Reactionary sugars are used in the production of many process flavors by heating up a mixture of reactionary sugars with other starting materials containing amino acids. The mixture is heated and held under various pressures to start the Maillard Reaction. By varying the time and temperature of the reaction, various flavors can be produced using the same sugar and amino acid mixture.
The Maillard Reaction is a non-enzymatic browning reaction of reducing sugars and proteins/amino acids that produce new compounds that are flavorful and creates browning or darkening of the color. Maillard reactions generally only begin to occur above 280F and occur rapidly once the temperature is in the 280-300F Range. In many foods, the flavor of the food increases significantly once the surface reaches 285F. At higher temperatures, caramelization starts and eventually pyrolysis Common flavors produced are seared steaks, bread crust, french fries, fried foods, toasted marshmallows, and many other roasted and cooked notes. Many foods will have a flavor transformation when the Maillard reaction occurs.