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The Application of Flavor in Food Processing

Contact Author Henry B. Heath
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The term flavor has several meanings depending on the context of its use. Here, we may regard flavor as the summation of sensations induced by chemical compounds present in what we eat and drink and in equilibrium at the time of consumption (Hall, 1968; Hall and Merwin, 1981). Some of these flavor components arise from the normal biosynthetic processes of animal and plant metabolism and hence are present in the raw meats, fish, fruits and vegetables which constitute the basic constituents of our normal diet. Other components exist only as precursors and develop characteristic flavoring effects during subsequent cooking or processing due to chemical reactions induced by the effects of heat or fermentation. Some may be intentionally incorporated as flavorings at any stage of the product preparation or used as condiments when the product is served. Whatever the source, the observed odor and flavor impact and quality of the end-product is the total effect of the individual flavoring components which in turn is determined by their relative proportion and their flavor rating.

The flavor in foods maybe classified as:

--natural flavor--pre-existing in the diet, particularly in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices  --process flavor--arising in end-products as a result of conventional processes involving heat or fermentation  --compounded flavor--intentionally added flavorings formulated to produce a desired sensory effect using selected flavorants of natural and/or synthetic origin  --taste modifiers--additives which affect the basic taste sensations (e.g., salt, sugar, food acids and bittering agents)  --abnormal flavors and taints--off-odors and off-flavors arising in products as a result of degradation, adventitious contamination or package/product interaction

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