The company said that the price of mint oils has risen over the past year, a trend that it predicts will continue into 2009, as demand has increased and supply has tightened.
The new Optamint range offers manufacturers a flavor toolbox that includes mint enhancers, top notes, building blocks and complete mint profiles. The company said that the range can replicate natural mint flavors, such as more costly Willamette oil, or can be formulated to differentiate from other mint flavors, to create “fingerprint flavors”.
Symrise director of business development Donna Rosa told FoodNavigator-USA.com that mint is becoming increasingly popular as a flavor, either on its own or as a background flavor, in conjunction with vanilla, for example.
She said: “Symrise can match [customers’] desired profiles, partially or fully replacing the natural mint oils they have been using with cost effective synthetic options from our Optamint line.”
Optamint is suitable for confectionery and chewing gum applications, as well as for pharmaceutical and oral hygiene products.
In terms of the reasons for higher mint oil prices, Rosa said: “Its usage is increasing…but the biggest thing right now is the crop. Supply has gone down as farmers were getting more for corn-based ethanol than they were for mint. We expect prices to remain high for the rest of 2009 because the crop has been harvested already.”
This is where Symrise claims Optamint could have a big advantage over natural mint flavors.
Rosa said: “Our mint technology is based on experience-driven mint competence, and does not rely solely on natural mint components.”
Due to different varieties and prices, she could not specify exactly how much a manufacturer could save by using synthetic mint, but said “it could range from ten percent to 20 or 25 percent.”
Symrise works in conjunction with manufacturers to create its customized signature flavor profiles. The range is available as a liquid, spray-dried powder, or in encapsulated form.
The company also supplies synthetic menthol flavors, as well as technology for creating a cooling effect without mint or menthol flavors.