Over the past few years “the message from our customers has been crystal clear – they want a solution that will allow them to improve and maintain product quality over a longer period of time without being forced to compromise on organoleptic qualities,” which is often a tradeoff companies must make when they use natural or artificial preservatives, said Devin Stagg, VP of strategy & business development for PLT Health Solutions.
But with PhytoShield Flavor Enhancer, manufacturers do not have to make this compromise, Stagg added at IFT in Chicago in July.
“PhytoShield is a different, innovative approach to overall product quality that leverages flavor technology” to deliver specific flavor and quality objectives while at the same time offering a “self-preservation component” that has “very powerful broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity,” Stagg said. “This allows customers to put into their product a natural flavor that works hard for them in performing more than one function.”
Specifically, he explained, PhytoShield protects and extends product quality and shelf-life by creating a “synergistic” reaction of bioflavonoids, flavor components, polyphenols and other organic acids that are effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, fungi, molds and yeast.
PhytoShield is unique in that it is fully customizable, which allows manufacturers to harness these benefits without creating an off-flavor.
“It is important to know that this is a flavor technology first and foremost,” Stagg said. He added by working closely with manufacturers, the company can use PhytoShield to make “very, very slight” flavor impacts or “enhance the formulation to the point that manufacturers could take out other ingredients because we can do some of the lifting on enhancing tartness or whatever it might be.”
PLT doesn’t want manufacturers just to take its word for its claim about preserving quality as well as shelf-life. Rather, it conducted confirmatory tests to show that PhytoShield is comparable or even in some cases more effective than synthetic preservatives, Stagg said.
He also noted that the technology already is in use in the marketplace through a soft launch and case-by-case applications for “some very meaningful customers.”
An ideal match for wet products
PhytoShield is best-suited for “folks who have either been trying to use natural solutions in the past and aren’t satisfied with some of the compromises they need to make in terms of organoleptic or maybe they’re not getting the shelf life that they would like with natural solutions,” Stagg said.
It also is a viable option for manufacturers seeking a clean label but that haven’t found a suitable alternative to synthetics, he said.
While the technology works well across several platforms, PLT is concentrating on its application in beverages, including refrigerated and shelf-stable options and everything from “shots to liquid supplements to syrups, hot-filled and pasteurized” products, Stagg said.
“The other key area is prepared foods. So, dips, soups, sauces, ready-to-eat products without long shelf lives or quality concerns … this is a great fit for that space,” too, Stagg added.
Ultimately, the company hopes to roll the technology out to more platforms but wants to ensure that it can give each manufacture the time and attention to customize the technology and ensure a perfect fit, he said.