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Sensient offers flavor solution for stevia-sweetened beverages

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 15-May-2009

Sensient Flavors has added its flavor masking technology to the raft of products that companies are offering to deal with potential off-notes associated with stevia-derived sweeteners.

Flavor companies have been scrambling to launch solutions for the reported bitter aftertaste associated with stevia-derived sweeteners since the Food and Drug Administration issued of letters of non-objection that Reb A was generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in foods and beverages in December.

Sensient Flavors’ solution is called Smoothenol, which the company says improves the palatability of Reb A-containing beverages. The ingredient deals with potential flavor problems including bitterness, astringency, and a licorice-like aftertaste, the company said.

Director of beverage solutions at Sensient Flavors Kimberly Carson said: “Sensient is able to provide beverage manufacturers with a natural solution to achieving optimal beverage palatability when bitter-inducing ingredients such as stevia are used. With Sensient’s expertise in flavoring all beverage types and extensive portfolio of technology systems, we are able to provide our customers with customized solutions.”

The company said that it can customize its stevia flavor solution to take into account specific customer requirements such as different sources of stevia and the desired flavor profile of the end product.

Sensient Flavors is the latest in a long line of firms to investigate flavor solutions for food and beverage applications with Reb A.

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Most recently, Cargill launched a range of flavor maskers and sweetness enhancers for use with the sweetener last month.

In a similar announcement in February, Givaudan said that it was in the process of applying for patents related to what it claimed was its discovery of the bitter taste receptors triggered by the sweetener – technology that would form the basis of its flavor solutions for stevia.

Other flavor firms, including Symrise and Comax, have also developed ranges of bitter blockers, flavor maskers and sweetness extenders specifically for use with stevia. And Reb A supplier PureCircle joined with flavor company Firmenich in January, in order to capitalize on the ingredient’s potential as a flavor enhancer, as well as to speed its commercial use by using Firmenich’s flavor masking and sweetness enhancing technologies.

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