The 10th Annual West Coast Flavor Industry Forum—sponsored by the National Association of Flavors and Food-Ingredient Systems, Society of Flavor Chemists and Chemical Sources Association—presented a range of talks on key topics: citrus oils, mint and umami. Richard Pisano Jr. (Citrus & Allied Essences) discussed citrus oil markets and supply chain management as it pertained to grapefruits, oranges, limes and lemons, noting that because companies tend to keep inventory low, there is not as much slack in the market as in the past. “It doesn’t take much to go from a buyer to a seller,” he concluded. Meanwhile, Becky Adams (Savoury Systems) opened a discussion of umami by outlining the history of its discovery and eventual market impact, initially in the form of MSG. Next, Dave Adams (Savoury Systems) outlined a number of umami-enhancing materials in products on the market, including those that overcome certain restrictions (i.e. wheat and soy). Finally, Greg Biza (IP Callison & Sons) demythologized mint for the flavor conference attendees, noting that commercial peppermint and spearmint plants are sterile in order to prevent cross-breeding, which could potentially produce chemically and organoleptically variable essential oils. There are other dangers, he noted, including verticilium wilt, which clogs plants’ vascular systems with spores.
More photos and highlights will appear in the May issue of Perfumer & Flavorist magazine.