Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the world’s leading food and beverage companies use our flavor ingredients in numerous products. For example, our flavor ingredients, such as boosters of sweet taste, are used in a wide variety of branded food and beverages, including coffee, tea, dairy beverages, baked goods and yogurt. Use of flavor ingredients is widespread and found in many of the food and beverage products that people enjoy on a daily basis.

Our flavor ingredients have already been used in North America and in more than 30 countries in Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

No. Our flavor ingredients are not made from genetically modified organisms.

Our flavor ingredients do not come from allergenic sources, such as nuts, shellfish, seafood, etc., and do not contain any known allergenic materials.

Our flavor boosters enable the reduction of calories by decreasing the amount of sugar or high fructose corn syrup in packaged foods and beverages, but, like other flavor ingredients, they do not have nutritional value.

Individuals experience the sensation of taste when flavors in food and beverages interact with the taste receptors in their taste buds. As a result of this interaction, signals are sent to the brain where a specific taste perception is registered. This mechanism is instantaneous and natural in humans. There are currently five recognized primary senses of taste: sweet, salt, bitter, sour and umami, also known as savory taste.

A Senomyx sweet taste booster, for example, interacts with the sweet taste receptor located on taste buds on the tongue. Our sweet taste booster heightens the receptor’s response to sugar, so less sugar is necessary to provide the desired level of sweetness in a food or beverage.

Because the combinations of ingredients we use in our flavor boosters are so effective, they appear in foods and beverages in miniscule quantities. In this case, a little really does go a long way.

We’ve found that in some ways, taste perception is similar to listening to music. If the volume is high enough, you can hear–or, in this case, taste–something easily. When a product has a lot of sugar, for example, the taste signal is “loud” and we perceive an intense sweet taste.

If the volume is too low, the sound is difficult to hear. You can “dial up the volume” to make it more noticeable. Similarly, when the amount of sugar in a product is reduced, the taste signal is not loud enough and doesn’t give us the sweet taste we desire. Our sweet boosters, such as Sweetmyx, “dial up the taste volume” by boosting the sweetness of the sugar, allowing us to have the full sweet taste with less sugar and fewer calories.

Sweetmyx, for example, works in products that have less sugar/high fructose corn syrup and fewer calories. Since Sweetmyx doesn’t have a taste of its own, the taste of the sweetener is dialed up, and the same taste is maintained.

Yes. Senomyx’s flavor ingredients go through robust safety testing before they are added to foods. This testing is conducted by independent research organizations and the results are reviewed by several safety assessment organizations. To ensure an objective evaluation, reviewing scientists are independent and have no professional or financial ties to Senomyx.

Senomyx’s flavor ingredients go through robust safety testing before they are added to foods and beverages. Our safety studies have been conducted according to guidelines established by the FDA and other regulatory bodies in order to fulfill international regulatory requirements for new flavor ingredients. This testing is conducted by independent research organizations and the results are reviewed by several third party safety assessment organizations. Reviewing scientists are independent to ensure an objective evaluation.

In the United States, the Expert Panel of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) designate flavor ingredients that meet their safety standards to be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).

The determination of the FEMA Expert Panel allows immediate use of flavor ingredients in the U.S. and numerous other countries in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. All of the Senomyx flavor ingredients used in foods and beverages have been granted FEMA GRAS designation. Additionally, all of these flavor ingredients have either been approved, or are in the process of being reviewed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA): upon completion of their review process our ingredients are allowed for use in the European Union. In addition, Senomyx flavor ingredients have been favorably reviewed by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) / World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO) Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which allows immediate use in a number of countries and enables regulatory approvals elsewhere.

Labeling regulations classify Senomyx flavor ingredients, and many other ingredients, as artificial flavors. Accordingly, Senomyx flavor ingredients are listed as “artificial flavors” on ingredient statements. Flavor companies and food companies are protective of their flavor formulas, much like chefs are protective of their recipes. Since Senomyx flavor ingredients are part of a proprietary blended flavor mix, they are not individually listed on the ingredient statements of foods and beverages.

And while the exact recipes are protected by flavorists, the list of possible flavor ingredients that could be used to create flavors is available for everybody to see – the list of ingredients (the industry’s expansive “spice rack,” so to speak) is published by the U.S. flavor association, the FEMA. For additional information on flavors, visit FEMA’s website, www.flavorfacts.org.

With an advanced understanding of human taste bud science, precise screening platforms and taste testing, Senomyx has developed a process that mimics the natural function of the taste bud and enables us to discover new flavors that boost the taste of sweeteners and other flavors in foods and beverages, and allow for the reduction of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Like vanilla and other flavors, our ingredients are mixed into a custom blend to provide an appealing flavor, or to boost the taste of other flavors. Unlike vanilla, however, our flavor boosters have no taste on their own. They work to boost the taste of sweeteners, such as sugar, as well as other flavor attributes. Senomyx’s flavor ingredients allow food and beverage manufacturers to create better-for-you products with benefits that include reduced sugar or high fructose corn syrup and fewer calories, while maintaining the same great taste.