What's In A Flavor?
When manufacturing a flavor there
will be the unwanted aroma etc. caused by the chemical reaction. How does the flavor
scientist circumvent the problem? Most flavors are synthetic, there are over two thousand
flavors in use & only five hundred are natural. The various chemicals used in a flavor
are made in (PPM) parts per million. Some of the common chemicals used in flavor
manufacturing are; Amyl acetate, benzaldehyde, carvone, ethyl acetate, ethyl butyrate, and
methyl salicylate among the many others. Each aroma chemical contributes to the success of
the ultimate flavor. The big concern is some chemicals tend to react when put together
with another chemical, leaving a completely different flavor than originally intended.
Suppose we put together some seven chemicals that should give us a specific flavor, the
reaction may cause us to be left with only four chemicals. The end result is an unwanted
taste caused by the new compounds created when several of the aroma chemicals react with
each other. In order to avoid the bad or off flavor and have a rejected product, the
chemist must take into account all possible hazards to the end flavor reaction.
The method to have a successful flavor product, the chemist would have to analyze all
of the different reactions the combination of chemicals can have. Sometimes two or three
of the chemicals will not cause an adverse reaction till we combine the fourth chemical.
It is not only the aroma that would be a concern; taste and appearance are also a great
concern. The first signs that something undesirable may be happening is the chemicals are
heating up, smoking, changing color or thickening-all indications that a chemical reaction
has taken place. We must be cognizant that at times the only way to produce the desired
flavor would be with just that chemical reaction. The flavor may be perfect in the
laboratory, but when we combine it with the end product we may have an adverse chemical
reaction, which would make it, not production friendly. It is not necessarily the
combining of the product that may cause the problem sometimes it is simply the temperature
of the product during production, or the stability of the combination. Flavors are not
necessarily all natural or all chemical, they are very often a combination. There are
natural acids that are used. Essential oils, such as oil of lemon and oil of orange, are
natural flavors made by extraction of the fruit rind. There are also fruit juices and
plant extracts that are commonly used in developing a flavor. There are flavor enhancers,
the commonest being monosodium glutamate (MSG) and maltol.