LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Updated: Mar 10, 2021
Nature delivers everything what we need to eat and drink. You can never stop imagining, tasting and learning from nature which is probably why I find it so fascinating.
My curiosity in natural products began from childhood when I frequently travelled with my father, a practising veterinarian. During the 1960-70s -when China was economically poor- , he treated successfully many animals using simple natural herbs. Based on his broad knowledge and experience he even recommended herb recipes upon request to people suffering from complicated diseases which could not be cured with common medicines. For us at this time surprisingly, most patients either experienced relief of symptoms or were completely healed. This led me to believe strongly that natural products are beneficial to human health.
My interest to uncover a deeper understanding of natural products arose in 1995 when I started to work on licorice Extract. Since then, I dedicated my time in identifying, characterising, manufacturing and clinically testing natural premium ingredients. Having built up a successful story of extraordinarily tasting stevia products is just the beginning of journey. Despite the widespread use of non-caloric, high-intensity sweeteners gaining more and more popularity, many consumers are still reluctant to use these products. The taste properties of such products are often considered to insufficiently mimic the taste profile of sugar. Non-caloric sweeteners such as sucralose and stevia including Reb M are typically characterized by slow-onset of sweetness and a metallic, bitter, lingering taste profile. In addition, sweetness, acidity and aroma temporal profile are not synchronized at all when drinking sugar free beverages. Sugar cannot be replaced without compromise to a good taste with high-intensity sweetener molecules even by adding flavor modifiers and thickeners. Food and beverage industry is hungry for new and innovative taste and flavor ingredients to realise out-of-box solutions with taste properties of natural, non-caloric sweeteners matching the taste properties of conventional sugar products to provide increased consumer satisfaction.
EPC thinks Taste and Flavor different!
Unlike the conventional understanding of flavor perception as a result of volatile substances sensed by the orthonasal olfactory, EPC hypothesizes that aerosols -formed from food and beverage while in the mouth- carry droplets which contain also non-volatile substances play a big role for overall flavor perception. When breathing out all the airborne substances in the aerosols activate -in addition to the smell receptors- somatosensory receptors present in mouth and the retro-nasal cavity, thus enhancing the overall flavor perception. Aerosols contain many substances present in trace amounts including non-detectable volatile substances which in combination play a big role for the general impression of aroma.
Unlike the conventional understanding of sweetness as only sensed by taste buds, EPC hypothesizes that sugar, especially less purified sucrose, comprises of a good amount of volatile and non-volatile substances contributing to the sweet taste significantly. Aerosols formed from sugar containing food and beverage in mouth are sensed by retronasal olfactory enhancing the sweet taste and mouthfeel of sucrose.
When ingesting food, trigeminal sensations and retronasal olfactory bulbs contribute to the first impressions of taste sensation such as sourness, saltiness and sweetness at least as much as the taste buds on the tongue. Trigeminal stimuli substances play a big role for mouth-feeling, especially for the mouth-contracting part. EPC discovered that a quick onset of sweetness and the perception of freshness are the important contributors to the consumer’s hedonic preference (likeliness) of food and beverages. EPC has developed a series of products which trigger a quick onset of sweetness and freshness perception of food and beverage.
Innovation is our gene. Food and beverage industry benefits from better science. There is still a long way to integrate Neurogastronomy, Gastrophysics, Chemesthesis, and Molecular Gastronmy into better taste. However, a man who is passionate for his work will always find solutions no matter the difficulties and frustration encountered.
---Jack Shi, President of EPC