RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CALIF. — Blue California is starting production on a novel flavor technology for reducing bitter notes.

The ingredient solutions company filed a patent for the nature-based bitter blocker jointly with Bedford, Mass.-based biotech company Conagen. Blue California will scale and secure global regulatory approvals for the new technology, which will be marketed under the Sensegen brand.  The company’s Flavors and Fragrances division will use the bitter blocker technology to develop custom food and beverage solutions at its recently launched Blue California Creative Center in southern California.

“The possibilities are unlimited, and our inspired and talented team customize ingredient solutions to meet this unmet market need,” said Kathy Oglesby, head of flavor and fragrance at Blue California. “We are creating exciting new flavors for the next generation of great tasting, clean label solutions for traditionally bitter products.”

Bitter reduction and mitigation of off-notes are required to satisfy consumers’ taste sensitivities as demand for health and wellness with more natural and functional ingredients grows, the companies said. Data from the International Food Information Service shows 25% to 30% of US consumers are bitter-blind, while 45% to 50% are bitter-average and 20% to 30% are bitter sensitive. 

The new bitter blocker technology is effective across a range of classic bitterants, including coffee, unsweetened cocoa, tea, tonic, energy drinks and other drinks and snacks containing plant proteins, cannabinoids and vitamin supplements, Blue California and Conagen said.