Remarkable natural answer to flavour questions

Tastes change –- as do perceptions about what’’s good and what’’s bad. About 20 years ago, the use of synthetic aroma chemicals to create compound flavour compositions and provide appealing taste and aroma to processed foods and beverages was not only highly acceptable, it was even the more sophisticated option.

But in line with the ongoing megatrend of consumer demand for all things natural – in their foods, beverages, nutritional supplements, as well as in other aspects of their lives,– the use of synthetic aroma chemicals is seeing a change to more natural ingredients. For instance, in Japan, the use of synthetic aroma chemicals has declined recently because regulations favour products from natural sources.

“”There have, however, been obstacles to changing to natural ingredients to enhance, modify or mask unpleasant flavours,”” explains Sharon Bolel of Sharon Bolel Chemical Marketing (SBCM), “which include lack of consistency and instability.”

Naturex and Talin

In this regard, natural ingredients manufacturer, Naturex, has a new solution. SBCM is the sole distributor of Naturex products in South Africa.

“A particularly exciting ingredient that has recently joined Naturex’s NAT’arom range of ingredients,”” says Bolel, ““is Talin (thaumatin), a multi-functional low-calorie ingredient, which is a natural protein extracted from the West African Katemfe Fruit, Thaumatococcus daniellii, for its remarkable taste enhancement and flavour modifying properties. Thaumatin has been used by West Africans for hundreds of years to sweeten corn bread, sour fruit, and to make palm wine palatable.””

Talin is manufactured by British-based company, Overseal, which recently merged with Naturex through its parent company, Natraceutical, and which produces natural ingredients for the food, beverage, nutraceutical and supplement industries.

““I have no doubt that Talin will find a ready market in South Africa because South Africans, like the rest of the world, are increasingly demanding sophistication in their flavours, as well as naturally-derived ingredients,” says Bolel.

Talin is a highly versatile multi-functional ingredient that is used in food and beverage products, sweeteners, as well as in pharmaceutical supplements, particularly to modify flavours, mask bitterness and enhance flavours. Talin’s extraordinary performance lies in the structure and nature of the molecule and the way in which it interacts with both taste buds and flavour molecules.

The ingredient is approximately 3 000 times sweeter than sugar and has a characteristic sweetness profile, which is perceived later and lasts longer than other sweeteners. It has a powerful effect on taste, and is highly effective at masking bitterness and overcoming the perception of the off notes. This makes the product of particular interest for functional foods, supplements and pharmaceutical applications. Higher than normal levels of Talin can be used where extremely bitter and metallic notes need masking.

It can also act with a wide variety of compounds to enhance flavour perception and help to create new and outstanding tasting products. Studies have shown substantial increases in the perceived flavour intensity, in some cases up to 60%. An example would be a flavoured vitamin drink where Talin would enhance the flavour and simultaneously mask the bitterness of the active ingredients.

Talin is harvested and processed in ecologically friendly conditions. Every stage of the process, from wild harvesting the fruit to freezing and extraction, ensures that the thaumatin remains 100% natural and of a consistently high quality.

Key benefits of Talin include:

  • It is a protein and is therefore fully metabolised in the body.
  • Low calorie in application.
  • No blood glucose impact.
  • Non-cariogenic.
  • Stable to heat and pressure used in processes such as UHT, pasteurisation, retorting, baking and extrusion.
  • Soluble in water-based solutions, aqueous alcohol, glycerol, and propylene glycol.
  • Talin is available pure, or in maltodextrin, gum Arabic, aqueous propylene glycol, aqueous glycerine, oil, fructose, and in salt. All available forms of Talin are kosher, halaal certified, and non-GM.


Says Bolel, “”While new applications for this remarkable ingredient are constantly being researched, there are some that are highly successful. In savoury products, Talin gives a more rounded flavour, and can reduce the salt level by up to 30%. It also enhances spicy notes and reduces bitter notes.”

“In dairy and other desserts, Talin gives a perceived increase in body, particularly in low fat yoghurts and desserts, and an improved flavour perception in low fat products. It masks astringency from other ingredients.

“In confectionery, Talin enhances, improves and prolongs flavours, particularly citrus, berry and mint, and it helps to reduce the after taste of other high intensity sweeteners. It imparts a sugar-like taste.

“In beverages, Talin works with primary sweetening systems to enhance and round the flavour and sweetness profile, and helps to extend the shelf life of beverages by masking the breakdown of citrols.

“In chewing gum, Talin significantly enhances spearmint, peppermint, citrus, and other fruit flavours. It gives an improved sweetness profile with polyols and high intensity sweeteners, with enhanced cooling effects.

“”We look forward to working with our innovative formulators in South Africa to develop new applications for this ingredient that has already been so instrumental in improving the taste and therefore the consumption of food and beverage products in many countries,”” says Bolel.

Talin is recognised as a safe additive for medicines and used in drugs without any restriction in many countries including USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It has a Drug Master File registered with the FDA (Number 16260). It is also approved under the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI 1852).

Sharon Bolel Chemical Marketing: