Dairy Flavors: The Unsung Hero

May 28, 2015

Struggling to formulate for “free-from” and “added/extras” claims? Removing sodium, sugar, allergens and fat while adding protein and omega-3s and other health claims is not always easy for manufacturers. But an unlikely hero offers technical solutions, like improving masking and mouthfeel while delivering exceptional taste. You guessed it. It’s dairy flavors.

Remove sugar, fat, MSG, allergens and sodium. Add high protein, omega-3s, added vitamins and minerals. Consumers want it all from your product applications. They want some things eliminated from labels and others added—all in the name of meeting health and wellness goals. Achieving just one of those demands isn’t easy, let alone more than one—because something usually is sacrificed — and it’s usually taste. And wouldn’t you know … taste is the one thing 56% of consumers aren’t willing to give up. So what’s a product developer to do?


Sometimes the most unlikely solution creates the most favorable outcome. Would you expect the solution to all of the above is dairy flavors? We know a thing or two about this since dairy flavor technologies are ALL that we focus on, and our flavorists and application scientists spend all day applying dairy flavors to every kind of application.

Anytime you work to reduce negatives (-frees) and add positives (protein/omega- 3s/fiber/vitamins) you run into bigger formulation challenges that require masking bitterness, enhancing mouthfeel or improving taste and/or texture. Adding sugars doesn’t do the trick because that’s something consumers don’t want. Incorporating straight masking ingredients can restrict the tongue from tasting all the other flavors in an application, which also is contrary to your objective.

Why Dairy Flavors Work

Some of the richest, most delicious dishes you design are the ones with dairy— butter, cream, whole milk and sour cream. The level of milkfat in the product is the factor that contributes that indulgent mouthfeel of high fat foods. Dairy flavors contain certain classes of compounds that succeed in solving the types of formulation challenges we’ve been discussing, such as:

  • Lactones for creaminess
  • Long-chain fatty acids for richness
  • Coumaric types for sweetness

Using dairy flavors can help mask and add mouthfeel, taste and texture and they’re a great solution for fat reduction claims, too. Plus, dairy flavors can be added without necessarily adding a particular dairy taste to the product — and certainly without adding the cost and calories of commodities. In addition, your market opportunities will expand as you satisfy more customers, including those who want great tasting, healthy food, not just those willing to sacrifice taste for health. Now that’s something worth celebrating!

A Case Study with an Unlikely Hero

An Edlong customer was interested in developing a snacking application but wanted to satisfy health and wellness objectives by including high protein from a plant-based source and a low sugar profile. Collaborating closely with our applications group and flavorists, a Parmesan and Rosemary High-Protein Loaf was created using quinoa and almond milk. Plant-based quinoa gets even more of a protein boost from the almond milk, which also satisfies the low-sugar goals. The little twist of Parmesan flavor adds a nutty saltiness and masks the off-notes of the naturally nutritious ingredients. Sometimes a fresh perspective of a flavor’s unique subtleties and characteristics provides unexpected results — a satisfying, healthy snack with health and wellness claims, all thanks to dairy flavors.

The next time you need masking and mouthfeel improvement for your health and wellness application, experiment with our dairy flavors. Our flavorists and application scientists are eager to help you achieve your product claims and market goals. And consumers will gobble up the results.

1. Edlong Proprietary Research Study, 2013.