With the all-natural trend on the rise, consumers have been looking through product labels and ingredient lists with skeptical eyes. False natural-ingredient claims have led these consumers to not trust major players in the food industry and search for niche companies that provide transparency and proof of all-natural ingredients. However, major food companies still have a chance to attract more health-focused consumers through product reinvention and 100 percent natural ingredients. Kemin Industries, a maker of shelf life extension and food safety solutions, has introduced a new plant-based extract blend that they claim can increase the shelf life of salad dressings and sauces naturally without the need for refrigeration.
Kemin’s new NaturFORT RSGT product is made from a blend of spearmint, rosemary and green tea plant extracts. According to the company, this blend can replace artificial preservatives such as Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) in food and condiment formulations, which in turn can clean up product labels.
“When replacing EDTA, manufacturers had to sacrifice shelf life or make significant adjustments to their supply chain to store and distribute these products in refrigeration. We have been working on this new solution and are pleased to share that the synergies of the extracts used in NaturFORT RSGT’s proprietary blend make it a more effective option than others currently being used,” said Chandra Ankolekar, Ph.D., Technical Service Manager, Kemin Food Technologies.
Common chemical food preservatives include benzoates (ex. sodium benzoate, benzoic acid), nitrites (such as sodium nitrite), sulphites (ex. sulphur dioxide) and sorbates (ex. sodium sorbate, potassium sorbate). These chemical ingredients have proven to be successful in inhibiting early spoilage in foods but they are unattractive to consumers. This all-natural trend has led many food manufacturers to invest in new and natural preservatives such as salt, sugar, alcohol and vinegar. However, these natural alternatives might alter the taste of food products.
Although Kemin’s new NaturFORT RSGT formulation is made from natural sources, its plant extracts are sourced from herbs that can add to the flavor of food formulations rather than alter it. In addition, this formulation utilizes extracts rather than whole plants, which means flavor profiles will likely not be affected.
“Our testing has shown great shelf-life extension results in salad dressing and sauces using this new blend of rosemary, spearmint and green tea extracts. It offers improved efficacy over the current plant-based solutions. While rosemary targets the oil phase when added to an emulsion, spearmint and green tea remain in the aqueous phase. A part of the actives works at the interphase, which is known to be the hot spot for oxidation, slowing down lipid oxidation and extending shelf life,” said Ankolekar.
Major players in the condiment industry have already introduced new natural product formulations. Hellmann’s recently debuted a ketchup product that they claim is made from only natural ingredients such as tomato puree, honey, white wine vinegar, spices, onion powder and salt. Shortly after Hellmann’s launch, Heinz introduced their version of an all-natural mayonnaise product. However, Heinz’s new Real Mayonaise still utilizes EDTA as a preservative.
Other natural preservative options include naturally occurring nitrates such as celery powder, sage, citric acid and other herbal extracts. In addition, grape waste extracts were recently found to be natural preservatives for fatty foods such as mayonnaise. According to Packaged Facts, all natural sauces are driving sales within the condiment category, which provides a lot of incentive for condiment manufacturers to reformulate their products with natural preservatives.
“The trend toward healthy eating has created challenges for marketers of sauces and condiments, as the perception that sauces and condiments are an unnecessary and unhealthy addition to many foods has made some consumers cut back on consumption,” said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “As a result, sauces and condiments are increasingly marketed as organic and healthy, with new options such as low-sodium or low-sugar varieties supporting restrictive diets.”