Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.
Originating from Buddhist philosophy, Mindfulness is a meditation practise that has become widely recognised as a way to reduce stress and regulate emotions. Perhaps lesser known though is its relevance to the world of extracts and ingredients; particularly in terms of narrowing in on sensory stimuli, which is a practise that flavourists are well-versed in.
Barney Wells, Flavourist for Treatt, explains:
“Although we may not think of it quite like this, every time we are odouring or tasting, we are being mindful of the sensations taking place in the moment, which is a form of meditation. Like any skill, through practice, a flavourist will become more adept at quickly getting into this zone and experiencing a flavour or fragrance without distraction. It is the lack of distraction which allows the flavourist to sense every part of the sensory bouquet."
“A visualisation technique used by flavourists is also strongly reminiscent of Mindful practises. When smelling or tasting new materials, we will sometimes talk about the abstract properties of the materials’ characteristics. For example, we discuss the colour of the smell; whether it is light or heavy; and so on. When meditating, the same technique can be applied to the sensations and moods you feel in your body. Both techniques are there to help us become more familiar with our sensations."
“Getting in the right mindset is really important when smelling and tasting. Before any tasting, we will spend a few moments taking deep breaths and focussing on our breathing to clear the mind of any thoughts. This technique of paying attention to the breath is another practise found in mindfulness. The speed at which you draw breath will have an effect on the ratio of compounds you will come into contact with, altering your perception of the material.”
“Ultimately, when creating a new flavour, a flavourist is looking to develop something that is well-balanced. In other words, there shouldn’t be anything that stands out and distracts you from the sensory experience. When you smell the peel of a lemon, it is complete. The individual components aren’t experienced in isolation, but they combine to create the lemon bouquet. This is how we identify the right flavour extract. When we’re evaluating the material, we are looking for a complete and well-balanced experience, which makes it authentic. Our ability to mindfully identify specific scents and flavours is a key part of this process.”
So, in many ways, the mindful skills of Treatt’s flavourists are a contributing factor to the development of just the right solutions for our clients. Take, for example, a low or non-alcoholic drinks manufacturer who is looking to replace the mouth feel and flavour of gin. Juniper may offer that familiar gin flavour, but it won’t carry the alcohol “burn”. With this in mind, our flavourists are able to identify a botanical ingredient that could be used to create a more balanced and authentic alternative experience to alcoholic drinks. Equally, for clients looking to replace the impact and taste that sugar brings to a drink where it has been reduced, our flavourists can find just the right natural fruit extracts and herbs that will perfectly compensate the low sugar alternative.
Our cutting-edge technology works seamlessly with our flavourists to ensure the extracts and ingredients we provide our customers precisely meet their requirements. This might be through the juice or essential oil of an orange; a Treattarome that offers an alternative to sugar; or a herb extract that offers just the right mouth feel.
Rosie Travers, Herbs, Spices & Florals and Health & Wellness Category Manager, comments:
“Our extracts and essences allow our clients to provide their customers with healthier alternatives to sugary or alcoholic drinks without sacrificing flavour or experience. As the consumer becomes more health conscious and more mindful of what they put into their bodies, our mindful approach to extracting just the right flavour and essence is increasingly important. There is a growing need to offer consumers healthy drink options that still contain great flavour, appealing mouth feel and experience as beverage manufacturers look to create standout products that meet consumers’ health-conscious demands. We can help in this area with our range of natural extracts that offer clean label solutions.”