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Despite numerous technological advances over the past three decades—the computer, the microwave, cell phones to name just a few—all of which have been designed to make life easier, modern consumers still regard time as a precious commodity. A casualty of contemporary living is the traditional art of food preparation. Many consumers have little inclination to make fresh, home-cooked dishes from scratch after a long day at work. Instead, they prefer foods that are quick and easy to cook, which are ready-to-eat in minutes.
This trend is reflected in global sales of ready meals, projected to be worth $54.3 billion in 2009.1 However, in spite of this huge volume of sales, these products are frequently associated with poor taste. The challenge for flavorists and manufacturers is therefore to develop meals which are simple to prepare, but taste as good as home-cooked food.
Ingredients of Taste Success
One way to ensure a home-cooked taste in the end product is through the use of specialty chemicals to create delicious flavors. Potent specialty flavor chemicals are made on a small scale to a high degree of purity. They are usually nature-identical which means the same chemical is present in the natural flavor, but may be difficult to isolate naturally. They are safe for use in foods and beverages which allows flavorists to add them to blends to create the desired flavor profile. Specialty chemicals provide increased aromatic impact and individuality, and are designed to resemble and replicate a flavor type which consumers can compare to a recognizable foodstuff.
Reliability and Variety of Flavors