Synergy Flavours has launched a new educational program called Citrusology to inspire food and beverage manufacturers eager to tap into consumers’ continued interest in citrus. The program includes a series of educational webinars to help food and beverage manufacturers explore the nuances of flavor across regions and citrus varieties. Webinars on lemon and orange have been recorded and are available to view online and future sessions in 2021 will cover grapefruit and lime.

Synergy has created this program by drawing on its decades of experience in developing citrus profiles using a range of extraction methods and different techniques to understand profiles and guide flavor creation. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) coupled with flame ionization detection is used to analyze essential oils and orange extracts to identify the key flavor compounds in different varieties of orange, for example.

Through the analysis of different orange varietals and types, Synergy was able to identify compounds which make each profile unique. As an example, analysis showed that a high concentration of a flavor compound called Sinensal can contribute to juicy notes, while the flavor compounds Dimethyl anthranilate and gamma-Terpinene are likely to be responsible for characteristic floral and woody notes.

Using these insights Synergy can create authentic citrus flavor profiles to inspire manufacturer’s citrus product development projects. Examples include blood orange with orange, juicy and fruit notes; a mandarin flavor with more predominant floral notes; and a Floridian orange with peely notes.

“We use sensory evaluations by an expert panel to help convey the flavor differences to our customers,” comments Phil Ashman, Synergy UK Flavourist. “Sensory analysis ensures orange profiles discriminate well in the perceived flavor and mirror the data obtained from the analysis. Principal components regression analysis can be applied to simplify the complexity of the sensory data and retain trends and patterns among the flavor profiles and their flavor characteristics. The sensory data provides customers the opportunity to choose between a variety of citrus flavors with unique flavor profiles and identify the type of orange profile they are looking for. For example, a Floridian orange is more ‘peely’ in comparison to a Brazilian orange, and the Blood orange had balanced ‘fruit’ and ‘juicy’ intensities.”