When matching a flavour, it is important to have as much information as possible before beginning. Knowing the processing conditions of the product is key because this will affect the flavour impact in the final product. Certain solvents are best for low temperature processing because they will evaporate under high heat leaving behind very little flavour. Yet, these same solvents may be ideal for a low heat treatment because they are less expensive than their heat stable counterparts.
The composition of the base or final product is especially important. The percentage of oil soluble constituents, such as butter and canola oil, will determine whether the base needs an oil soluble or a water soluble flavour. Our solvents cover both types, but how we build and test the flavour will depend on this solubility. A basic formulation for your product
is always the easiest way to get the information we need. We aren’t looking to replicate your product, only to get a rough idea of its ingredients along with processing conditions. Additionally, if you are concerned about giving us your basic formulation, Novotaste is willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement with your company so you can be assured that the information will never leave our labs.
Once this basic information is gathered the Novotaste Research & Development Team sets out to match the flavour. We begin by smelling and tasting it in the appropriate medium, water for example. By tasting the flavour in the appropriate medium we have removed the complexity and interfering tastes of your base. This helps us to better analyze the flavour to determine which aromatic chemicals to include in the flavour.
Our first formulation is based on this initial impression. This first trial encompasses the “backbone” of the flavour. It contains all of the major constituents, however, they may not all be in the right proportions yet. This first trial is tasted in sugar water and compared to the flavour we are trying to match, called the “standard”. From there the backbone notes of the flavour are adjusted and the more subtle notes are added and adjusted in the formulation. These subtle notes make the flavour distinctive, so they are crucial to identify and include in the flavour.
Once we believe that our flavour matches the standard when tasted in the appropriate medium, we move on to test the flavours in the final application. The additional complexity provided by the base enhances the flavour and gives us an indication of how close our flavour matches the standard. If it is not a match, we go back the drawing board and tweak up the flavour. A match can take anywhere from 6 to 60 trials; we keep formulating until we have achieved an acceptable version. If it is a match, sensory testing is done throughout the company to get further opinions and the flavour is prepared to send to you for your own evaluation.
The process is similar for matching the flavour of a fruit or vegetable. We are constantly on the lookout for exotic produce and when we find something new we buy it, taste it, and share our impressions of it among the R&D Team. We then replicate the flavour through tasting and formulation adjustments until we succeed in matching the product.