All About That Base

Adding flavor to food formulations can be a complicated process. One way to simplify that process — while improving the odds of product success — is to start by getting the base right.

The “right base” begins with a comprehensive approach that considers a variety of factors that influence the consumer experience beyond taste, which could include:

  • The nutritional composition of the food and how it will accept flavors
  • Sensory aspects that affect the perception of flavor
  • Consumer expectations for different types of foods and beverages

We think of it as using the right neutral canvas to create art with flavor.

Perfecting the Base

Many factors play a role in our own perception of flavor and in the way food interacts with flavors and extracts on a scientific level.

For example, protein and fat content can affect how flavor compounds are either hidden or enhanced. Some proteins like to trap flavor compounds, binding to them so they aren’t easily detected. But fat is a flavor carrier, making it easier to bring out flavor in higher-fat items. Inherent fats and sugars also contribute to mouthfeel, such as creaminess, thickness, fullness, chalkiness and overall texture.

Even something as simple as how a food is consumed can make a big difference in flavor perception. A beverage that gets sipped and swallowed will interact differently with taste buds than a caramel candy that melts in the mouth and spends a lot of time on the tongue, which will interact differently than a muffin that gets chewed.

Application scientists consider composition, consumption and consumer expectations in each product situation to determine the best base for creating a complete flavor experience.

Flavors That Flourish

When working with flavor experts, don’t be surprised if they make the initial conversation all about the base. Consider these additional tips for adding flavor effectively:

  1. Focus on the right problem. It is common for customers to focus on fixing the wrong issue. The team at Sensient always runs a thorough analysis of the formulation to help identify the true underlying causes of any issues and then provide options — usually multiple solutions or approaches — to address those issues. Customers can then choose the best solution to meet their product and budgetary requirements.
  • Over-communicate with your flavor and extracts partner. Describe every detail, even if you think it doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s a seemingly unrelated afterthought a customer shares that is the clue to solving the problem at hand.
  • Understand the nutritional composition of your product. Every aspect of your product’s nutritional makeup influences the approach we use to design an effective solution. For example, even one gram of sugar would lead us to choose a different flavor modifier than if there is no sugar present.
  • Be open to creativity. There is a whole world of flavors, extracts and formulation technologies that can elevate your product results. Be open to ideas and unexpected approaches to meeting your goals.

Sensient’s flavor experts work with your product developers to help with flavor formulation — starting with advice on getting the base right. Ultimately, this approach helps achieve a better result in a shorter time period, bringing your product to market faster.

Contact us to start a conversation. Together, we can perfect your base so that the flavors will flourish.