Solvay Aroma Performance - Vanilla: the alliance of taste and performance

A range of advanced functional flavours from Solvay Aroma Performance, the world's leading vanilla flavour expert, helps to enhance the sensory experience provided by a growing number of health and energy food applications and supplements, namely for weight management.

Vanilla has a documented history of use in food since the 15th century, when it was first brought to Europe. Although successfully cultivated in tropical regions, it is, along with saffron, one of the most labour-intensive flavourings on Earth. Vanillin, the main organoleptic molecule for the vanilla taste, represents only 2% of the dry matter of a vanilla pod. Today, the content of natural vanillin in the annual harvest of genuine vanilla pods corresponds to less than 10% of the global consumption of vanillin; however, the actual demand exceeds 15,000t a year. Consequently, vanillin and vanilla-flavour alternatives have been used in food preparations for almost 140 years.

New challenges

Vanilla flavour based on vanillin is mainly found in bakery/confectionery, chocolate or ice cream products, where it provides the authentic smooth taste of vanilla that often reminds us of our childhood.

"More recently," says Sandrine Salaneuve, global flavour business development manager for Solvay Aroma Performance, "backed by its proven performance in these traditional segments, specific vanilla flavour has also become instrumental in the success of many novel nutrition products focused on weight management and wellness because of its capability to mask undesired off-notes developed by high protein concentration.

"Driven by a growing awareness among consumers for a more healthy way of life, the market is rapidly increasing, which has created a new challenge and opportunity for functional vanilla flavours."

From diet drinks to senior nutrition, meal replacements and other food supplements to nutraceuticals, the majority of these products are characterised by high content of specific ingredients such as whey, soy protein, vitamins, fibre and minerals. In addition, they often rely on sugar-replacing solutions like stevia, for example. Most of these ingredients, however, come with a heavy, stringent, bitter, sour or even metallic taste that needs to be masked to promote a more pleasant and lasting taste experience. All of these components raise the key challenge of the nutritional product industry: to ensure an alliance of taste and performance.

To support this global trend, Solvay Aroma Performance developed Govanil, a new family of functional vanilla flavours based on patented CRF technology. The technology delivers a whole new set of value-added functional properties such as masking off-notes and enhancing the consumer's sensations while, at the same time, supporting in terms of taste the dedicated compensation of fats and sugar reduction thanks to a unique combination of intensity and long-lasting effects. Moreover, it can boost others notes, such as fruit or caramel
in energy bars, or creamy notes in protein shakes.

Increased opportunities

"Working on flavours is not only a question of taste; it has to help food players in their global formulation challenges," says Bernard Barlet, food technologist expert for Solvay Aroma Performance.

Apart from evaluating the mechanism of flavourings in final products and their behaviour in food manufacturing processes, labs can also provide extensive expertise for optimising specific formulations collaboratively with customers. Solvay has three Vanil'Expert Centers in Lyon, Shanghai and Singapore dedicated to such services.

For applications designed to comply with EU and US regulations for natural products that may only contain strictly 'natural' flavours, Solvay offers Vanifolia, a new natural range of flavours developed from a patented technology.

"The growing market for natural-labelled foods is overlapping with many health and nutrition products that require a similar 'natural' signature," adds Salaneuve. "That is why we also developed our natural-flavours range. Solvay also proposed Vanifolia Bean, a natural flavour based on vanilla bean to specifically meet the EU regulations for 'natural vanilla flavour' labelling."

As part of its never-ending flavour story, Solvay will introduce new natural and functional vanilla flavours at Fi Europe 2015, on its stand at Booth 7H66.

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