High-Impact Aroma Chemicals
What are High-Impact Aroma Chemicals?
Endeavour Speciality Chemicals is a manufacturer of aroma chemicals, but the chemicals we produce are the high impact aroma chemicals (HIAC’s); but what exactly are HIAC’s?
Although HIAC’s are a well established group of chemicals, there is no universal definition of what constitutes a HIAC. There are, however, a few general principles which apply to any chemical used as a HIAC, they are:
- The material must have a low odour threshold. Again there is no absolute definition of this, but most experts agree that a threshold of around 10ppb (parts per billion) would be the minimum for a compound to be considered high-impact.
- The material should have a recognisable character; even at the low concentrations it would normally be used at (typically ppb).
- The material should have a desirable character/impact. Many chemicals have a powerful odour, but this characteristic is not always a desirable one. There is an important point to make regarding concentration, as many HIAC’s have an extremely unpleasant odour in high concentrations, but when used at an appropriate dilution, they will demonstrate the desired effect.
- The material must be readily available to the flavourist. For this point to be satisfied there are usually three obstacles that need to be overcome. They are:
- Regulatory: The material should be approved for its intended use. For flavours this generally means they have FEMA GRAS (Flavour and Extracts Manufacturers Association – Generally Regarded as Safe) status.
- Stability: The material must have a sufficiently long shelf-life for it to be considered for use in a flavour.
- Cost: The material must be available at a price that allows the flavourist to add value to the flavour by its use. The relatively high-value of a large number of flavour compounds (which is a reflection of the difficulty of producing and handling such odorous materials), can usually be offset by the low-doses in which they are used.
HIAC’s are used in general to provide ‘top notes’ to flavours. ‘Top notes’ are often defined as those aromas which hit the nose quickly and then dissipate. As well as contributing to the taste of a flavour, the HIAC’s add considerably to the aroma of the flavour.
The aroma chemicals require specialised skills to handle; the chemistry used to generate them and the highly odorous nature of the products themselves, make it essential that containment of such powerful odours is a prerequisite to manufacture. Endeavour has this ability, a skill gleaned from over 20 years experience in their production.