Human sensory perception is incredibly sophisticated. From our first gulp of milk to our first bite of bread, our brains are registering the flavours, tastes and textures our palettes enjoy. It’s how we associate dairy products with creaminess, say, or meat dishes with succulence.
To the senses, some plant-based foods are harder to categorise – they can initially register as strange or unfamiliar – what food scientists refer to as ‘off-notes’.
To simulate the taste of dairy, for example in non-dairy ice cream, we build up a ‘flavour cocktail’: we add flavours that cancel out any ‘off-notes’ on your tongue. Strong flavours such as caramel and chocolate are the easiest to create, as they hide the characteristic beany flavours that come with plant protein.
Vanilla is the hardest, as it needs dairy to be perceived as a vanilla flavour. So we carefully select the right vanilla ingredient which works best with non-dairy ingredients. It’s all about choosing the right protein, adding the right flavours and formulating them in the right way.
Imagine biting into a Magnum ice cream. First, there’s the taste of chocolate, then vanilla ice cream, and finally the salted caramel or almond. Each layer stimulates the tastebuds separately, magnifying the overall taste. Test this for yourself by trying the Magnum Vegan.