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Adding Complexity to Beverage Fruit Flavors: 2-Methyl Butyl 2-Methyl Butyrate

By: John Wright
Posted: March 12, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of P&F magazine.

Many fruit flavors contain significant quantities of aliphatic esters. Analyses often reveal frightening complexities, like finding more than 100 different aliphatic esters in strawberries. The two most common approaches to tackling this daunting problem, however, lie at opposite ends of the creative spectrum.

One approach prizes simplicity over everything else; it would (perhaps) even go so far as to pick only one of the esters—normally the one that is most characteristic (but often relatively volatile). In the case of strawberry flavors, the most favored ester would usually be ethyl butyrate (FEMA# 2427). Some landmark flavors have been created using this raw material alone to supply the fruity note.

The other approach takes one or more analyses as an academic starting point and recreates much of the complexity found therein. This approach, too, has a good success rate, and many characteristic flavors have carved out good niches in the market using complex blends of esters. Simple flavors often have good impact and perform especially well in straightforward applications, especially those which do not involve heat processes. However, they are likely to fail in more demanding applications. Meanwhile, complex flavors frequently have a lesser impact but score well on depth of flavor and taste effects. They are often known to perform well in a wide range of applications, particularly those involving heat.

This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine. The full content is not currently available online.