Introduced in 2005, Givaudan's TasteSolution programme provides maskers, modulators and flavours that allow food formulators to develop products that taste good as well as contributing to healthier lifestyles - as well as the expertise to use them. Under the new collaboration the firm gains access to US-based Redpoint Bio's proprietary technologies, and may acquire the exclusive worldwide rights to any licensed compounds for foods and beverages that can aid manufacturers with products Details of the agreement have not been released, but the overarching aim is to discover and develop novel sweetness and savoury enhancers, as well as bitter blocker compounds. Such an expansion of the programme is fitting with Givaudan's take on the current drive towards health and wellness, which it sees as considerably more than just a trend. It says that consumers are fundamentally changing their diets, and products that contribute to healthier lifestyles will become part of the mainstream. Sugar, salt and fat reduction has been a theme for some time, but in the past better-for-you products were aimed a diet-conscious niche. Now, however, there is considerable attention to the need to reduce across the board as part of an effort to reduce the toll of unhealthy eating on obesity and other lifestyle related diseases. For instance, trans fats have become the new enemy, with manufacturers around the world moving to remove them from their products and healthier alternatives instead. Salt - an area that TasteSolutions has targeted since autumn 2005 with a proprietary salt reduction system - is also high on the agenda. It is estimated that a reduction of 6g/day from the current intake of 10-12g could save approximately 70,000 people from developing strokes and heart attacks each year in the UK alone. According to the Food and Drink Federation, it is a common misconception that salt can easily be removed from manufactured products. "By simply removing salt from manufactured products, many well known and popular foods could change significantly. Food is not purely about the functionality of getting all the nutrients our body needs and in the right proportion, it is also about pleasure," said the federation last week. But for consumers, taste is the crucial factor in acceptability of a better-for-you product. The bottom line is, if it doesn't taste good - or even if it just tastes different - many people will abandon their good intentions and revert to old familiar products.