Flavour Profiling

Our food flavour analysis capabilities enable us to support you in food product development and troubleshooting.

Flavour Profiling and Aroma Analysis

A thorough understanding of what gives your product its unique flavour is the key both to optimising your processes and resolving any flavour issues. We can profile the volatile and non-volatile compounds in your product and identify and quantify the key substances contributing to its flavour. Our flavour chemistry expertise and the suite of state-of-the-art technologies and techniques (including spectroscopy analysis) mean we can be a pivotal part of your food innovation. Our approach is to define flavour analysis into the following steps:


How you extract the flavour compounds of interest from the product is critical in maintaining the integrity of these compounds. Whilst extracting traditionally involves heating a sample to dissolve compounds into a solvent, we know that heating can generate higher levels of existing compounds, or entirely new compounds. Our range of techniques are designed to provide ‘gentle’ extraction, ensuring minimal loss or generation of new or additional compounds. Selecting the most appropriate extraction method based on the characteristics of the raw ingredient or finished product.


Within a raw ingredient or finished product there can be hundreds of volatile compounds, however not all of these are ‘flavour active’ and have a specific aroma or taste attributed to them. Using GC-O and our trained flavour chemists, we can distinguish individual all compounds, within a product that form the aroma. These are labelled according to their sensory descriptors (for example fruit, earthy, grassy), and ensure these terms are those common with leading academic research.


Once we understand which compounds within a product are ‘flavour active’, we use a wide range of cutting edge technologies to measure the levels of these compounds within the product. This allows us to generate a ‘fingerprint’ of the product for comparison.


Whilst understanding which flavour compounds are within a product is important, understanding how these compounds release from the product is equally important. Until recently, technology has allowed only headspace measurement at single time points making flavour release analysis slow and expensive. New technology such as PTR-MS and SIFT that allows ‘real-time’ flavour release analysis that is fast and reliable now allows this. We are able to:

  • Static Headspace – Allows measurement of intensity of aroma
  • Dynamic Headspace – Allows measurement of the release of aroma compounds in in-vitro systems that replicate a process (manufacturing or human)
  • Nose-Space (Breath Analysis) - Allows measurement of the release of aroma compounds on the breath to better understand the release of aroma compounds in the mouth

Techniques we use:-


  • Solvent Assisted Flavour Evaporation (SAFE) Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE)
  • Solid Phase Micro Extraction – (SPME)
  • Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE)
  • Membrane Assisted Solvent Extraction (MASE)


  • Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • Gas Chromatography – Flame Ionised Detection (FID)
  • Gas Chromatography - Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (GC-TOF-MS)
  • Thermal Desorption


  • Proton Transfer Reaction Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS)
  • Purge and Trap

Benefits of flavour profiling:-

  • Understanding of processing and formulation on the flavour characteristics of the product
  • Appropriate selection of ingredients and processes
  • Safety/Quality of Batch release
  • Differentiation of products from competitors
  • Patent defence
  • Demonstrate IP claims to protect a competitive advantage

More Resources

Specialist Scientific Services - RSSL Brochure
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Avoiding Customer Complaints: Origins of Food Taints and Off-flavours - White Paper
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The Challenges of Flavour Analysis: Comparison and Choices of Extraction Technique - White Paper
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For any questions regarding our services, getting a proposal or submitting samples, please contact the team on:

t: +44 (0)118 918 4076
e: enquiries@rssl.com


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