Flavor Enhancement:

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October 2001
Cover Story

Flavor Enhancement:
Taking Taste from
So-So to Spectacular


By Christine Homsey
Contributing Editor

Are you working on a product that, despite numerous iterations, seems to lack that “certain something”? Although the basic flavor may be pleasant, maybe the product just isn’t as round, interesting or savory as it could be. What can a food technologist do?


Rather than adding more flavor to the system, simply enhancing the existing flavors may do the trick. Adding a flavor potentiator, introducing a complementary flavor or even using a different cooking technique could accomplish this. This article will discuss some ingredients and techniques for taking a product from so-so to spectacular.


The basics of taste

Most of us are familiar with what traditionally has been designated as the four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty and bitter. In addition to these, the Japanese have long recognized a fifth taste called umami (“oo-MOM-ee”). Umami, a taste distinctly separate from salty, is described as “savory,” “brothy,” “meaty” or “MSG-like.” Mushrooms, with their very savory, meat-like notes, embody the umami concept almost perfectly.


Flavor is sensorially different from taste. Taste is a function of the taste buds on our tongues, whereas flavor is related to smell. Flavor enhancers may impact the taste and/or flavor of a food. Some enhancers impart an actual flavor that complements the characterizing flavor, but other substances such as MSG, salt and some nucleotides are considered flavor potentiators because they give no flavor of their own at typical usage levels. Potentiators do, however, enhance or intensify other flavors.


A pinch of salt
Sodium chloride (salt) is a flavor enhancer used in most prepared foods, whether sweet or savory. In addition to adding the taste sensation of saltiness, sodium chloride enhances our perception of most other flavors.


Salt needs to be solubilized for full functionality. Although the amount of salt that a solution can hold is finite — about 26% by weight — the form the salt takes can change the rate of solubilization. For example, finer granulations of salt will dissolve more rapidly than coarser forms. In low-moisture foods, a very fine salt (flour salt) may be desirable to get better distribution since otherwise, it may not be fully solubilized. Most salt is sold in the typical cube-shaped crystalline form, but specialty salts with unique crystal shapes provide extremely fast dissolution. These unique crystals possess a greater surface area, which allows for greater solubility when exposed to water.


In addition to enhancing pleasant flavors, salt can also heighten less-desirable notes. In a soy- or oat-based nutrition bar, salt can cause the beany or grainy notes to dominate the desired flavor. When purchasing a chocolate- or strawberry-flavored bar, consumers generally expect to taste chocolate or strawberry. They may not be expecting a strong soy or cereal flavor. In such instances, the developer will need to determine the threshold at which the salt begins to have a detrimental effect. Also, flavor-masking agents may be needed to suppress some of the undesirable notes before the final flavoring system is developed.


Product designers need to take many factors into account when deciding on a product’s final salt level. Because sweet products usually do not have an obviously salty taste, it is easy to forget salt’s impact on overall flavor when designing sweet baked goods. As other ingredients are manipulated, the salt level may need some adjustment. When working on savory products, consider the sodium contained in other ingredients such as seasoning blends, meat bases or vegetable bases. Finished product form also will affect the final salt level. Frozen products tend to need a slightly higher salt level than equivalent products that are freshly prepared. For this reason, salt levels should be determined based on evaluations of reconstituted products. Ultimately, deciding on the salt level for a product can be tricky because salt palatability varies across cultures, age groups and individuals.


Mastering MSG
The amino acid glutamic acid occurs naturally in many foods, such as tomatoes, mushrooms, corn, potatoes, nectarines, cheese, green tea, fish, beef and even human breast milk. In foods where glutamic acid occurs at low levels, it still has some impact on the taste of the food.


Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. Although MSG was extracted from seaweed in the early 1900s, the pure granular form is now produced through fermentation by the organism Corynebacterium glutamicum. MSG has no flavor of its own at normal usage levels, but it greatly enhances and lifts savory foods. The enhancing abilities of MSG are affected somewhat by the food system’s pH, making it most effective at a pH range of 5.5 to 8.0. High temperatures also may cause some loss of effectiveness.


MSG and salt are used at similar levels in food formulation. Using too little MSG will prevent a product from reaching its full flavor potential; when used at levels well over the perception threshold, it will not have any additional flavor-enhancing effect.


