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Processed Flavors Processing

The heating step is another essential part of creating
process flavors. Once the materials are combined they
Yogi Desai, Senior Flavorist
must be heated to activate and allow the Maillard Reac-
Adam Schowalter, Flavorist Trainee
tion to generate the flavor. Depending on how the process
flavor is heated it works to mimic different types of cooking
techniques, whether it be boiling, grilling, or roasting. The
In the world of flavor chemistry there a many different types
key factors to control during this step are the temperature
of flavors including compounded flavors, extracts, emul-
and the time. The temperature must be controlled to en-
sions and process flavors. In this white paper we will be
sure the right profile is created. If is too low the flavor may
focusing on process flavors and what makes them unique.
not react enough or may not generate the desired roasted
notes. However if it is too high the taste will become overly
roasted or burnt. The other key factor in processing is time.
Compounded vs. Processed
If the process flavor is not heated long enough the materi-
The compounded flavor is a mixture of aromatic flavor
als will not have a chance to fully react. This will cause the
compounds that have been assembled in prescribed
flavor to not be fully developed, but may also cause some
quantities that yields a flavor tasting like the desired profile.
off tastes due to the remaining unreacted amino acids. But
Very little processing is involved in compounded flavors.
the flavor must not be heated for too long, because this
Processed flavors, also known as reaction flavors, are ones
will cause too many roasted notes to develop which can
which are generated as a result of some form of process-
overpower the other more subtle notes.
ing upon a mixture of ingredients. A process flavor is a
unique mixture of starting materials, like carbohydrates,
proteins and fat, which must then be heated for a length of
While the specialized materials and processing techniques
time to yield the desired profile. Until heat is applied, there
make process flavors a unique challenge, the finished fla-
is no flavor development and the product has no flavor
vor offers benefits not found in a compounded flavor. The
value. The key to making a process flavor work is the Mail-
Maillard Reaction that occurs generates a more rounded
lard Reaction. The Maillard Reaction is a non-enzymatic
meaty profile that cannot be obtained by simply compound-
browning reaction of reducing sugars and amino acids in
ing a flavor. Time and temperature variations can change
the presence of heat resulting in the generation of flavor.
the same starting materials into a boiled meat flavor, a
Some of the most common processed flavors include
dark roasted meat flavor or anything in between. In the
red meat, poultry, coffee, vegetables, bread crust and fire
end the key to a successful process flavor, is balancing the
roasted notes.
right raw materials with the right processing conditions to
create the desired profile.
The raw materials used in processed flavors are not the
same chemicals commonly used in compounded flavors.
The essential components of the Maillard Reaction are re-
ducing sugars, free amino acids, alternate protein sources,
such as HVPs or Yeast autolysates and a small amount
of water to initiate the reaction. In addition to these there
are additional materials that can modify the taste of the
flavor. Meat powders, and powdered broths or stocks can
add natural meaty taste. Thiamine can also contribute to
the reaction to give a distinct finished flavor. Animal fats
like chicken or pork can provide added mouth feel. Acids
and bases can regulate the pH which will in turn affect the
reaction and change the flavor. Vegetable juices can also
be used to help round out the profile of the flavor. Spices,
essential oils and other flavor enhancers can also play an
important role in building wholesome processed flavor.

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