Mondeléz UK has filed for patent protection of a process that is meant to enhance the taste of ingredients in ready-to-eat foods. This invention can be put to use both in sweet foods such as chocolate, caramel and baked confectionery as well as in savory salty foods including potato- and grain-based crunchy products and spices.
Changed taste sensation
According to the patent filing, the secret ingredient behind this invention is a calcium salt. Mondeléz states that the addition of calcium salt particles – with a medium grain size between 5 and 100 µm, that is .005 to .1 mm – not only enhances the taste of a certain food product. What is more, the taste sensation of its ingredients is also changed.
Working around disadvantages in the process
The main focus of this invention is to “create a food product with an enhanced taste while working around disadvantages in the making process, such as the conching process in chocolate making”, says the food conglomerate. The conching heats up the cocoa. This breaks up and refines the special structure of the mass, to enhance both the suppleness and the taste of the chocolate.
As a rule of thumb in chocolate making, the final chocolate product is made better with the extension of the conching time. However, a lengthy conching process slows down the manufacturing process of chocolate, thus increasing the production costs. Chocolate manufacturers have tried to speed up the conching process by increasing the temperature. This, however, can lead to unwanted overcooked or burnt flavors.
Food texture unchanged
According to Mondeléz, ingredient mixtures can also “import” additional flavors or change the taste sensation of the chocolate. Some ingredient mixtures, however, have an unwanted texture which can, for example, lead to a powdery feeling in the mouth of the consumer. The R & D team of Mondeléz has found that its invention does not affect the food texture and that the calcium salt is not considered to be “a particle in the mouth” of the consumer.
Save on the cost of ingredients
Calcium salt particles can enhance the flavor of one or several tastes. This is true for salty, savory, bitter, sweet, sour, cocoa-like, vanilla-like, nutty and many more. Enhancing these flavors might, according to Mondeléz, lead to savings in the costs of the ingredients, especially for those that are “expensive or hard to manage or to mix.”
“Salty” in spite of a reduced salt content
One of the advantages of changing to the new formula is the possibility to enhance the taste of products with a “reduced salt content”. These products containing calcium salts have “a similar taste to that of a comparable conventional food product”, the group says.
European producers use KFN products
The patent application names different organic calcium salts such as formiate, citrate, gluconate and acetate. Anorganic salts can also serve this purpose. As an especially apt salt calcium lactate is singled out. This is made by several European producers of calcium salts using the highly pure KFN products that are suitable for food production.
Healthy and tasty
Calcium is an indispensable element for the human body. It is needed for the stability of bones and teeth. This has been a well-known fact for a long time. The discovery that many foods can be made to taste better using calcium salts now leads to a win-win-situation for all those involved.
Dr. Dirk Sewing, Head of Research and Development, Kalkfabrik Netstal AG
More information on the subject can be found here:
published on 27 June 2019