Composing A Melody of Flavor

Aug 2, 2022Savory, Sweet Goods & Dairy

The relatively recent development of our online Givaudan store, launched in February 2021, has greatly expanded the number of food and beverage manufacturers we are able to interact with.  Not only has it allowed more potential flavor users to “come to us” at their convenience, but it has provided a tool for them to explore numerous flavor families, pondering the infinite number of possible flavor combinations and which flavors might be the next game-changing launch for their respective brands.  With the increased access and reach in the marketplace, we find ourselves engaged in dialogue with many product developers who are relatively new to the world of flavors.  Most who visit our store already understand that flavors and taste tools can significantly enhance their customers’ taste experience in a more impactful way while still aligning with key brand promises (all-natural, organic, vegan, reduced sodium, no sugar, etc.).  However, they soon learn that flavor profiles are often not easy to talk about or describe.

To illustrate the difficulty in this, I like to use the analogy of writing a song.  A discussion between composers who understand music is very easy and efficient.  Regardless of which language the composers speak, one can always use the symbol that indicates a B-flat quarter note, for instance, and the other will instantly know exactly what note that is.  But if a composer has to explain what a specific note is to someone who can’t read music, without the use of sound, the task is close to impossible. Similarly, if two flavorists have been trained to use the same “language” to describe flavor notes, they are able to more accurately recommend specific flavor profiles to one another.  This is why Givaudan has created its own proprietary language (sets of descriptors and their definitions) to describe and facilitate dialogue around flavor and taste.  (We call it SenseIt™).  Unfortunately, just as it’s not possible to teach everyone with whom we wish to have a dialogue about a musical composition to read music. It’s equally impossible to expect every product developer to learn our language of flavor. And yet, one doesn’t have to be a trained musician to know what melodies appeal to them.  Nor does one have to be a trained flavorist to know what taste profile is appealing.

Though I can’t read music myself if I sing a note to a composer (however raspy and out of tune my singing may be) the trained composer can translate what I sing into musical notes that can be shared with those who CAN read music in order that they can replicate the melody.  Similarly, if I can provide a taste reference to a flavorist, the flavorist can translate that into a flavor formula that will come very close to the original reference, even if I lack the ability to find the words to describe how that reference tastes to me. As long as the flavorists have access to the reference(s) that I recommend, we can begin the dialogue that will ultimately help me find the flavor “melody” that fits with what I’m looking for.  I know that, with Givaudan’s flavorists, any reference that they can access is enough to get them started in zeroing in on the exact flavor profile that you’re looking for. 

To illustrate this, if I tell a flavorist that I’m looking for a sweet fruity flavor but a little tart with a mouthfeel that’s firm but not hard, slightly crunchy but not too crunchy, and juicy but not watery, that leaves open myriad flavor formula possibilities for them to suggest as a match.  However, if I tell them that I want to closely match the flavor of a fresh ripe McIntosh Apple or the chocolate flavor of a particular brand of candy, I’ve given them a very specific reference to work from, and the chances of them recommending what I perceive to be the perfect flavor are extremely high.

Givaudan Storefront


For this reason, we’ve added a tool to our Givaudan online storefront called the Flavor Fit Engine. Now, when you visit the Givaudan Storefront homepage and log in, there’s a way that you can describe the flavor profile that you’re looking for and have our experienced and unrivaled Portfolio Team use your own reference to recommend the flavor(s) that just right for you. To use this tool, once you log in, find the pink Flavor Fit Engine button (not visible until you log in) around the middle of the page under the Flavor & Taste Search section. You’ll be asked to answer a few simple questions regarding the application you’re working on, as well as your regulatory and functional requirements to ensure that the flavors we recommend will work in your recipe and remain true to your brand promise. Then, you’ll be prompted to choose your flavor family, and provide whichever taste reference you think represents your desired profile. This is all our gold-standard Portfolio Team needs to zero in on the flavor(s) needed to bring the flavor concept that’s in your head straight to your bench. 

So whether you’re a very experienced flavorist or new to the world of flavors, we’re ready to help you write your “flavor melody” today!  To get started, you can choose from our great lineup of Primetime Flavors Visit our Givaudan Storefront homepage, or to delight consumers with your own tune, click on the Flavor Fit Engine button, and let’s imagine together!




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