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A Virtual Supper: Specialty Chemicals and Distinctive Flavors

Posted: February 6, 2007

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Modern manufacturing, storage, packaging and distribution methods cause foods to lose their fresh-cooked flavors, resulting in poor-tasting end products. Flavors, incorporating flavor chemical topnotes, are used to restore the taste characteristics of freshly-prepared foods. For example, the microwave cooking process is too short to obtain the flavor development associated with slow-cooked foods. By adding flavor components late in the food preparation stage, the product tastes good after just a few minutes in the microwave.

Furthermore, some fresh, natural ingredients are only grown during certain seasons, and crops and yields vary dramatically from year to year. Flavorists looking to create particular flavors are limited by the seasonality of an ingredient.

Specialty Chemicals: Aromas in Action

Specialty chemicals can be used in flavors for a diverse range of applications to satisfy every palate. These include ready meals, meat pies, tinned soups, cakes and bottled drinks in which these materials add distinctive top flavor notes that closely resemble the character of freshly prepared foods.

To illustrate the variety of applications for specialty chemicals, my company—in conjunction with Endeavour Specialty Chemicals—has devised a “virtual” supper menu. Although a simplification of the complexity and expertise involved in developing and using specialty chemicals, the menu below highlights some specialty chemical options in formulating distinctive foods and drinks. The components are reviewed in detail, describing the specific flavor attributes each item can bring.