MSG must be specifically included in ingredient lists as “monosodium glutamate” when added in its pure form. Modified food ingredients that contain glutamic acid (such as hydrolyzed plant protein and autolyzed yeast extract) must be declared by their legal names. Glutamic acid is not declared when it is part of a natural food such as tomatoes; just the food itself is listed.


The FDA designated MSG as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in 1958, but MSG was besieged by bad publicity in the early 1990s. Some MSG manufacturers experienced a slight sales decline after CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired a particularly negative segment. Since then, however, sales of this enhancer have seen steady growth and the FDA reaffirmed MSG’s safety in 1995 as a result of a report issued by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.


Using 5'-nucleotides
Nucleotides used as flavor potentiators include disodium 5'-inosinate (IMP) and disodium 5'-guanylate (GMP). Although sometimes used as replacements for MSG, these nucleotides are synergistic with MSG and will have the most impact when combined with it. Sales of 5'-nucleotides grew steadily in the early 1990s when, as a result of consumer outcry, manufacturers quickly set about creating MSG-free product lines. Like MSG, nucleotides are often used in savory foods such as meats, soups, sauces, gravies, vegetables, snacks and Asian cuisine. Typical usage levels for nucleotides are approximately 0.2% to 0.3% in a finished product.


The dry, white crystalline forms of IMP and GMP are generally stable, but may degrade slightly when undergoing thermal processes such as retorting (at temperatures of about 240°F or more). These nucleotides may also lose activity when exposed to enzymes, irradiation or water loss (5'-nucleotides are soluble in water).


When nucleotides are combined with MSG, it often reduces their taste thresholds, so it requires less to achieve the intended effect and reduces costs. In addition to affecting the intensity of a flavor, combinations of potentiators may also impact the quality of taste as well.


According to Dave Barbour, director of sales for the food ingredient division of Ajinomoto U.S.A. Inc., Paramus, NJ, one nucleotide will sometimes be more effective than another in a specific application. For this reason, IMP and GMP often are sold as a 50/50 blend commonly referred to as “I and G” or “I plus G.” Many manufacturers do not want to inventory a variety of flavor enhancers or spend time optimizing every formula, so the blend serves as an effective compromise. Says Barbour, “I plus G is a one-size-fits-all product.”


Simply soy sauce
Soy sauce — available in liquid and dry forms — gives a meaty, hearty flavor to foods. This ingredient adds depth to many foods, such as meats, marinades, vegetables, Asian entrées, pot pies, sauces, gravies, salad dressings, soups, bouillon, barbecue sauces, mustards, dips and seasoning blends.


According to Don Iwinski, director of industrial sales (San-J products) for Ajinomoto U.S.A., U.S. soy sauce is marketed in four major varieties: tamari, shoyu and clear shoyu, all of which are fermented, plus a nonfermented product made with vegetable or plant protein. Tamari is based almost exclusively (90% to 100%) on soybeans, whereas shoyu is made from wheat and soybeans. Clear shoyu actually has a light amber color, enhances flavors like regular shoyu and works well in applications that require a lighter color. The nonfermented form of soy sauce is a less-expensive alternative to the other soy sauces and is prepared by acid hydrolysis of vegetable or plant protein with caramel coloring, corn syrup, salt and other flavoring agents added.


The various processes used to manufacture soy sauce create entirely different amino-acid profiles in the finished sauce. According to Kunitomo Kizu, assistant vice president, research and development, Kikkoman Marketing and Planning, Elgin, IL, the fermented or “brewed” forms are produced through the controlled activity of mold, yeast and lactic acid bacteria. During the fermentation process, the action of enzymes produced by the koji mold breaks down the proteins from soybeans (and sometimes wheat) into amino acids. This results in almost 300 identifiable compounds that contribute to soy sauce’s complex flavor and aroma. Kizu says that “naturally brewed soy sauce has a harmonious balance of the tastes salty, bitter, sweet, sour and umami, coupled with a savory aroma. Because of these characteristics, soy sauce will bring out hidden flavors in many foods when used during processing.”


Salt, which is contained at about 13.7% on a weight/weight basis in regular soy sauce, also contributes to the flavor-enhancing effect and works synergistically with glutamic acid (the predominant amino acid in soy sauce) to enhance food flavor. Because of the high sodium levels in soy sauce, product designers may need to reduce salt elsewhere in a formulation. Reduced-sodium, or “lite,” soy sauces are available for formulating lower-sodium products. Lite soy sauce is useful for modifying a too-salty product that lacks another salt source in the product that could be reduced.


