-calorie, Low-glycemic, Functional Sweetener," Ulla P. Skytte, Arla Food Ingredients,