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When Flavors Don a Mask: Leveraging flavor modification for a variety of nutritional ingredients

When preparing new dishes, many food innovators strive to enhance taste while retaining nutritional value. It calls for the right ingredient blend, which not only adds to the flavor directly, but can intensify other flavor ingredients. To add flavors to a wider range of foods, the industry leverages different techniques to modify the flavors of nutritional ingredients. Below are some flavor-modifying examples and safety considerations.

Bitter Blocker

“Flavor modifiers,” either intensify or block flavors. For example, “coolant flavors” have little or no taste, but stimulate cold receptors in the mouth to make the flavor of menthol in candy more intense. Conversely, flavor modifiers can block flavors. In savory dishes where a sweet taste is typically not desired, sugar can enhance other relevant characteristics. In this case, a chemical such as lactisole will temporarily block sweetness receptors, and the savory flavor will predominate.

Linguagen Corp. has also found that adenosine monophosphate (AMP), a naturally occurring nucleotide substance, can block bitter food flavors. AMP works much like lactisole. It will not directly alter the bitter flavor, but instead alters human perception of “bitter” by blocking the associated receptor.