Usage level will vary widely depending on the application and form of soy sauce used. Kizu says that in general, a level of 5% to 50% liquid soy sauce is used in soups, sauces and gravies. Generally, the more that is used, the more an enhancing effect can be expected, up to a point where a very salty taste will result. If too little is used, not much of a flavor change will be noticed.


Soy sauce should be declared on a food label as “soy sauce” followed by the ingredients used in its manufacture. For instance, a preservative-free soy sauce might be declared as “soy sauce (water, soybeans, wheat, salt)” on the ingredient statement. No restrictions on usage or applications are imposed on soy sauce. It is sometimes used as a substitute for pure MSG in foods, giving the impression of a cleaner label, although glutamic acid is the predominating amino acid in soy sauce.


Miso, another fermented soybean product commonly used in Asian cuisine, is gaining popularity in other foods. According to Iwinski, this ancient Japanese preparation is made primarily from soybeans, either by themselves or in combination with rice or barley. Typical applications include soups, sauces, dressings and spreads.


Hydrolyzed enhancement
Hydrolyzed plant and vegetable proteins (HPP or HVP) and yeast extracts also give savory, umami-type flavors to foods. These enhancers are available as individual ingredients or as components of more complex flavors and bases. They can enhance meaty notes or reduce costs when a limited amount of actual meat is used. They also add a meat-like flavor to vegetarian products.


According to Joanne S. Ferrara, vice president of product development, FIS-North America, Solon, OH, “Hydrolyzed plant proteins are composed primarily of amino acids and salts resulting from the acid-catalyzed breakdown of peptide bonds. The meaty-brothy flavor character that results is a delicate balance of amino acids.” The plant proteins commonly used as bases for HPP are corn, soy and wheat.


“Yeast extract is produced through the hydrolysis of peptide bonds by the naturally occurring enzymes present in edible yeast or by the addition of food-grade enzymes,” says Ferrara. “The composition of amino acids, peptides, carbohydrates and salts provides a savory flavor and enhancement for numerous applications.” Yeast extracts are especially effective as enhancers for cheese flavors used in sauces, baked goods, dips and snacks.


Other enhancer ideas
When searching for savory ingredients to enhance a product, fish-based sauces and pastes may not immediately come to mind. Commonly made from anchovies, these often fermented ingredients are staples in many Asian cuisines. Fish sauces and pastes can provide a strong fish note or a subtle, general savoriness.


For example, anchovy paste (made from crushed anchovy fillets or added as a commercial preparation) is a key ingredient in classic Caesar salad dressings. Depending on the amount of anchovy paste used, Caesar dressing can be distinctly fishy-tasting or possess no discernable fish flavor at all. At very low levels, anchovy pastes also are excellent in tomato-based sauces, such as those used to top stuffed green peppers or cabbage rolls. Be forewarned, though, that handling these ingredients can be a rather “aromatic” experience.


Chefs often blend the flavors of carrot, celery and onion to create a profile known as mirepoix. This flavor works well when trying to coax a savory note out of meat-free dishes, a feat sometimes difficult to accomplish when meaty broths or natural meat flavors can’t be used. Product designers can choose from various forms of mirepoix: prepared bases, vegetable juices, pureed vegetables and compounded flavors. Vegetable pieces also can be used, but not as much flavor will be released as when vegetables are macerated before processing, especially when using frozen vegetables.


Carrot juice or puree can impart sweetness and roundness to soups, sauces and other forms and is available in aseptic and frozen forms. If not overly bitter, celery also adds a nice flavor.


Onions greatly enhance meat and vegetable flavor and make a dish interesting depending on whether they are sautéed, caramelized, roasted, or use other preparation methods. Pre-sautéed and roasted onions are becoming more common as manufacturing facilities seek to streamline operations.


Garlic also enhances meat flavors and, like onions, is available in whole, chopped, minced and pureed forms and comes in frozen, refrigerated and shelf-stable forms.


Cheeses, with their many forms and complex flavors, offer a variety of options for creating a full-bodied flavor. Whether it’s a mellow, buttery Cheddar profile or a tangy Parmesan note, a cheese-based ingredient may be just what a product needs. In addition to imparting a characteristic flavor, cheese contains amino acids, such as glutamic acid, that further enhance the foods in which they are included.


