Citrus flavors and ingredients, particularly orange and lemon, lead the beverage category, both in the ready to drink (RTD) and powdered soft drink categories. The presence of acid in citrus beverages enhances its flavor impact and authenticity; paradoxically, its presence also presents the greatest threat to flavor stability of liquid products—and thus shelf life—in formulations.
These technical roadblocks to customer and consumer needs are the focus of several strands of research being conducted by researchers at IFF, including Lulu Henson, and the University of Massachusetts. Together, they have pursued the elimination of off flavors and odors, and worked to stabilize citrus products, develop encapsulation systems for beverages, and enhance citral stability. This, says Henson, requires extensive work with many applications and finished products.
“We consider other factors beyond ingredient effects,” she says. “We have to make sure that the flavor system is stable in the product and will provide the desired functionality or release properties.”