To learn more about the latest trends in flavors for baked foods and snacks, Baking & Snack consulted Edlong Dairy Technologies’ Jennifer Lowry, vice-president, sales and marketing; Rick Schultz, vice-president of strategic development; and Karen Grenus, senior food scientist. We found out about dairy flavors that foster chef-created taste and those that mask bitter notes when cutting sugar levels or using whole grains. Here’s what they advised.
Baking & Snack: What is “the next big thing” in flavors for baked foods and snacks?
Jennifer Lowry: Recent trend data from market analysis groups like Datamonitor suggest that there are many different flavor profiles that are emerging as trend leaders, particularly ethnic profiles in snacks, and flavors that create or enhance authentic taste experiences, flavors like Browned Butter that provide chef-created taste in finished products. In both baked foods and snacks, many innovations are coming in the delivery and functionality of products. We see the use of flavors to manage the nutrition profiles of baked goods and snacks. For example, a developer can reduce overall calorie count and lower fat levels by replacing some of the butter in a formula with natural butter flavor.
In baked goods, gluten-free remains a leading better-for-you trend. Edlong Dairy Technologies can provide tools to mask the beany, sometimes rancid off-notes for formulators and manufacturers who are working with applications in this category.
Rick Schultz: One of the keys to success in better-for-you foods is creating an indulgent experience for consumers, who want to eat better without feeling like they’re sacrificing flavor or eating quality. Dairy flavors are uniquely suited to filling this need because they can supply masking, mouthfeel and great taste all in one.
Whole wheat flour, for example, is a healthier option but leaves bitter off-notes that can be masked by milk or butter flavors with a sweet profile. And a common challenge with reduced-fat products is that they don’t have the rich mouthfeel of their traditional counterparts, which can be addressed with certain cream flavors.
Ms. Lowry: The snack category has become one in which interesting flavor combinations continue to emerge such as the combination of sweet and salty. Many manufacturers are contributing to this flavor trend while also responding to consumer’s desire to reduce sugar with the use of artificial sweeteners. Dairy flavors help compensate for reduced sugar levels. Formulators can use milk or butter flavors with sweet profiles to effectively enhance the sweet notes of other ingredients and therefore reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener.
Are any of these in the marketplace yet?
Ms. Lowry: Following the trend of interesting flavor combinations, Edlong recently developed a Butter Curry Potato Chip. Curry is a flavor profile that is becoming more prevalent as consumers are growing more adventurous and seeking ethnic flavors in their dining and snacking options. It is also a profile that can be seen as strong or spicy. In this illustration, Edlong added a butter flavor to the seasoning blend to moderate and balance the heat of the curry. Natural Butter flavor No. 1411416 imparts a sweet butter profile that works well with the curry spice. To further build the flavor profile Edlong’s Natural Cream flavor No. 1411474 was also used in the seasoning to add a creamy, fatty character to the finished chip. In addition to being on-trend with the flavor profile, the use of both of these flavors was extremely cost effective in that the usage levels are both well below 1% of the finished application.
How have reduction/replacement of sugar and fat changed the dynamic for flavors in baked foods and snacks? What do you advise your customers about such applications?
Ms. Lowry: The reduction of fat affects both the texture and how the flavor is carried in baked foods and snacks. Without fat, snacks lose their lubricity in our mouth and the flavors just won’t linger as long. Mouthfeel flavors do not add back texture, but they simulate the way flavors linger for a fatty impression. Lower-fat formulations can also require a higher load of flavors to deliver impact. Sugar reduction is a complex issue because the formulator may also be using high-intensity sweeteners such as reb A or sucralose that bring along off notes or peak at a different time than sugar. Milk flavors will help to smooth out a profile and prolong the sensation of sweetness.
Karen Grenus: Every food product is different with different requirements and different desired outcomes. Depending on the application, flavors can be used and combined in different ways to ensure the most consumer-pleasing results.
How has the use of whole grains affected flavor choices? Are some flavors better than others? Why?
Ms. Lowry: Whole grain flours have varying degrees of flavor, and often whole grains are more bitter than their more refined counterparts. Flavors need to be selected that will add creaminess and/or sweetness to balance the bitterness. Good candidates are milk, cream and butter flavors. Many times, whole grain formulations will have added sugar to cover up bitterness, but milk and butter flavors can achieve the same without negatively impacting the nutritional label. An alternate approach would be to use a dark chocolate flavor so that the consumer is expecting bitterness as part of the flavor profile.