Most brown, caramel notes need to be used with care in flavors that do not have an obviously cooked character. Even at subtle levels, they can detract from the impression of freshness in other flavor categories. This is especially true in the case of fruit flavors. 2-Furyl methyl ketone (FEMA# 3163, CAS# 1192-62-7), also commonly known as 2-acetyl furan, works very well in a wide range of brown, nutty, fermented and savory profiles but it is also very helpful well outside these categories. The profile is predominantly caramel, but it also conveys subtle nutty and balsamic nuances. It is particularly useful in fruit flavors, and at modest levels of addition it serves to add realism and naturalness without taking away any of the desirable fresh character.
Several related chemicals are also useful in flavors, notably 2-acetyl-5-methylfuran (FEMA# 3609, CAS# 1193-79-9), 2-acetyl-3,5-dimethylfuran (FEMA# 4071, CAS# 22940-86-9) and 3-acetyl- 2,5-dimethylfuran (FEMA# 3391, CAS# 10599-70-9). All of these ingredients are interesting, use choices being determined by cost and use considerations, but 2-furyl methyl ketone has by far the widest range of use.
The rates suggested in this article are at levels to be used in flavors intended for dosing at 0.05% in a ready-to-drink taster, beverage or bouillon.