The target flavor profile obviously influences which types of cheese ingredients a formulator pursues, and the end product will dictate which forms can be used. For example, in a cold-processed refrigerated product, all ingredients should have low microbial counts and low residual enzyme activity. When a finished product doesn’t receive a heat treatment, enzymes can cause many problems, such discoloration, loss of viscosity and loss of structural integrity. In situations such as this, natural cheese may be out of the question. Pasteurized cheese products and compounded cheese flavors may be a better option; be sure to check with the supplier to make sure the ingredients meet your specifications.


Cost is also a major factor in choosing cheese ingredients. An enzyme modified cheese (EMC) paste or compounded flavor can greatly enhance overall cheese flavor while reducing the amount of natural cheese used in an application.


For a closer look at dairy-based flavors such as cheese, see “Discovering Dairy Flavors” in the December 2000 issue of Food Product Design.


Other savory flavors
A variety of savory flavors can be created through the combination of basic savory ingredients and compounded flavors. Ferrara says that FIS takes a modular flavor-system approach in which base notes, such as HPP, yeast extract and soy sauce, contribute body and depth to the flavor.


“The specific notes or mid-notes (processed flavors) assist in defining or adding authenticity to a flavor.” notes Ferrara. “They also bring an added dimension by enhancing, modifying or broadening the flavor profile. The topnotes (compound flavors) are concentrated molecules that boost the character of other flavor components by providing specificity.”


Vanilla variations
Vanilla, the most popular flavor in the world, can act as a stand-alone flavor or as a complement to other flavors. In fact, what most of us consider chocolate flavor would not be the same without the smoothing effects of vanilla, nor would many dairy products seem as rich and creamy.


The vanilla “bean” is actually the fruit of orchids, and only two species of orchids produce the world’s vanilla bean crop. Vanilla planifolia (also known as Vanilla fragrans) is grown in Mexico, Bali, Indonesia and what are known as the Bourbon Islands (Madagascar, Comoro Islands, Seychelles and Reunion). Vanilla tahitensis is grown in Tahiti. The United States is the largest consumer of vanilla beans, most of which come from Madagascar. (Although of high quality, very little vanilla is exported from Mexico.) In fact, most Americans are so accustomed to the smooth, sweet, rich, full-bodied flavor of Bourbon vanilla that other vanillas may taste rather odd in comparison. Vanilla beans produced from V. tahitensis in Tahiti are distinctly different from the others; they have a fruity, sweet, perfumey profile with the floral notes of heliotropin.


The ultimate flavor of the vanilla bean depends on where it was grown and how it was cured. Vanilla beans produced in the Bourbon Islands and Mexico are widely considered to have the best flavor, whereas beans that come from Indonesia are considered inferior because they are picked before ripening and then cured over wood fires, resulting in harsh, smoky tones.


Once the beans reach the United States, they are extracted with ethanol to create pure vanillas. A one-fold vanilla is the flavoring achieved by extracting 13.35 oz. of vanilla beans with one gal. of alcohol. A two-fold extract is twice as strong, i.e., 26.70 oz. of vanilla beans are used per one gal. of liquid. Three-folds and four-folds also are available. The higher folds are especially useful in manufacturing since less liquid needs to be handled and shipped. Pure vanilla extracts contain at least 35% alcohol by volume; otherwise, they are labeled as flavors. Extracts of different bean origins often are blended; for instance, Bourbon and Tahitian vanillas frequently are combined to create a “French vanilla” flavor.


In addition to pure vanilla extracts and flavors, many other options exist for imparting vanilla-type flavor, such as vanilla-vanillin blends, imitation vanillas and vanilla WONFs. Dry vanilla powders (natural and imitation) are useful when a liquid cannot be used. Manufacturers will sometimes add vanilla bean pieces are to products, such as ice creams and custards, for a natural visual appeal.


Imitation vanillas are based on vanillin or ethyl vanillin, which are derived respectively from wood pulp (the byproduct of the paper industry) and guaiacol (a coal tar derivative). Alcohol, propylene glycol and/or glycerin are used as carriers. Other artificial and natural ingredients may be added to enhance the flavor; adding caramel color can make the product look more like natural vanilla.


