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Creating the ‘gold standard’ for natural beef flavours

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 24-Jun-2009

International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) has released a new range of “natural and authentic” beef flavors which it says responds to consumer demand for natural ingredients.

There has been a trend away from artificial additives in recent years, and ‘natural’ is now the leading claim on new product labels, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database, which shows that the claim was included on 23 percent of foods and beverages launched last year.

Director of IFF’s global savoury category Jos Muilwijk told FoodNavigator.com: “There has never been a better opportunity to bring authentic beef flavours to the market” and described its new flavour range as “raising the bar” for natural beef flavours.

The company has developed a toolbox of six new flavour profiles, designed to mimic the characteristics of fresh-cooked beef prepared in different ways: rare, marrow bone bouillon, stewed, boiled, grilled and roast.

These can then be combined and developed for specific applications including soups, sauces, gravies, noodles and marinades, among others, to create flavours that are most appealing for the manufacturer’s target market – an area in which IFF has carried out extensive research. A survey involving 764 participants across nine key European markets and Russia enabled the company to pinpoint trends in regional flavour preferences as well as beef buying habits and most popular beef-flavoured items.

Creating ‘gold standards’

The creation of the different flavour profiles started with the company’s team of research chefs, led by master chef Florian Webhofer, who aimed to set what IFF calls its ‘gold standard’ for flavours, creating reference points for the profiles through cooking beef in the six different ways.

Webhofer explained that the process started with choosing the right kind of cow and supervising its diet to create the best flavour. From there, he had to choose appropriate cuts of meat and cook them in a controlled manner to replicate the best-loved, most familiar beef flavours from across Europe.

“While we could have used more gourmet cuts of beef prepared in exotic ways such as sous-vide, we would have missed those crucial authentic and familiar notes that consumers crave,” he said. “To deliver these notes we have applied a combination of culinary science and creativity.”

A trained panel of sensory experts then evaluated the profiles in each category and R&D and flavour creation professionals aimed to match them exactly.

The new range is being released globally, but has been localised to mirror regional tastes.

North American category marketing director Teresa Supnet-Rosa said: “Our research showed that North American consumers most liked the comforting, nostalgic, home-cooked qualities associated with grilled, roasted and braised flavour profiles, so these form the basis of our offerings for the region.”

IFF said it also has a range of ‘nature-identical’ beef flavours, released alongside its natural beef flavour range.

The company developed a similar range of ‘gold standard’ natural chicken flavours that it released in August last year.

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