If I were to ask you to dissect a particular flavor, you’d probably begin by describing the taste in vivid detail, and then fill in the gaps with commentary on aroma and texture. There is one aspect of flavor that you might forget to mention, one that so tremendously important to the eating experience yet often goes unnoticed: timing.
Think carefully about the last thing you ate. Visualize the different components, the subtle notes, and layers of flavor, how the experience changed from the first bite to the last. It’s a lot more complicated than just saying things like “salty” or “sweet,” right? Certain flavors peak at different points while you’re eating; they will ebb and flow, change their profile and strength as time elapses. When we develop foods with our differentiated Flavor Cell® technology, we’re not only able to affect what you taste, but how you taste it.
When we work with clients, we like to do a three-part demonstration with them so that they can get a better idea of what Flavor Cell® technology is, and how they can leverage it to create foods totally unlike anything else on the market. Recently I decided to create a cereal bar demonstration that uses a current food trend: sweet plus heat. I’m a big fan of pairing pineapple and habaneros. These flavors are pretty much polar opposites on the flavor spectrum, but when they play off each other, it’s pure magic. To balance out these two strong flavors, I added dark chocolate which adds a creamy finish and premium taste.
Flavor Cell® provides the ability to layer, delay, and sequentially release flavors and return them into an elevated snacking experience. If you tasted pineapple, habaneros and chocolate flavors all at the same time, it wouldn’t work. Your brain would be overloaded with input from your taste receptors, and all the notes and nuances would be jumbled together into something relatively unremarkable. And that’s the first part of our demonstration, noted to the left: tasting a cereal bar that has combined liquid pineapple and liquid habanero “flavor” topped with a typical dark chocolate coating. The habanero comes on too strong and quickly overwhelms the entire taste experience–all its unique characteristics are thrust into the background and become barely perceptible. Once those flavors die down, you’re left with the aftertaste of the cereal grains, most prominently the oats which have a bitter aftertaste. While the bar is edible, it isn’t exactly good.
Then we move onto part two. Here, we make the same cereal bar, but we replace the liquid habanero flavor with Flavor Cell® technology to allow for a sequential release. At first bite, you taste the sweet acidity of the pineapple, which slowly gives way to the tingly, fruity heat of the habanero. When you’re done chewing, you’re left with a note that’s the perfect combination of the two, which also masks the bitter aftertaste of the cereal grains. The chocolate that’s been drizzled on top, however, seems that it’s just for show. That changes in bar number three.
In the final demonstration, bar number three goes beyond sequential flavors and provides a fully balanced experience. We’ve honed in on the coating and bumped it up with some chocolate flavor and enhanced it with proprietary modulation technology that gives it a creamier texture. The bar begins with bright pineapple, then introduces a hit of habanero, then ends with that rich, indulgent dark chocolate finish that brings everything into perfect balance. We’ve transformed a humdrum cereal bar into a delicious, transportative snack that delivers superlative flavor from beginning to end.
The key takeaway from this demonstration isn’t that we can make good pineapple habanero cereal bars (as excellent as it may be). The purpose is to highlight the role that our proprietary Flavor Cell® encapsulation and flavor modulation technologies can play in innovating consumer-preferred taste experiences.
To elevate your consumers’ eating experience, reach out to your McCormick account manager or contact us here today to learn more about working with our team.