Natural preservatives get a new look, driven by clean labels | Gourmet Diving

2021-11-10 03:03:07 By : Ms. Dan Wu

Ingredients such as citric acid, ascorbic acid, vinegar and rosemary extract can maintain the characteristics of the product, prevent deterioration during transportation and extend its service life.

With the rise of the clean label trend, the executives of Kemin Industries made the decision about 25 years ago to place this manufacturer of preservatives and other special ingredients firmly behind natural products.

Although the Iowa-based company will continue to produce its synthetic products, which are popular among low-cost brands aimed at reducing costs, consumers’ drive for healthier diets and preference for high-end brands has given natural Preservatives are especially beneficial for tailwinds. After decades of focusing most of the innovation on chemically produced ingredients, this gave Kemin the confidence to take action.

"In the past 5 to 10 years, there has been an increase in the demand for clean label preservatives," said Courtney Schwartz, director of marketing for the company's Kemin Food Technologies. "This is the focus of our meetings with all customers. The focus is on how we clean up these labels."

According to data from Allied Market Research, the natural food preservatives market was valued at 796.1 million U.S. dollars in 2018 and is expected to exceed 1 billion U.S. dollars by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.7%. The data company said that North America's demand for these ingredients is particularly strong, accounting for about 40% of the natural food preservatives market share in 2018.

The market opportunity has not been ignored by the market.

Earlier this year, Irish ingredients company Kerry Group acquired Niacet, an expert in clean labels and low-sodium preservatives, from private investment company SK Capital for approximately US$1 billion to obtain its regular organic acid product portfolio. The acquisition was made two years after Kerry acquired Biosecur Lab, a supplier of natural antibacterial agents made from citrus extracts.

Corbion, a Dutch-based ingredients company, announced in 2020 that it will invest in key growth areas such as natural food preservation, while seeking to exit its other businesses. 

When consumers consider what products to buy, all-natural is increasingly becoming their decisive factor, and this factor becomes more and more important during the ongoing pandemic. A study released by the International Food Information Council in June found that four out of ten consumers would look for natural preservatives. 

"Consumers are definitely pushing this. However, when consumers say they are looking for ingredients that they recognize on the label rather than what they are willing to pay, it's a bit of a conflict," Schwartz said. "This makes it the responsibility of food manufacturers to see what applications they want to convert first, and what conversion makes the most sense for them."

Natural preservatives are added to various products, including meat, candy, bread and snacks, to maintain the natural characteristics of the product, prevent deterioration during transportation and extend the overall shelf life. As consumers turn more to snacks and increase their food consumption on the go, the demand for natural preservatives will only increase. 

The most common top picks in the Better-for-you category include citric acid, which comes from fruits such as grapefruit and lemon; ascorbic acid or vitamin C; vinegar; and rosemary extract. For example, vinegar is used to inhibit the growth of bacteria and prevent deterioration. Rosemary extract is popular because it delays the loss of color and flavor of products such as high-fat snack bars, biscuits, potato chips, nuts, condiments and sauces; regular addition of citric acid makes it difficult for molds or bacteria to survive.

Whitney Linsenmeyer, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Nutrition at St. Louis University, said that early natural preservatives that date back thousands of years include salt and sugar. But as many people increasingly avoid these natural food additives, it has focused on raw material manufacturers to develop alternatives that are more suitable for you.

In many cases, this is a daunting task full of challenges, and it may take years for researchers to overcome it.

Natural preservatives sometimes require larger amounts to achieve the same effect as synthetic preservatives.

The problem is that increasing the amount used to achieve the same shelf life as synthetic materials will have a negative impact on flavor, forcing ingredient manufacturers to find solutions. When strong natural preservatives are added, things like spicy sausage can mask the taste more easily, but in frozen chicken nuggets, which usually require a shelf life of up to 18 months, the taste changes are less forgiving.

"In the past five to ten years, the demand for clean label preservatives has increased. This is the focus of our meetings with all our customers, and the focus is on how we clean these labels."

Jianming Food Technology Marketing Director

For example, Kemin found that mixing green tea extract with rosemary extract can slow down the oxidation process and the resulting rancid odor. The combination of these ingredients not only enhances antioxidant protection, but also reduces the amount of rosemary required in products such as sausages.

Another obstacle is not only to discover natural preservatives with the intended function, but also to produce them in large enough quantities and attractive prices to persuade large CPG manufacturers to include them in one or more mass-produced brands . 

“People look at the cost even before they start investing in the app. Casey Lippmeier, Conagen’s vice president of innovation, said that if the cost situation can never be consistent with what they think they need, they won’t start developing the app.” This Limits the desire to do this kind of research. "

Conagen uses fermentation and enzymes to rebuild molecules found in nature, and recently commercialized rosmarinic acid with partners, which is valued for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. 

This ingredient is an active ingredient in rosemary extract, which is different from its parent in that it is odorless and tasteless. For example, the lack of these attributes is especially valuable when the beverage manufacturer wants to make strawberry beverages but does not want the unique taste of rosemary. 

In the past, the challenge of rosmarinic acid was that it was difficult to produce on a large scale. This obstacle caused its price to soar and prevented some companies from using it. By using natural processes in the laboratory to create more ingredients, Lippmeier said it not only reduces costs, but also opens up more applications that will be available.

Significant progress in innovation over the past decade has expanded the availability of more clean labels and natural preservatives available to food and beverage manufacturers. But in some cases, such as value brands, if manufacturers want to maintain a certain price point, switching to more expensive natural alternatives may never make economic sense.

In addition, Linsenmeyer said that in some areas of the food industry, synthetic materials continue to dominate, especially in products such as potato chips or candy bars, where people did not turn to them to eat healthier in the first place.

"We know we eat for indulgence," she said. "People tend to pay less attention to these areas, so there are fewer industry changes reflected in this area."

Although synthetic options may continue to be widely used in certain products, consumer demand, innovation and technological improvements will provide further impetus for more clean label preservatives.  

"This is definitely the future. It will not disappear. I think we will continue to get closer and closer to providing matching with those commonly used synthetic materials, and we will also do better in terms of cost, use and sensory," Schwartz said. "In fact, we have been able to provide excellent alternatives to those traditional chemicals at economic prices. I think this is indeed the driving force for the development of the industry."

Follow Christopher Doering on Twitter

A review of 13 companies that have passed traditional IPOs or merged with SPACs since July 2020 shows that, except for one of the listed companies, the transaction price of all listed companies is lower than their initial listing price.

During a busy year of construction, projects took place across the country, but they seemed to be concentrated in a few key states.

Keep up with the story. Subscribe to Food Dive Free Daily Newsletter

Topics covered: manufacturing, packaging, new products, research and development, etc.

Subscribe to Food Dive to get headlines, trends and analysis

Topics covered: manufacturing, packaging, new products, research and development, etc.

A review of 13 companies that have passed traditional IPOs or merged with SPACs since July 2020 shows that, except for one of the listed companies, the transaction price of all listed companies is lower than their initial listing price.

During a busy year of construction, projects took place across the country, but they seemed to be concentrated in a few key states.

Get a free daily newsletter read by industry experts

Topics covered: manufacturing, packaging, new products, research and development, etc.

Free newsletter covering top industry headlines

Topics covered: manufacturing, packaging, new products, research and development, etc.