Symrise Research & Technology reveals the multiple facets of science-powered flavour creation

Science-powered flavour creation at Symrise (Image: Symrise) 

Symrise Research & Technology (R&T) department in the taste, nutrition and health segment has written an essay on the scientific, technological and human factors that support flavour creation. This addresses Symrise customers wish for understanding how the creating of taste solutions adds to the development of consumer-preferred products. This also fulfils consumers’ expectations of the food products they choose.

Symrise supports its customers in delivering consumer-preferred products. This involves proprietary technologies and human skills. To shed light on the secrets behind the creation of taste solutions, Symrise has conducted interviews with members of its R&T department. It has summarised its findings in an essay to share with its customers.

The essay explains what defines a “flavour creation”. It takes a combination of research and technology, as well as raw materials with natural authenticity as an essential factor. This supports today’s consumers wish to know what their food and beverages contain, where they come from and how manufacturers produce them.

“The overall process of creating a flavour forms a highly complex task. It involves many different technologies and processes. We like to compare it to the different instruments in an orchestra contributing to an enjoyable piece of music. In this essay, our R&T colleagues explain how they create their own very special harmony. They are revealing some of the secrets behind taste solutions”, said Dr Katharina Reichelt, director of functional flavour solutions, R&T taste, nutrition and health at Symrise.

Combining human senses and science power

“Science-powered flavour creation” began when the R&T department receives a project brief with defined objectives and characteristics. It then works towards the end goal to provide its customer with a consumer-preferred solution that meets their particular specifications. This may involve creating a completely new solution or reconstructing an existing taste.

“We start the process by decoding the inherent principles of a sample that meets some of the characteristics requested by the customer. This helps us to get to know the taste actives and sensory key drivers. We also learn, which ingredients play a relevant role for the flavour. For this, we use human senses in synergy with technology,” explained Dr Reichelt.

Creating flavours through science and nature

Key technologies, such as LC-Taste (liquid chromatography – taste) and GC-O (gas chromatography – olfactometry) combine chemical separation methods with sensory analysis, while trained experts identify, which ingredients impart the different tastes and smells. Symrise uses artificial intelligence to assist flavour creators, with proprietary digital tools like predictive modeling. They help screening the existing Symrise portfolio and find suitable ingredients that the experts can use to create a flavour.

Real life behavior also forms an important part in the performance of a flavour. Factors such as saliva and mouth temperature can substantially affect taste. For this reason, R&T uses close-to-nature technologies such as an artificial mouth model to gain important information about how a flavour behaves.

Equipped with an ingredient list created by these chromatographic analyses, sensory, predictive modeling, the artificial mouth model and authenticity tests, flavour creators can start to create the flavour. Finding a 100% match takes some manual fine-tuning of ingredients by flavourists, who can access a library of valuable innovative ingredients that constantly evolves as new natural raw materials are identified.

“Of course, before we can use a newly developed flavour, we need to know how it develops over time and under different environmental influences. We use proprietary technology to conduct accelerated stability tests, predict shelf life and assess behavior under variable conditions such as temperature and humidity. Only after another round of sensory testing, we will incorporate the taste in an end product application. After that, we ask a panel of consumers to test it and to give their own feedback,” said Sylvia Barnekow, director of food and science application technology, R&T, taste, nutrition and health at Symrise.

In all, the essay demonstrates Symrise’s blend of science and artistry, proprietary technologies and flavour expertise to support its customers in creating delicious food and beverage experiences that consumers love.