“Switch to natural”: Solvay eyes growing potential for natural vanillin solutions

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18 Feb 2019 --- Driven by concerns around food safety and the need for improved transparency, consumers increasingly seek foods that are simple and contain familiar ingredients. For the US food market, Solvay is now offering a new, natural vanillin further extending its current portfolio of natural and nature-inspired ingredients. Catering to this rising consumer demand for GMO-free, natural and “true-to-nature” products, Solvay has developed a full range to answer the “switch to natural” demand, according to Lucie Morpain, Food & Beverages and Americas Market Manager.

“Making the switch to natural an easy way is the key message that we want to get across to our customers and this is the main trend that we see a ripe market for,” she tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Solvay is supporting the move to natural, with two different vanillin solutions, Rhovanil(r) Natural CW, which is globally recognized as a natural ingredient and Rhovanil(r) US NAT, which meets many US flavor regulations, according to the company.

Rhovanil(r) US NAT is ideal for manufacturers looking to reformulate an existing product or create a new one, for clean label status. Solvay introduced its new naturally-sourced ingredient – Rhovanil(r) US NAT – to the US market at IFT 2018. It is a 1:1 replacement of synthetic vanillin, therefore straightforward to reformulate, according to the company. Additionally, it does not bring any undesired off notes to a formulation.

Click to EnlargeLucie Morpain, Food & Beverages and Americas Market Manager at SolvayIts flagship brand, Rhovanil(r) allows manufacturers to label products as “natural,” but at a fraction of the cost of vanilla bean extract, says Solvay. This means manufacturers can offer consumers the products they want without compromising on taste, nutrition and quality.

In addition to these ingredients, Solvay also has a range of formulations and developed a brand called Vanifolia(r), natural and functional vanillin based-solutions, from rice botanical origin. It ensures benefits throughout optimized food functions and an authentic vanillin taste, says Morpain, which “perfectly meets the growing consumer trends on natural request, performance nutrition and food safety,” she adds. At Supply Side West 2018, Solvay launched a new range of Vanifolia (r) allowing to mask protein off-notes. 

“The feedback we received has been very positive, some even mentioning that this range is a true ‘game-changer’ for the market. We expect a lot from this growing industry,” Morpain notes.

Solvay’s portfolio of vanillin-based solutions and ingredients offers a wide range of solutions for bakery, confectionery and nutrition applications, satisfying food safety standards and addressing the needs of those looking for both artificial and natural requirements, according to the company.

In October 2018, Solvay opened its new Vanil’Expert Center (VEC) in North America, located at its headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. The center aims to provide customers with technical and product development support across its full range of vanillin-based solutions, with a particular focus on natural trends. The Vanil’Expert Center was the third expertise center to be installed globally and home to senior food technologists.

Morpain explains: “We already had two centers similar to this one, one in France and one in China. The goal of this new platform is to be able to accompany the specific R&D needs of our customers and the market. It’s all about optimizing formulations and developing solutions for the needs of tomorrow.”

In November 2018, Solvay increased its synthetic vanillin and ethyl-vanillin prices by 15 percent across North America. The company says the price increases were driven by continued and significant increases in raw materials and energy costs involved in producing Solvay’s vanillin and ethyl-vanillin.

“For our synthetic ingredients, we invested in a plant in 2015 in the Zhenjiang production site in China, manufacturing our vanillin flagship range, Rhovanil(r),” she says. 

For the natural ingredients sector, Morpain stresses that Solvay wants to “lead with natural.”

“Making the right choice alongside the technologies which are available is important, but we believe that we are offering a wide range of solutions to our customers, so we have good relationships with these companies and we can help them look for solutions and make their own choices,” adds Morpain.

On the other hand, there is still a growing need for synthetic vanillin ingredients. “We do intend to continue working with the synthetic ingredients and continue to grow our company in this way. The three plants we have already make synthetic ingredients and will continue to do so,” Morpain notes. “The plants serve global customer needs, as well as following the trend for natural-based solutions.”

Additionally, both the natural and synthetic ingredients can be used for many different food applications, Morpain says they are versatile and convenient food ingredients. “We are continuing to make progress and investments in natural ingredients; it’s our strategy to lead in this direction and continue to deliver both natural and synthetic alternatives to the end-customer,” she concludes.

By Elizabeth Green

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