Innova, which specializes in creating customized meat and savory flavors for food applications, has solved an ingredient challenge that has vexed food manufacturers for years.
The Griffith Laboratories division has introduced a new, low-sodium/high-enhancement hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) that is the first product of its kind to lower sodium while maintaining the desirable flavor that food companies and consumers have come to expect from a HVP. Other attempts to develop a viable low-sodium HVP option relied on potassium chloride, resulting in a bitter-tasting product that had limited uses.
HVPs have been used for more than a century as a cost-effective flavor enhancer that serves as the backbone for gravies, soups, sauces and other savory products. But the high levels of naturally occurring sodium in HVPs have limited their use in low-sodium products, which increasingly are in demand.
"Low-sodium products have presented a real challenge from both a taste and a cost standpoint. Companies have struggled to find reliably affordable ways of lowering sodium without sacrificing taste. By reducing sodium levels in a HVP without losing its traditional flavor, our solution is a win-win proposition," said Innova President Enrique Medina. "Our customers said we could really fill a void in the HVP marketplace if we could find a way to reduce sodium while still providing them the taste and affordability of the Vegamine they already know and love."
The result of Innova's efforts is Vegamine Advanced Technology (AT), and it ranks among the most ambitious undertakings in the HVP industry space in decades. The full line of lower-sodium Vegamine AT products increase enhancement without sacrificing taste. The high-enhancement of AT products will support cost-reduction initiatives by allowing for a reduction in usage of expensive ingredients. Additionally, flavor creators will benefit from its high protein content.
Innova at forefront in developing salt-lowering technologies
Innova's introduction of lower-sodium HVPs underscores its industry leadership in salt-reduction technologies. These advances are critical if the food industry is to meet guidelines established to effectively reduce the sodium content in the nation's food supply.
Innova already has introduced SaltSavor, a salt-reduction portfolio of taste-modulation technology based on the enhancement of sodium channels and the binding of umami receptors. Umami, one of the five basic tastes, is the Japanese word for "meaty" or "savory." SaltSavor delivers an increased salty perception through stimulating taste buds compared to using salty-tasting compounds. Flavor enhancement is an added benefit.
Vegamine AT will debut at IFT annual meeting June 25-28
Innova will formally debut Vegamine AT at the Institute of Food Technologists' Annual Meeting and Food Expo, June 25-28, in Las Vegas, where it will demonstrate the capabilities of the new line in a chicken bouillon application.
Already, the significant implications for a wide array of food products are evident as a result of just a few early applications of the new AT products. For instance, by simply substituting Vegamine 83D AT for regular Vegamine 83D and reducing the amount of salt in the formula by 25 percent, a 25 percent reduction in sodium is achieved with a cost impact of only one cent per serving and with sensory attributes comparable to the control. Even greater sodium reduction solutions are possible, reflecting the Vegamine AT line's improved flavor profile. An expert taste panel making blind evaluations of products containing them clearly perceived the benefits of the lower-sodium Vegamine products.
"We're excited about working with our customers to determine just how much cost savings and salt reduction we can deliver in various applications," said Dafne Diez de Medina, Ph.D., Innova's Vice President of Innovation, Research and Development. "This, really, is just the beginning of the journey."
Vegamine AT is one of many innovative research advances that Innova's flavor chemists and food scientists have developed in ongoing efforts to introduce the highest-impact, best-tasting meat and savory flavors for customers.