The flavor company said consumer health concerns combined with a volatile ingredients market are driving demand for reduced-calorie formulations.
As a result Givaudan has developed a programme focused on doing so – without compromising mouthfeel. The company told FoodNavigator that its new Mouthfeel programme, which forms part of its overarching Taste Solutions project, enables manufacturers to formulate reduced-calorie sweet and beverage products that sustain the mouthfeel of regular, full-fat products.
Minerva Calatayud, global product manager, Taste at Givaudan, said that the programme looks to resolve “challenges in applications, technology gaps and sensory requirements.”
“A successful reduced-calorie product depends on rebalancing and optimising mouthfeel, taste and aroma correctly,” Calatayud told this publication, “as consumers will only buy something that tastes good.”
All three elements, mouthfeel, taste and aroma are integrated and equally important to the formulation, she noted.
Fat and proteins are big contributors to mouthfeel, she said, so if you reduce them it can impact the consistency of a product as well as alter flavour perceptions such as sweet, salt and sour tastes.
Under the programme, Givaudan can develop flavour solutions using multiple natural ingredients to create formulations for manufacturers, she said.
Natural is increasingly important as consumers are reading labels more extensively, she said, and they expect to see fewer and more natural ingredients listed.
Added to this, legislation is becoming stricter, she said, and so using natural ingredients is the fastest way to bring products to the market.
There is a pressure on manufacturers driven by both consumers and governments to ‘get healthier’, Calatayud said, and thus for manufacturers to formulate nutritionally good foods.
“Most of the food industry, in one way or another, is looking to develop healthier products and mouthfeel will impact all of them,” she said.
However, “another reason why companies are reducing fat in products is due to costs of ingredients in such a volatile marketplace,” she added.
Both global companies and local companies have expressed interest in the area of calorie reduction, Calatayud said, and Givaudan is targeting manufacturers of all sizes across all global regions.
“The large global companies are always the first in the market but the local companies are also very active in developing these products,” she added.
Solutions to challenges
Within the Mouthfeel programme, a sensory language ‘Sense It Mouthfeel’ has been developed to better understand the mouthfeel challenges manufacturers face when formulating reduced-calorie products, Calatayud said.
This comprises of extensive descriptions and references that relate to the mouthfeel of a product, enabling the trained sensory panel to clearly identify their perceptions when validating a formulation, she said.
Each food segment has a dedicated ‘language’, she said, due to the specific, complex nature of mouthfeel. Givaudan has sub-categorised its language into beverages, dairy, bakery, savoury and snacks.
For example, in the dairy segment there are key words such as ‘creamy’, ‘melting’ and ‘fatty’.
It is important to be “very accurate when we define the challenges and then define the solutions,” she added.
“We are constantly developing new ingredients and sensory knowledge,” and providing solutions to what our consumers want and customers need, Calatayud said.