Although natural vanillin is the primary constituent of natural vanilla flavor, more than 200 other compounds contribute to vanilla flavor. Although some of these compounds are present in trace amounts, their impact cannot be discounted. Vanillin itself is not as round or pleasant as natural vanilla flavor as a whole, but imitation vanillas have improved greatly over the years and offer inexpensive alternatives to the real thing.


Sweet stevia

An alternative sweetener receiving much attention is stevia, a perennial shrub officially known as Stevia rebaudiana. Although not GRAS or considered a food additive in the United States, stevia leaves have been used for hundreds of years in South America as a sweetener for bitter herbal drinks such as maté. Stevia has been legal for use as a food ingredient in Japan since the 1970s and is used in Japanese versions of familiar products such as diet Coke®. In the leaf form, stevia is approximately 10 to 30 times sweeter than sucrose, and in extracted form, it can be up to 300 times sweeter than sucrose.


The primary chemical in stevia that is responsible for its sweet taste is a glycoside known as stevioside. This glycoside enhances flavor and imparts sweetness without calories. Like a few other non-nutritive sweeteners, stevia and stevioside extract have a slightly bitter, licorice-like aftertaste.


Although legally marketed in the United States as a dietary supplement only, many consumers are choosing to overlook this technicality. Stevia is being used on the consumer level for beverages and baked goods and is available in health- and natural-foods stores in extract form. Whether stevia will gain approval and be used on an industrial level is unknown. Proponents of approving stevia as a food ingredient in the United States say that the FDA is kowtowing to the special interests of the synthetic sweetener industry. The FDA in turn says that inadequate research has been conducted regarding stevia’s safety.


More sweet things

Processors obtain licorice extracts from the roots of the licorice plant, Glycyrrhiza glabra. In addition to their ability to act as flavor potentiators, modifiers and intensifiers, these extracts can round out some flavor profiles and disguise bitterness and astringency. Licorice extracts have a sweetness of their own — up to 50 times sweeter than sucrose — and can greatly enhance an already sweetened product as a result of synergies with both natural and synthetic sweeteners. The ingredients are used at very low levels, below the licorice-flavor detection threshold.


Licorice extracts are available as a brown powder (ammonium glycyrrhizinate) that contains a significant amount of the natural licorice flavor, and as white powder (mono-ammonium glycyrrhizinate), which has a cleaner flavor. The correct form depends on whether a product’s flavor is compatible with that of licorice.


Known by its brand name TalinTM, thaumatin is an intense sweetener that, like stevia, can give a licorice-like aftertaste. This sweetener is a protein extracted from the katemfe fruit, which is grown in Western Africa, and has approximately 2,000 times the sweetness of sucrose. Thaumatin’s slow-acting taste causes flavors to be perceived over a long period of time, allowing it to enhance a variety of sweet and savory flavors. Like licorice extracts, it works synergistically with nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners, and masks bitter and metallic tastes.


Human and animal studies performed to date show that thaumatin is safe for consumption, but the FDA has not yet approved it for use as a sweetener. The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA), Washington, D.C., however, has approved it as a flavor enhancer at low levels. Thaumatin is legal for use in the EC as a general flavor preparation and also is approved as a sweetener in beverages, desserts and chewing gum.


Maltol and ethyl maltol can enhance the flavor systems of sweet goods and are often characterized by their “cotton candy” flavor. A small quantity of these compounds can significantly reduce the amount of sweeteners needed in a product. In general, maltols can enhance flavor, potentiate sweetness, reduce bitterness and suppress acid bite or burn. They also can create the perception of creaminess in many products, especially those containing dairy ingredients. Compounded flavors often include maltol and ethyl maltol.


Addressing acids

Having a properly balanced tartness is important. Vinegar, or acetic acid, is a major component of tangy salad dressings and zippy barbecue sauces. Citric acid, commonly added in granular form, is used in beverages, fruit-flavored products, tomato products and sauces. Malic acid, which occurs naturally in apples, also is used to impart tartness to fruity flavors. Tartaric acid traditionally has been considered a natural companion to grape-flavored products, but consumers have become so accustomed to grape enhanced with citric acid that they may find tartaric-enhanced products to have a harsh taste. Soft drinks commonly contain phosphoric acid, alone and in combination with citric acid.


