Article by Brian Zapp – Natural Products Insider
Flavor is complicated, especially in beverages. Imagine a symphony of senses bringing together taste, smell, touch and sight to complete an experience. Flavor is important as well. Yet, despite being mastered in the space of conventional beverages, using mostly synthetic ingredients, the game has become increasingly more difficult as products are maturing into the natural space where solubility challenges in ingredients becomes a more significant opponent.
Solubility Impacts Flavor
Most people subscribe to the adage that “What we taste derives mostly from our smell.” The consensus is that anywhere between 75 to 95 percent of flavor is through the sense of smell (Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1993;33(1):63-82). But few realize that both our taste and smell are greatly influenced by the way products look and feel, and that is where solubility has its greatest impact. In fact, the tactile sensations in the mouth and the visual appearance of a product cannot be separated from the taste experience (Physiol Behav. 2012 Nov 5;107(4):540-52).
Many consumers are unaware that even before consuming a product, they are visually judging the appearance, and instantaneously drawing upon past experiences to stage flavor expectations. So, when a beverage is a certain color, appears to be a certain thickness or clarity, contains sediment, cloudiness, etc., consumers are positively or negatively going to taste what these experiences have demonstrated in the past.