Learn How Flavor Enhancers Influence Your Food’s Taste
People love eating food not only to satiate their hunger and stay healthy but also to enjoy their meals. While many dishes have the same ingredients and style of cooking, the main difference lies in the actual taste of the food, as various people have different preferences in flavoring their servings.
Taste is among the most important factors in selling food products. Companies always have to consider their consumers’ opinion on the flavor of their items, as this characteristic could determine the success of their merchandise. However, as every individual has a different palate, what manufacturers could do is appeal to as many people as possible.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is the sensory experience of the customers. There is a lot of evidence that the sensory qualities of food, notably taste and flavor, have a big impact on people’s food choices.
To differentiate their products, manufacturers can introduce innovative and unique flavors to their food products. This would allow consumers to taste new and exciting variants that could redefine their palate. On the other end of the spectrum, companies could also go for more familiar tastes, as these have already been proven to be a hit among the masses. With traditionally loved flavors, companies can be sure that their products would instantly appeal to their market.
At Wills International, we strive to help you understand how various flavors affect our taste buds. We also provide information how your company can maximize flavor enhancers for your high-quality food products.
The Science of Taste
Why do humans have a sense of taste? This characteristic has developed and evolved over time in response to environmental forces. Taste stimulates the salivary glands and digestive fluids, which in turn provide sustenance to the body. It is in charge of decoding the chemicals and substances found in foods and converting them into flavors.
The taste buds on the tongue are filled with finely tuned taste receptor cells that are directly linked to the brainstem through neural pathways. Because of this property, when we put something in our mouth, these receptor cells immediately assess the molecules in the food for five different flavor categories: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami.
Flavor enhancers work with both the evolutionary and emotional aspects of taste. The addition of taste enhancers to other foods improves or changes the way you perceive them. When making cookies, for example, adding salt strengthens the protein in the dough and improves the flavor; otherwise, the cookie would fall flat as the sweetness takes over.
Aside from that, taste enhancers are required for proper cellular function. To survive, you must ingest a certain quantity of flavor enhancers on a regular basis, which explains why individuals have evolved to detect salty and savory flavors and find them delightful.
What is Flavor Enhancer?
Flavor enhancers are chemicals that have no flavor of their own but serve to alter or increase the intensity of the perceived taste or fragrance of different food items. They are safe when used in little amounts. However, if consumed in excessive quantities, they may cause high blood pressure or allergies.
Flavor enhancers are commercially used in a wide variety of common food items. These include instant soups, frozen meals, and other delectable snacks.
The notion of taste enhancement may be traced all the way back to Asia. Chefs would add seaweed to soup stock to give some foods a richer taste. Chefs later discovered that the flavor-enhancing component of seaweed was the amino acids L-glutamate and monosodium glutamate (MSG). With their rich flavor known as umami, these ingredients were the first commercially used flavor enhancers.
There are two types of flavor enhancers: natural flavor enhancers and artificial flavor enhancers.
Natural Flavor Enhancer
Natural flavor enhancers come from sources that are found in nature. They are produced using one of several typical food preparation processes according to FDA rules.
The original and ubiquitous natural flavor enhancer is salt. It is created by solution mining, which involves injecting water into subterranean salt beds and allowing the brine to evaporate into crystals. If the salt is marketed as sea salt, it is evaporated directly from the ocean or salty lake water by the sun.
For many years, humans have been consuming salt as part of our diet. It is even recorded as the world’s earliest preservative, aiding in the curing of meats and fermented vegetables. According to Samuel Adrian Adshead, the average person who lived thousands of years ago would have consumed 3,000 to 5,000 milligrams of salt each day.
It is no different to a 2013 study where it was revealed that the typical American consumes around 3,400 milligrams of salt per day, despite the fact that the recommended daily sodium consumption for adults is 2,300 mg.