For the most part food undergoes a set of detrimental chemical changes as it ages. Understanding how these reactions relate to flavor can help improve product quality and maintain a desirable "fresh" flavor. The challenge? There is an enourmous amount of chemistry that happens during aging. In order to not miss any interesting chemistry, un-targeted approaches (flavoromics), can help us tackle these challenges.
Applying some creative modeling and data management allows us to emphasize flavor active compounds. This is a critical aspect since not all chemical changes will relate to flavor differences. Since we have multiple chemistries going on at the same time, we model our data using multiple approaches as well. By using more tools from our chemometric toolbox, we can uncover new and previously unfound flavor compounds to provide additional value. This research approach helps in understanding how we can take thousands of chemical features and distill them down into a more manageable number. Reducing what we look at can make finding the proverbial needle in the haystack easier, whether that be the key to fresher tasting food, finding novel flavor materials, or discovering new ways to mask off flavors or flavor modulators, chemometrics can help us address challenging questions.
As flavoromics and chemometrics develop, new and exciting challenges can be tackled. Helping identify what aspects of raw ingredients relate to the best perceived quality can make sourcing more efficient. Optimization of manufacturing for cost, efficiency and product quality is not out of the question. Rapid prototyping based on statistical modeling for sensory outcomes and ingredients. With time, energy and dedication the untargeted analysis toolbox can grow and become an integral part of growing a business and meeting consumer demands.