The new preparations, which fall within Frutarom's Food Systems range, is in keeping with the shift towards foods with fewer or no artificial additives, as consumers are opting for products perceived to be natural. This tendency has led ingredients manufacturers to source colours, flavours, preservatives and other additives from plants. The new offering, however, is enabled by a new technology called VeriTaste, which was developed "with and exclusive for Frutarom", the company said - but it declined to reveal the identity of its partner. Preparations made using the technology are known as VeriTaste Food Systems. VeriTaste involves three steps. The fruit, vegetables or herbs are gently heated first, before being submitted to a brief blast of thermal treatment at temperatures of up to 135 degrees. The final cooling process is described as quick and gentle. The result, according to the company, is preparations that have guaranteed microbial safety (because of the high temperatures), reducing or eliminating the need for preservatives. The shelf life of the preparations is said to be up to 12 months. They also retain the original flavour spectrum of the produce, and keep the original colour and shape. This is a marked point of difference from other fruit and vegetable preparations, which trigger the Maillard reaction. This is the same reaction that gives baked and fried goods their brown appearance and crispy - but for fruit and vegetables the brown and dulled appearance can make them look unappealing. These three factors mean that there is less need for using preservatives, colourings and flavourings in the final product - or, indeed, they may be eliminated altogether. The resulting VeriTaste Food Systems ingredients are suitable for use in a broad range of finished products, including fresh dairy, ice creams, desserts, bakery products and products for the culinary sector. The company works with each customer directly to develop Food Systems ingredients that are specifically tailored to their intended use. A spokesperson for Frutarom told FoodNavigator.com that, to date, it has found the technology works for all kinds of products it has tried. "The very gentle processing technology so far has shown only positive results for all products manufactured." As for ensuring that it maintains its advantage, after having spent a considerable time developing VeriTaste, Frutarom plans to patent the technology and has already put the wheels in motion. Frutarom, which has its headquarters in Israel, has been supplying fruit preparations for the food industry for 50 years. In an interview with FoodNavigator.com last year president and CEO Ori Yehudai said that the company has always placed a high emphasis on taste and health - ever since it started as an extractor and distiller of fragrances and essential oils form plants and flowers in 1933. Now with two divisions - flavours and fine ingredients - it has remained quite lose to its roots, and Yehudai believes that, as various food trends have come and gone, the time of taste and health has now come since this is at the front end of the food industry. In recent times Frutarom has been keenly expanding, not just its ingredient ranges but also by bolting on new capabilities through acquisitions. In 2007 it completed no less than seven new acquisitions. For the year ended December 31 2007, it reported sales of US$368.7m - up 34 per cent on the prior year. Its net income for the year was $24.2m, compared to $29.7 in 2006. This latter drop was explained in part by the acquisitions that came at towards the end of the year, which had not yet had a chance to contribute positively to results, and the one time expenses of $2m Frutarom paid out to integrate its new business.