Riding the growing trend for health and wellness, the Kerry-owned flavor and flavor ingredient manufacturer has created the new technology to give manufacturers the option to create new and healthier alternatives to existing product lines. According to the company the technology works by enhancing taste perception, thereby allowing reduced levels of sodium and sweeteners to be used in products and giving them a healthier profile. The company said it is the "combination of building blocks to achieve proper performance in specific applications". Markus Eckert, PhD, vice president of technical for flavors at Mastertaste told FoodNavigator-USA.com that these building blocks are all GRAS-approved flavor ingredients drawn from the company's portfolio, which includes botanical extracts, food extracts and citrus-derived materials. The products are tailor-made to formulate the most appropriate flavors and ingredients for their customers. "When customers choose Mastertaste's Flavor Modulation Technology, they aren't just purchasing a product-they're enlisting the help of a partner," said Eckert. When used for salt reduction, the Mastertaste modulators have been designed to enhance the perception of salinity with its all-natural flavor systems. Leaving no residual after taste, they are said to provide an overall increase in the flavor profile in applications that have been requested for a reduced sodium finished product. Although it varies greatly on the application, Eckert said that in order to be cost neutral a formulator would need to use the technology to reduce by around 40 per cent. In other cases the cost may be 10 to 15 per cent more than when the full salt level is used, but a lot os people regard this as a premium worth paying, given the health benefits. Salt reduction is a major target of food manufacturers since salt intake in excess of 5g a day (the WHO recommended maximum) has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. The modulators for the sweet and beverage industry have been pitted for use in practically any reduced sugar or carbohydrate product - including alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, milk products, yogurts, cereals and bakery. They are said to facilitate a reduced level of caloric sweeteners in products, and improve the aftertaste of products that contain a diet, non-nutritive sweetener. Since the cost of sugar is on the up, Eckert said that use of the modulators in sweet applications could well result in a cost saving when used to reduce sweeteners by 20 per cent or more. Mastertaste is already working with industry partners to use the technology in consumer products, the first of which are expected to hit shelves in the last quarter of this year. The company's strategy is global, but differing regulations around the world mean that it is not able to target all markets simultaneously. The current focus is on the US, Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand. Other ingredient companies that offer taste enhancers to enable reduced salt formulations include DSM, which introduced yeast-derived taste potentiators called Sensarite for bakery and dairy products in June. UK firm Ungerer has bundled salt reduction capability in with a new range of flavors, to help reduce the cost burden on industry.