BVO made national headlines when Mississippi high school student Sarah Kavanagh, 16, used an online petition to campaign for its removal from Gatorade. PepsiCo bowed to consumers’ “negative perceptions” and unveiled plans to remove BVO from Gatorade and replace it with sucrose acetate isobutyrate.
Dinah Diaz, market development manager for beverages and encapsulation with Ingredion Incorporated, told us that the company has “absolutely seen an increase in inquiries from various beverage manufacturers regarding our solutions to remove BVO.
“Simpler, more consumer friendly labels has been a growing trend in the food and beverage segment for a number of years now.
“We identified this as an important need for our customers a few years ago, and have been working on removal of BVO, weighting agents, propylene glycol and other chemical products from beverages.”
While the US FDA recently told us that it has no concerns about the safety of the additive, the driving force behind the removal of BVO and other chemical products from labels is really consumer demand, explained Diaz.
“People are much more interested in what is being put into their bodies and they are increasingly reading labels; basically they are looking for ingredients they recognize,” she said. “If removing BVO or any other type of weighting agent can be done without adding another ingredient on the label that is optimal.
“That is what Q-Naturale does; it is a natural emulsifier that can be listed as part of the flavoring system in the beverage without the need to add it to the label.”
Q-Naturale is derived from the South American Quillaja saponaria tree. Quinaia (or quinaja) saponins have around 100 years of history of use in food and beverages, as well as other uses such as production of photographic films and cosmetics.
While Q-Naturale is position for natural beverages, Ingredion also offers Purity Gum Ultra as an emulsifier for traditional beverages.
In addition to the consumer demand for the removal of weighting agents like BVO, sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB) and glycerol ester of wood rosin (ester gum), the additives also pose technical issues, said Diaz.
“Weighting agents such as Ester Gum and SAIB are difficult to dissolve and require extended mixing times, which reduces manufacturing productivity,” she said. “For example, weighting agents may take a minimum of four hours to dissolve into water and then the clearing of the equipment, which can be very difficult.
“Manufacturers need to use cleaning solutions etc. Unlike our ingredient solutions, which go into solution quickly. Q-Naturale is a liquid so it is immediately dispersed while Purity Gum Ultra is starch that can be dispersed very quickly - in less than 30 minutes.”
There is also a cost issue to be considered, she said. “Weighting agents vary in price, but they can be very expensive. In a typical beverage, the flavor is most expensive, followed by weighting agents.
“Weighting agents like Ester Gum, or SAIB and others are very difficult to handle, dissolve and formulate. Q-Naturale and Purity Gum Ultra are more cost effective alternatives to these weighting agents because they can be used at low levels to deliver 2 to 3X the flavor or oil level, whether that is a nutrient, an oil soluble color (betacarotene), omega-3 etc.”