The company is initially targeting its ImpaQ Cool range at the confectionery and dairy sectors. "In a market where shelf space competition is so fierce, the need for product differentiation and for stable flavours that have a great taste effect and no taste issues is paramount," said senior product manager Ernst van den Berg. "Taste trials have produced very positive feedback on the freshness of milk drinks or the extra refreshing zing of citrus sorbets. We believe we have created effects that add unprecedented taste sensations to a wide range of foods." Quest claims that what makes these ingredients innovative is the fact that the restrictions of using conventionally used menthol, which becomes bitter in large amounts, has been removed. The technical breakthrough Quest has achieved, he claimed, is based on a better understanding of the function of 'involved receptor cells' in the mouth. This has enabled Quest to design molecules with specific functions. These molecules then can be combined to deliver the desired refreshing or cooling effect for each application. "In the last couple of years there has been an explosion of innovation in sensory experimentation in a wide variety of food and drinks," said van den Berg. "Consumers are more and more willing to try out products that offer new flavours and sensory experiences. In the case of cooling, we have even seen the packaging take up the theme, with the trial of self-cooling soda bottles and cups. "In confectionery, using ImpaQ Cool, we can either reduce cost while keeping an equal level of cooling or boost the cooling effect, without the risk of bitterness. The result is gum or sweets with improved freshness and cooling." Other applications include the development of dairy drinks with a crisp, cool sensation that lasts outside the refrigerator and ice cream that retains an added burst of cooling, even when it melts. The first launches of ImpaQ Cool, which have been developed for dairy and confectionery sectors, are available globally from February 2007. Quest claims to have successfully trialled ImpaQ Cool with yoghurts, dairy drinks and desserts. Quest is a leading flavours and fragrances business and is part of the ICI Group. Discussions are underway for a sale of Quest to Givaudan in 2007.