Technology to extend flavor shelf-life

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Taste Flavor

Cargill has introduced new flavor technology to capture consistent flavors in food and beverages which is said to be safer for food manufacturers to use than liquid alternatives.

The Freshzone encapsulation technology is patent-pending and has been designed to improve the retention of key flavor components within products, such as powdered drinks and gelatins, by protecting them from degradation and making flavors more natural tasting.

Cargill says that using this technology in powdered flavors delivers fresh taste and aroma that is released in finished applications. It can also offer food and beverage manufacturers convenient, nonflammable dried powders that are safer than flammable liquid alternatives.

This is because some liquid flavor components are flammable at sub-zero temperatures. Cargill claims that when encapsulated with Freshzone, the same flavor components are durable up to 200°F (93°C).

Jackie Wilson, beverage marketing specialist, Cargill Flavor Systems, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that liquid acetaldehyde, for example, has a very low flash point which means that it will vaporize and can catch fire if exposed to a heat source or spark. It also can lower the flashpoint of the flavor it is being used in.

When encapsulated using Freshzone technology, the acetaldehyde has a flashpoint above 200(dg)F, with vastly decreased risk.

Protecting flavors

Encapsulating flavors is a way of ensuring that a flavor is consistent and doesn't degrade during processes such as baking or extrusion, before it reaches the consumer. Also, in the case of citrus, flavors can change due to oxidization.

Wilson said the effect being protected against depends on the flavor building block being encapsulated. For example, acetaldehyde is a material that is easily vaporized, and leaves the flavor. Citral is a component that can easily degrade due to processing, heat, or light. Both are protected within the encapsulation.

Other encapsulation methods for food ingredients include spray-drying, where a fluid material is mixed with a carrier.

Freshzone is a thermodynamically stable encapsulation which holds volatile flavor components at the molecular level and it uses natural carbohydrates like cyclodextrin to protect flavors.

The current technology produces an encapsulated solid making it ideal for powdered applications. However flavors with Freshzone technology can be used in liquid or other applications as well.

Cargill has produced examples of formulations in orange and lemon which are currently available, although it said it can be used with any flavor.

The ingredients used in Freshzone technology are classified as natural, are not subject to GM labeling, and are approved as a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food additive.

David Kroll, marketing manager, Cargill flavor systems said: "Consumers' desire for a consistent flavor experience led us to develop this patent-pending technology.

"This is one of several Cargill flavor platforms that help our customers create fresh, great-tasting consumer products.

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