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Aroma-profiling in Consumer-winning Flavor Creation

By: Christopher Simons, principal investigator, sensory research, Givaudan
Posted: November 6, 2009

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The mini-VAS contains 30 cartridges, each about 12 cm long and lined with absorbent material. Small amounts of flavor ingredients are placed inside these cartridges. Air is passed down a central chamber of the mini-VAS and the flow of air through the cartridges can be adjusted in any chosen combination via a connected laptop computer, to effectively recreate the different individual aromas with great accuracy. The aromatic air is blown out of the mini-VAS through a tube and is smelt by the flavorist or customer via a nose cup. This technology-supported rapid sampling process forms the basis for translating a preferred aroma profile into a flavor formulation for a final consumer product.

Combining Experience with Cutting-edge Innovation

Linking flavor optimization tools with known target consumer preferences derived from quantitative research studies can be of significant benefit to food and drink manufacturers. In particular, this approach can help to provide an accurate prediction of those flavor formulations that are likely to be successful in a given consumer market, using geographical and /or demographic criteria.

Flavorists can rapidly address new product formulation requirements based on knowledge generated from flavor studies. Sensory profiling is used to identify an initial consumer target area, then VAS is used to explore the subtle diversity of flavors available to the product developer within that target area. This approach offers considerable advantages in terms of both speed and flavor differentiation. By combining its accumulated sensory experience base and proprietary technologies, this system offers food and drink manufacturers an efficient and creative approach to testing and validating consumer winning flavor concepts.

Chicken Case Study

Givaudan recently worked with a customer in Latin America on a product reformulation project to develop a new, cost-effective chicken flavor for soups. Here, the mini-VAS was used to evaluate the performance of several new high impact natural flavors that were selected to ensure maximum authenticity in the chicken flavor profile. The company’s PureDelivery encapsulation technology further helped the delicate flavors withstand a rigorous food manufacturing environment, while improving flavor stability and retention, aroma release and helping to extend the product’s shelf life.