Q&A with a Clean Flavor Chemist

September 15, 2023


In the era of “less is more,” great flavor is unwaveringly essential. Consumer preferences dictate greater authenticity, versatility, and transparency, with the expectation of less - meat, salt, sugar, and artificial. From the hurdles you face with these ever-evolving consumer preferences and the corresponding regulatory challenges – we understand it can be hard to launch a successful product!

Read on to hear Thomas Kountz, a Clean Flavor Chemist, share his guidance and advice on clean flavor and the unique customer challenges he sees daily.

Q: What is your current role regarding clean flavor?  

Thomas: As a chemist with a culinary background, I collaborate with customers and an internal team to provide inspiration and solutions during their innovation process. Tasting the ingredients is not only permitted but encouraged! My primary objective is to seek new and innovative processing strategies to solve our customers' biggest flavor challenges.


Q: What is clean flavor?

Thomas: The core principle of clean flavor is transparency - obtaining genuine and authentic flavors from their original sources in diverse formats. We strive to support our customers in attaining their clean label and regulatory goals by utilizing the principles of green chemistry.


Q: Why is clean flavor so important?

Thomas: Our customers are faced with a complex environment. No longer just about the health of our planet, Corporate ESG programs are addressing the health of people. Providing food and drink that enable health and nutrition continues to be a priority. Also, Regulatory requirements are ever-evolving, requiring companies to reformulate their products to meet the latest nutrition guidelines. This landscape means that keeping labels clean will take precedence. Our advice to product developers is to understand their consumers' priorities for their brands and work with their flavor experts to meet those needs.


Q: How do you help customers meet the challenges of delivering a clean flavor?

Thomas: It’s been an honor to help so many of our customers meet their consumers’ needs through clean flavor.

Like a traditional flavor, clean flavor can be used in virtually any application as a building block or a crucial component in creating a conventional flavor. Beyond spices and herbs, our range of clean flavor profiles includes warming or sweet browns, botanical/floral, fruit, citrus, and heat sources like chilies. What’s especially exciting for me is that we continue to expand our portfolio and inspire previously unattainable flavor profiles with the help of cutting-edge technology tools.


Q: How are regulatory and sourcing involved? 

Thomas: Sourcing plays a vital role in bringing innovative solutions to life. We collaborate with existing and new suppliers to expand our network. It’s thrilling to have an unparalleled supply of herbs, spices, raw materials, and novel ingredients.

We advise our customers to take advantage of our accessible and knowledgeable regulatory experts. They can help guide and clarify a complex global regulatory environment. This enables us to offer taste solutions to help our customers meet regulatory claims, such as organic certification and non-genetically modified verification (NGPV). 


Q: Why McCormick for clean flavor?

Thomas: Clean” may seem complicated, but for us, it’s business as usual - and part of our legacy. The journey began in 1889 with root beer extract and now extends into a rich portfolio that enables us to leverage our global supply chain and develop groundbreaking clean flavor solutions.


Q: Future: What does the future hold for clean flavor?  

Thomas: We plan to expand our extraction and isolation portfolio while enhancing our technologies to keep up with the evolving tastes of the world through increased collaboration among our global research and development teams.




Clean Flavor is committed to supporting all our segments and portfolios, and we are available to assist whenever there is a need for clean-label products for internal and external customers. Get in touch with us here to learn more and request samples.

Order your free flavor sample here.

You deserve more. Let’s get started.

What does true partnership look like? You deserve a flavor partner ready to turn these trends into the tangible.

Let McCormick FONA’s market insight and research experts get to work for you. Translate these trends into bold new ideas for your brand. Increase market share and get to your “what’s next.” Our technical flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. Let’s mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution. From concept to manufacturing, we’re here for you — every step of the way.

Contact our sales service department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or chat us up at www.fona.com/contact-fona/