Create Flavours, a company based in Somerset, south-west England, says it has created a "cost effective, natural flavour" that can be used to make a range of products taste smoky. "Until now food manufacturers wanting to impart smoked characteristics into their food products, such as snacks, smoky bacon, BBQ sauces or glazes, have had to use traditional smoking processes or smoke extracts," explained Jonathan Jones, the company's chief flavourist. "The problem with these traditional extracts is that they are strictly controlled under specific legislation and as such have to be declared as 'flavourings' or 'smoke flavourings'," he said. These ingredients can therefore not be used in products being marketed as "natural", and customers had asked Jones and his team if they could create a flavouring that could be labelled as natural. After 18 months work looking at the key aroma compounds of traditional flavourings, they believe they have developed a natural alternative to recreate a "hickory type smoke" taste. According to Jones, the flavouring works well with meat products, snacks, seasonings and in BBQ sauces, and is available in liquid or powder formats. The company's next challenge is to broaden its range of natural smoky flavours. The first ones will be themed around the hickory flavour, said Jones, but he then expects his team to broaden out and find natural alternatives for oak smoke and other tastes. The company works mainly with UK food manufacturers, though Jones clarified that it does sell some of its products overseas. Jones refused to disclose the budget spent on the project.