In addition to adding flavor and tartness, acids help lower pH and act as a preservative. Many developers start with citric acid as an all-purpose acidulant and branch out as necessary to other acids to create a balanced, pleasant tartness. Acidulants are generally labeled by name on packages, i.e., “citric acid,” “malic acid” or “phosphoric acid.” Acetic acid is labeled as “vinegar” or “acetic acid.”


Who was that masked flavor?
Flavor masking agents can decrease undesirable notes to help create good tasting profiles in products containing off-flavored ingredients. These agents can disguise bitterness, chalkiness and sourness, and can tone down pungent and metallic notes. Sometimes this flavor improvement is accomplished by heightening a desirable quality, such as sweetness, so that other flavors are less noticeable.


Masking agents are especially popular for products containing soy- and cereal-based ingredients and may help mask off-notes in isolated soy proteins, soy concentrates and soymilk. According to Joe Minella, manager of beverage applications, Virginia Dare Extract Co., Brooklyn, NY, these agents help reduce the beany notes of the soy and form a bland and creamy base on which to add flavors. These masking flavors are used in protein-based nutrition beverages, nutrition bars, desserts and soymilk products.


FIS also offers masking agents. Ferrara recommends incorporating the system to cover certain off-notes in products containing soy, minerals or vitamins. This agent is used at a near threshold level so that the flavor of the agent itself is not perceived, but off-notes are suppressed. Says Ferrara, “The challenge is to find the right balance and use level of the masking flavor in conjunction with the flavor system and ultimate application.”


Sweetness modifiers can greatly improve products that have a variety of flavor problems. For instance, Virginia Dare markets a proprietary product for sweet goods, which is not a sweetener itself, but can lift the sweetness of a food or beverage and reduce the mouth-lingering “hang” from artificial sweeteners, thus providing a more natural-tasting sweetness profile. In addition, these modifiers were designed to effectively mask specific compounds responsible for off-flavor. Typical applications include cereals, nutrition bars, frozen and ready-to-eat desserts, beverages, sports nutrition products, nutraceuticals, dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals.


Other enhancers include products that cover some of the “barny” off-notes associated with dairy ingredients such as dried milk and cheese powders. Also, tomato toners or enhancers help reduce perceived acidity while increasing cooked-tomato flavor.


Janet Schurig, director of applications for sweet goods at Virginia Dare, suggests masking undesirable off-notes before overlaying the base system with regular flavors. “If you are working with a base that has a bitter or medicinal note, you will want to achieve a more pleasant-tasting base before you add a characterizing flavor,” she says. “When you are at a point of detecting an improvement, meaning a more palatable base, you will then add your characterizing flavor.”


Masking agents usually are available in natural and artificial versions and in dry and liquid forms. Most are designed so that they can be labeled simply as flavors, i.e., “natural flavor” or “natural and artificial flavors.”


Many companies have built their entire business around flavor-masking technologies and most flavor houses have added masking agents to their conventional flavoring products. Testing and comparing technologies from several suppliers is highly recommended to ensure product optimization.


More tricks of the trade
The world of flavor enhancers is expansive, and we’ve discussed only a few. Others include wine and even chocolate or cocoa. Chocolate is an integral part of Mexican mole sauce and can add a wonderful background to many other sauces, soups and chilies. Maillard flavors, produced through the reaction of amino acids with reducing sugars, can help when trying to add a low cost “meaty” flavor to a product. These reaction flavors also are useful for adding meat-like or generally savory flavors to vegetarian products.


To successfully enhance a product’s flavor, think carefully about the ingredients already in the food and what enhancing techniques or ingredient may further improve the product. When deciding to try a particular ingredient, find out what effects have typically been observed with that ingredient. For example, IMP is said to increase sweetness and decrease saltiness in food, so if a product already seems too sweet, it may not be the answer. Also, simply using too much of an enhancer can be detrimental. Salt’s ability to boost soy or cereal notes would be a detriment in a product where such flavors are not desirable.


If a product’s flavor isn’t quite up to snuff, don’t despair. With numerous flavor-enhancing ingredients available, one is bound to do the trick with spectacular results.


Christine M. Homsey is a food scientist with Food Perspectives, a consulting firm in Plymouth, MN. She has developed products for the grocery and restaurant industries and can be reached at chomsey@foodperspectives.com.



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