Wednesday, September 28, 2011: 02:18:26 PM

Food Processing Trend

Flavour factor in processing

Ensuring stability of flavours during processing a crucial challenge for food manufacturers

For any food manufacturer, the stability of the flavours is an important factor. Since most processed foods go through various levels of processing, it is important for the manufacturer to have a clear idea of the impact that the processing has on the flavours. Since the stability of the flavours in the food can have an effect on food safety as well as taste, it is important for any manufacturer to be aware of the following aspects regarding flavour:

  • Processing properties of the flavour
  • Behaviour of the flavour during the production of the food
  • Behaviour of the flavour during the shelf life of the food
  • Interactions of flavour and foodstuff
 
Food technologist and chairman of Diversified Food Technologies (Mysore), VH Potty says, “Flavour is a composite term that signifies the cumulative effect of colour, aroma, taste and texture. With many artificial and synthetic colorants banned during the last two decades, only a very few are left that can be used and large scale shift from synthetic to natural colorants is perceptible today amongst processors. Natural colorants are costlier to use and have much less tinting power than their synthetic counterparts.”
 
One of the biggest factors while processing of food is the heat applied, according to Arvind Rao, proprietor of Agro Export International, a small-sized agri-food products manufacturer and exporter in Chennai. Heat can cause chemical changes, of which the most important one is the loss of volatiles. Filtration, aeration and freezing are also known to change the chemical composition of the flavours added to the food. The loss of volatiles can change the top note flavour of a food and could also make the primary flavour of the food unrecognisable. The best solution for this is multiple encapsulation, a process common in processes involving significant amount of heating like baking and extrusion.
 
Changing patterns
 
Dr Potty further adds, “If food products are to be safeguarded from losing their nutrients and aroma, freeze drying has been the main choice. As per recent claims by a patent filed in the US, a newer option is available to the food processing industry and the Radiant Zone Drying (RZD) technology - as it is being called - can shield heat sensitive phytochemicals in fruit juices by controlled heat input and lower product temperature. According to the innovators, RZD technology can dry sticky and amorphous products with practically no carriers, and this liquid drying technology useful for juices, purees, extracts and slurries can yield dry powders of unparalleled quality and purity.”
 
However, conventional modes of processing had their share of advantages as processes such as sun drying and simple roasting are known to impact natural flavours lesser. But with the gradual rise in the consumption of processed foods, there is the additional demand for better insights into the effects of artificial processing on artificial flavours and other additives. Technological advancements therefore will go a long way in boosting the food processing sector in India which has been recognised as a critical sector to combat the high food inflation.
 
Tias Chakraborty

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