Things to Note About Food Flavoring

17 March 2023

When it comes to food, flavours are what make the experience truly unforgettable. The right blend of flavours can transform an ordinary meal into a culinary masterpiece. From sweet and savoury to sour and spicy, the range of flavours is never-ending. In this article, let us understand the basics of food flavors and explore the flavor solutions that Maha has for you to create exceptional taste experiences for your customers.

What is flavor?

Firstly, let us understand what exactly is a flavor and what do flavors do. A flavor is a mix of flavoring substances with or without solvents and/or carriers. Flavors serve multiple purposes:

There are many reasons for food and beverage manufacturers to use flavors. Industrial processes that require harsh conditions such high pressure and high temperature can cause the loss of flavor, which is compensated by the addition of flavor. Undesirable flavor notes of pharmaceutical ingredients can also be masked by pleasant flavors. While large amounts of raw materials are required to achieve a certain flavor profile, flavors can mimic the profile at tiny dosages, which lowers the cost of recipes. As seasons change, the profile and availability of natural produce change as well, resulting in inconsistencies in flavor of the end product. Flavors are available anytime and anywhere, giving us the same tastes that we remember.

Various Flavor Formats

Flavors come in various forms and have different properties, meant to suit a wide range of applications. They are available in liquid form, powder form and emulsions. Oil-soluble liquid flavors are used in applications like fat fillings for biscuits, while their water-soluble counterparts are used in various beverage products. Meanwhile, powder flavors can be used in dry mixes like powder drinks, or in applications where addition of liquid is undesirable. Many flavors are derived from oils, such as citrus flavors. To make them soluble in water, flavors in the form of emulsions are produced.

Besides the application, the choice of flavor formats is affected by their properties. For example, encapsulated powder flavors are protected, making the release of the flavor gradual and longer. Powder flavors are not flammable due to their excipient’s nature, but liquid flavors can be classified as flammable and require more inspection during transportation. On the other hand, due to the processing of powder flavors, they are exposed to high temperatures, pressure and humidity which causes aroma losses. These losses are compensated by increasing dosage. In fact, there are many more aspects to consider when choosing the right format. If you are unsure of what format and properties you need for your flavors, consult our team at Maha for advice from expert flavorists.

Flavor Composition

So, what exactly does a flavour contain? Simply put, many flavor chemical compounds, along with a solvent, and sometimes juices, extracts, coloring, preservatives etc. Flavor is a complex product. The formula can contain more than 100 ingredients, natural or synthetic, and subtle changes to single ingredients can alter the final product dramatically.

Take the example of banana flavour, which is characterised by the compound isoamyl acetate. With only this compound as the aromatic ingredient, the organoleptic profile of the flavour is the confectionery note. However, when other compounds are added, namely ethyl butyrate, hexanal-trans-2, vanillin and eugenol, the respective flavour notes are added: fruity, green, sweet and ripe, woody. Combining the 5 different aromatic compounds, we get the profile of a “balanced” banana.

Aromatic compounds in banana flavor and their contribution to the organoleptic profile

However, most flavors are not as straightforward as banana, which has a compound characteristic to its flavor. Many flavors require a combination of numerous aromatic compounds. Let us take a look at the example of a typical strawberry flavor shown below, which is made up of 32 different compounds.

In the formula list, each compound is present in very minute percentages, yet each of them plays a significant role, together providing complexity to the flavor. Furaneol (34.86%) and methyl cinnamate (3.23%) contributes to the jam confectionery note, while ethyl butyrate (3.88%) gives a fruity ether note, and gamma-decalactone (2.85%) gives a fruity milky note. Meanwhile, the ripe note is contributed by methyl butyric acid (2.58%) while the green note is provided by cis-3-hexenol (3.88%) and trans-2-hexenol (0.05%).

With the complexity of flavors, our team at Maha can provide you a customized solution based on your needs, to meet the flavor profile that you are looking for.

Applications of Sweet and Savory Flavors

Our flavors have a wide range of applications, due to the diversity of formats we can provide. In this non-exhaustive list are some applications of our flavors:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Alcohol-free beverages
  • Dairy products
  • Fruit preparations
  • Health food
  • Bakery, pastry
  • Confectionery
  • Ready meals and soups
  • Meats and seafood
  • Sauces and marinades
  • Snacks

If you have any special requests for your flavors (heat stable, oil-soluble, Halal, natural etc.), we are here to provide you a customized solution. Simply drop us an email at and our representatives will contact you shortly.

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