Cargill imaging system to deliver better-tasting food products

Posted by Isobel Drake on 29th July 2008

Cargill, a leading agribusiness company, believe that their new taste tissue imaging system will help food and beverage companies deliver better-tasting products to consumers.

Cargill has received a patent for the breakthrough technology in taste tissue imaging and taste modification, and claim the system is superior to the cell screening technology currently available in the flavor, food and beverage industries. The patented technology will allow Cargill to effectively discover taste modifiers – such as sweetness enhancers, bitterness blockers, savory enhancers and salt enhancers – and develop flavors that make food and beverage products taste better.

For example, Cargill’s technology could help identify natural molecules and flavor ingredients that enhance the sweet taste of reduced-calorie foods and beverages or block bitter notes from others, such as processed foods. The system is designed to provide an unparalleled depth of data for identifying potential taste enhancers, blockers and modifiers, according to the company.

The new imaging technology allows Cargill scientists to actually see and measure the cellular response of taste cells to taste stimulants, dictating that they can simultaneously observe the cellular responses and interactions of all of the taste modalities – sweet, bitter, salty, sour and umami.

“Cargill already had a wealth of knowledge and scientific resources in the flavor arena,” said Thomas Niederkorn, Americas Beverage Category Director at Cargill Flavor Systems. “This new technology will allow us to expand our offerings into the ‘next generation’ of taste innovation.”

According to Chris Mallett, Cargill Corporate Vice President of Research and Development, Cargill’s technology is revolutionary and differentiated because it allows the company’s scientists to observe the interactions of all five taste modalities at the same time. “As a result, this technology allows us to predict taste sensation and so help our customers deliver better-tasting consumer products to the marketplace,” he claimed.

Cargill developed the technology in partnership with the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a Philadelphia-based non-profit independent scientific institute dedicated to research on taste and smell.