Flavours for reduced fat products
Consumer preference for a food product is dictated by its taste and aroma. Though health conscious consumers are on a lookout for low fat low calorie products, they are in no mood for bland tasting cardboard food. With public health organizations emphasizing on limiting fat intake to 30% of the total calories consumed, there is a need for low fat or fat free products. According to FSSAI, ‘low fat’ products should contain not more than 3 g of fat per 100 g for solids or 1.5 g of fat per 100 ml for liquids. For a product to be labeled as ‘fat free’ not more than 0.5 g of fat per 100 g (solids) or 100 ml (liquids) should be present in the product.
When formulators reduce fat or other calorie rich ingredients, there are tremendous ramifications in terms of changes in flavor, texture and mouthfeel. Ingredient specialists have developed lipid, protein and carbohydrate based fat replacers for such specially formulated products. Flavor modifiers are developed and they function by enhancing natural mouthfeel while packing less fat or calories in the product. For baked products such as cakes and cookies that have moved from hydrogenated fats to trans-free fat, excess added flavor is required to overcome any blocked receptors by the newly incorporated fat substitutes. Modified protein and carbohydrate based fat mimetics are often used to mimic sensorial traits of fats while providing lesser calories similar to modifiers. Fat mimetics lack the flavor of original fats and are often infused with water-soluble flavors or lipid-soluble flavor compounds using appropriate emulsifiers. The authentic creamy mouthfeel of full fat products can also be recreated using cream flavors in low fat products.
For vegans or lactose intolerant people who abstain from consuming dairy based products and yet are interested in products tasting like cheese, there are several options available in the market these days. Dairy flavors and exclusive cheese flavors have been used in vegan cheese, dips, healthy munchies etc. These flavors create a standardized well-balanced product without the ill effects of fat or lactose from cheese. Other products such as butter popcorn that contains no butter and only butter flavor has been popular companion to your telethons. You might or might not have paid attention to the buttery aroma whiffing out of your kitchen, but that is how a flavor formulator offers sensory satisfaction while making the product affordable and healthy.
For stir-fry and sautéing, oil and butter are most commonly used bases to avoid burning or sticking of your food to the pan. Nonstick sautéing sprays that include very little or no fat and contain various flavors and oleoresins are often used by the calorie conscious. These sprays lubricate your pan and enable non-messy cooking of your vegetables, pastas and risottos. Flavored sprays avoid annoyances of multiple ingredients and compensate for any losses in flavor of the final cooked products. Cuisine specific flavored sprays such as for barbeque or chinese, indian, continental preparations have been flooding the market for sometime now.
Low fat products are often formulated using other functional additives such as emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners and gums. The extent of addition and the inherent taste of these compounds will dictate the final choice and dosage of flavors. Having said that low fat products can be formulated with lesser calories and more flavors, each product is unique and different from the other. Scrutinizing product labels to understand the replacing ingredients is a must to make informed dietary substitutions. No doubt, flavors and condiments help us achieve our dietary objectives without any compromise on the eating experience.Array
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