Launched for market testing in summer 2005, the flavour firm says that its ImpaQ product allows food producers to reduce levels of salt, fat, and sugar in foods and beverages without compromising on taste.
In the case of salt for example, the company says that reductions of up to 50 per cent are possible and should be available to consumers in a variety of end uses this year.
In addition to facilitating salt reduction, ImpaQ is also designed to deliver better taste across sweet and savoury product. Quest's flavours group vice president Cees de Jong says that his team is now working with several of the world's major food manufacturers on a variety of reduction and flavour enhancement projects.
"The first products using ImpaQ Taste Technology are being produced and are on their way the supermarket shelves already in Latin America, Mexico, Benelux and Spain," he said. "We have experienced the biggest take-up in Asia-Pacific, which is no surprise given the impressive growth and economic trends in some of the countries in APAC.
"We expect significant new savoury and sweet applications to be on shelves here and in the other regions this spring."
Quest has had six ImpaQ-related additional patents granted, three of which are published, and five more patents pending. Since 1999, the company has submitted 35 flavour-related patents connected with this work.
ImpaQ product is the result of a decade-long R&D programme into how flavours could solve various taste issues. Quest says that the most significant progress came with fundamental research into meat bouillons and mature cheeses, aimed at identifying the key flavour components that make these important foodstuffs taste delicious.
Globally, the flavours and fragrances industry is estimated at about 14.8 billion, of which the top five players account for 40 per cent of the market. Swiss firm Givaudan continues to lead the industry with an estimated 13.5 per cent slice of the market in 2003, followed by US International Flavours & Fragrances with an 11.7 per cent share.
Firmenich, equity-owned Symrise and ICI-owned flavours company Quest International are slated to have about 9.8, 9 and 6.1 per cent of the market respectively.