Sector News

“Label literacy:” Kemin highlights curbing oxidation with naturality

June 16, 2020
Food & Drink

Kemin Industries explores alternative solutions to synthetic ingredients for preventing the loss of color and flavor while extending shelf life. The US-based food safety solutions supplier has unveiled a new line of plant-based alternatives to tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), designed to help manufacturers meet consumer demand for naturality in formulations.

In a recent webinar, food technology experts at the company delve further into a variety of clean label solutions preventing oxidation – from processing and packaging to functional ingredients.

“Consumer awareness is increasing about these additives. Consumers are actively seeking out products that are free-from synthetic preservatives. ‘Label literacy’ is only going to increase in the future. The percentage of shoppers that make purchase decisions based on reading the label is only going to increase going forward,” Chandra Ankolekar, Ph.D., Technical Manager – Bakery, Dressings & Oils at Kemin, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Mindful snacking is the buzz among today’s consumers. Among the key takeaways of Kemin’s webinar is the knowledge that in many food applications that are most prone to oxidation, there is data supporting the concept that alternatives to synthetic ingredients are available. “These alternatives are derived from plant extracts and have much better consumer perceptions,” explains Dr. Ankolekar.

To attract shoppers, grain-based snack food manufacturers are exploring better-for-you formulations that utilize various ingredient and fat sources – critical components in most grain-based snack foods. Ingredient interactions, processing techniques and packaging choices are variables that can significantly impact shelf life.

“When today’s consumers purchase their favorite snack foods, they expect a consistent look and great-tasting product. Having a stable, consistent product leads to repeat purchases and increased brand loyalty,” says Courtney Schwartz, Marketing Director, Kemin Food Technologies – Americas.

“Consumer demand for more transparency and cleaner labels has increased, and manufacturers must consider how even the slightest reformulation could impact their brand’s reputation. Removing ingredients such as TBHQ, BHT and BHA can significantly impact the sensory attributes and shelf life of food products,” she notes.

“These ingredients are synthetic and are derived from petroleum. There is a general public perception that synthetic ingredients not derived from nature or are not nature-identical are bad for health. Research shows that TBHQ can cause T-cells to release proteins that can trigger allergies to certain food items,” says Dr. Ankolekar.

Rising stars in clean label oxidation prevention
Certain rising ingredients in clean label oxidation-prevention are having a moment in the spotlight. Dr. Ankolekar highlights, “Rosemary and green tea extract in snack products have certainly proven to be a favorite for manufacturers and consumers alike.”

“Tocopherols is another ingredient that has been around for quite some time and is being rapidly adopted by a certain segment of customers. Manufacturers and consumers accept any nature-derived ingredient that is efficacious, cost-effective and easy to use and handle,” he adds.

Looking ahead, Dr. Ankolekar flags the challenge of cost-in-use in the shift to naturality, “Manufacturers often have to pay more to switch to plant-derived ingredients. Clean-label ingredients often are not drop-in solutions. Some development work needs to be conducted before making the switch. Often with any kind of reformulation and label change, there is a risk of loss of sales as there is some unpredictability in terms of how consumers are going to react to the change.”

Across industry in recent months, snack sales, in general, have notably surged as quarantine measures blurred meal occasions. As recently highlighted on FoodIngredientsFirst, this trend is notably benefiting the likes of other snacking giants, such as Mondelēz International and PepsiCo, which have similarly seen steady growth in their snacking segments.

The clean label theme was spotlighted in Innova Market Insights’ product trends analysis for the month of March. Last January, FoodIngredientsFirst spoke to leading specialists on the latest natural preservation products and techniques, helping to shorten ingredient labels while extending shelf life and fighting food waste.

By: Benjamin Ferrer

Source: Food Ingredients First

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