Advances in protein mean better flavor and function

By Deirdre Piggott

Exercise fanatics (and some of the rest of us) are crazy for protein drinks. Whether pre-packaged or in powder form, these drinks provide a great way to enhance protein consumption after a workout or to boost overall protein intake as part of a healthy diet.

Today, protein is one of the macronutrients that consumers do not strive to limit in their diets.

Not so long ago, however, only the bravest consumers would willingly mix up a protein shake. The combination of poor taste, chalkiness and grit made drinking one harder than the workout that preceded it!

Times do change, and so has the way protein can be added to food and beverage products. A great deal of effort has gone into refining protein sources so that the inherent off-notes are greatly diminished. There are much cleaner-tasting versions available for specific kinds of proteins — such as whey — than were available in the past.

The first step to making a great-tasting protein-based product can be as simple as choosing a flavor that is complementary to the off-note producers. For example, orange flavors marry well with compounds that carry salty or astringent notes, whereas vanilla and chocolate flavors can work with sour-type off-notes from dairy proteins. Of course, some notes just don’t play well with others, and when that is the case we need to look to some form of masking technology to help.

Protein Powders
Nutritional Supplement Powders

The variety of protein sources for foods has increased many-fold in recent years. Dairy is no longer the only option. Now there are pea, grain, nut, seaweed and even insect proteins available for product developers to use. Even with cleaner protein sources, additional fortification can add to the challenge of developing great-tasting functional protein products. Apart from increased protein content, many of the vitamins, free amino acids, minerals and botanicals that can be used to boost nutrition can bring a collection of their own off-notes to the party.

With all these ingredients bringing their own special character, there is no “one size fits all” solution. What we can offer, however, are the tools to create the perfect solution for your product. Sensient’s decades of technological expertise have resulted in our ability to offer customized, effective, end-to-end solutions with a collaborative approach to taste and mouthfeel enhancement. Our masking technologies enable product developers to increase the nutritional content of products without being overwhelmed by undesirable off-notes, all while staying label-friendly.

Ask us about our Protein Masking Solutions.