Enhancing Mouthfeel: Crossing Taste & Texture with NACRE

Florence Hanot, Senior Flavorist, Sensient Flavors & Extracts

As published in a Food Ingredients First article:

“Mouthfeel” is not only a matter of texture, but also a complex feeling made of fattiness, juiciness, roundness and salivation — sensations linked to umami — Florence Hanot, senior flavorist at Sensient, tells us. “The idea is to provide an ingredient that will restore the craveability of light food.”

“Our latest NPD in mouthfeel is a vegetable protein extract called Nacre which is a clean label, low salt and high protein flavoring solution manufactured in a sustainable manner. It is a versatile product of neutral taste profile with high umami boosting properties while also delivering a pleasant lasting taste.”

Sensient uses Nacre internally as a building block to develop ranges of flavoring solutions and seasonings supporting mouthfeel and umami. This includes vegan meat flavors and salt-reduced seasonings.

“Nacre is the result of an R&D program at Sensient over several years, which is still ongoing,” Hanot highlights. “The development started following our understanding of the market and consumer behaviors and expectations.”

Sensient has conducted numerous sensory tests with trained panels to characterize the umami and long-lasting effects of Nacre.

“It has been assessed in comparison with other commercially available umami solutions — such as yeast extracts, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, monosodium glutamate and mushroom extracts — in a diversity of applications,” says Hanot.

Nacre has shown good capabilities in salt modulation and as a taste booster overall. “Its light color and high solubility make it easy to use in a wide range of savory applications, running from plant-based meat to snacks, sauces, soups, bouillon, processed meat and bakery,” Hanot highlights.

Nacre and its derivatives benefit from a “natural flavoring” declaration.

“Thanks to its physical characteristics and its neutral taste profile in comparison to other commercially available umami solutions, Nacre can also be a relevant product for sweet applications,” says Phillippa Holford, master flavorist of sweet and beverage at Sensient.

“Customers are indeed facing mouthfeel & taste quality loss situations when reformulating for nutritional improvement — such as for sugar reduction, fat reduction and low-alcohol applications — or economical reasons. Through our investigations, we have confirmed a very conclusive effect of Nacre to support those goals in a cost-effective manner while maintaining end product quality.”