Pam Gribou is the director of cheese and dairy flavors development for Givaudan Flavors. Innovation in the category is boosting product development and adding to the technical challenges faced by flavorists at the bench. Dairy products increasingly contain probiotics and other functional ingredients—materials that contribute off notes and thus require creative flavor problem solving. Gribou notes that these hurdles are only going to grow over time as products incorporate a greater variety of beneficial ingredients for gut health, bone density improvement, healthy skin, joint health, physical performance, weight and cholesterol control, immunity and mental activity. Here she shares her insights into the most common issues facing flavorists in the dairy category.
The volatility of dairy commodities is an issue for food manufacturers because their costs are continuously changing, becoming more expensive from increased global demands and various other factors. Often these dairy commodities are a relatively large portion of the formulation. The utilization of concentrated flavors is a great solution to achieve cost optimization and still maintain authentic dairy profiles. Concentrated dairy flavors also allow utilization of lower or off-grade dairy commodities in the formulation of the dairy products by standardizing the desired profile.
Low-fat products: Both government and media are driving rising consumer awareness to food nutrition and potential health implications, and as a result, low-fat products continue to be an important category in the market. Making low-fat or non-fat products taste good is a big challenge. Fat is very important in the flavor release; therefore, it has an impact in the aroma and taste of the product. Reducing fat also has an impact in the texture of the product. Flavors can help improve the fat perception of a product, but in many cases a formulator also needs food additives such as gums and starches to make a reduced-fat product taste similar to a full-fat one.