Flavonoid Fortification Leads to Better-Tasting Food?

September 10, 2003

2 Min Read
Flavonoid Fortification Leads to Better-Tasting Food?

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--Adding flavonoids during food processing can produce bettertasting products, according to research out of Pennsylvania State University, University Park. In a paper presented at the 226th American Chemical Society (www.chemistry.org) national meeting in New York, researchers noted the presence of flavonoids at heart-healthy levels do not automatically lead to a bitter taste.

"Our research has shown that in food and beverage products that are heated for safety or preservation, flavonoids can limit the generation of off-flavors, such as the scalded or `cooked' taste of ultrapasteurized milk," said Devin Peterson, Ph.D., lead researcher. "We've also found that it may be possible to enhance some good flavor pathways while limiting others, including less desirable smells, by the addition of flavonoids."

In the study, varying amounts of epicatechin--a flavonoid typically found in fresh fruits, vegetables, tea and chocolate--were added to whole milk, which was then ultrapasteurized. During a taste test with trained "tasters," all samples containing the flavonoid were found to have a significantly lower cooked flavor, and one was indistinguishable from regular pasteurized milk, which has no cooked flavor.

And, in experiments with a granola bar mix and epicatechin, the study's authors found the flavonoid inhibited the formation of some flavor constituents produced in browning, including a powerful flavor/off-flavor regulator. The taste testers did not detect an increased level of bitterness in the epicatechin-enriched granola bar mix versus the control. And, when added to unroasted cocoa that was then heat processed, the flavonoid reduced the production of the two major flavor constituents by half.

"Adding flavonoids to food products at efficacious levels does not have to result in increased bitterness and consumer rejection," Peterson said. "By understanding how health-promoting flavonoids alter flavor generation, we can learn how to produce healthier foods that taste good, too."

Penn State filed a provisional patent application on Peterson's process for flavor improvement.

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