Tapping into clean label: Preservation and antimicrobial trends at the fore, says Layn
10 Aug 2020 --- Clean label credentials are often pegged as a key priority for ingredient manufacturers. According to Luca Pennestri, General Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Layn, each region has its own methods and standards for clean label. In many cases, they also vary from country to country. “We see these [methods] all aligned under the common goal of the clean label. The objective is to provide healthier ingredients and make the label easier to understand. This is to allow all consumers to understand what product they are consuming and what it contains,” he tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
An example of this is Israeli beverages, which have a colored sticker to inform the consumer how clean the product they are buying is. “Industry players are going to great efforts to provide cleaner and healthier products to the consumers, supporting governments to fight many diseases related to malnutrition,” notes Pennestri. Companies like Layn need to be in the front line and provide total value to customers with a clear vision of the present and future needs, he adds.
Meanwhile, sugar reduction remains a hot topic. “In Europe, stevia is the key ingredient for sugar reduction targets, but many new extracts that work in synergy with stevia or with other ingredients have emerged,” Pennestri highlights. Layn is proposing natural platforms that have different functionalities from sugar reduction or replacement, in terms of masking off-taste lingering and bitterness. The company also offers and emulsifiers derived from fruit, he details.
Preservation at the fore
Another key category for Layn is preservatives. “Preservation of shelf life, color and opposing antimicrobial activity are the main challenges that the industry is facing. For example, avoiding the use of artificial preservatives and additives, is vital for the achievement of the clean label.”
Tapping into these trends, Layn has created a state-of-the-art laboratory in Italy dedicated to the above categories. It researches natural extracts that can achieve the required performance. ‘We have identified different herbal and fruit extracts and can already provide high performing platforms for some of the crucial challenges. Much more research needs to be done and we are confident that several extracts can offer solutions to these market demands, Pennestri notes.
Antimicrobial platforms driving innovation
Antimicrobial demands are driving change in the F&B sector, according to Pennestri. “At the top of the list, avoiding rancidity and browning are the main challenges. Certain particular extracts from the Rosaceae and the Punicaceae families have been a great starting point for the construction of antimicrobial platforms,” he adds.
In relation to plant-based trends and natural preservation, which are both primary categories for the company, Layn has made considerable investments by strengthening its R&D teams to concentrate on these aspects. “The strong and historic supply chains we have, and experience in the botanical world makes it so that we have a lot of extracts to test and investigate Layn’s botanical library,” Pennestri continues.
“We are working on all fronts, preserving shelf life color and flavor where we already have platforms ready and out on the market, antimicrobial activity where we have identified extracts with great potential and are fine-tuning the platforms.”
For Layn, avoiding antimicrobial activity while maintaining 100 percent natural platforms is the main challenge in the category, but “it can and will be done, we are at an auspicious stage,” affirms Pennestri. “It is not only a question of functionality, but there are many other key factors, like taste, cost-effectiveness and much more.”
Moreover, Pennestri flags the ingredients pegged for success in the coming months. “I believe citrus fruits, Rosaceae and Punicaceae families are all very appealing and we also find significant interest in herbs and spices,” he muses.
The beverage space is one sector most ripe for innovations, due to sugar taxes being applied around the world and clean label requests, he highlights. “However, we see bakery, confectionery, dairy, oil, sauces and savory moving very fast and working hard to provide the consumers with what they are asking for,” he concludes.
Last month, Layn unveiled a variety of plant-based clean label preservative solutions under the Plantae Preservation range. These formulas have been developed by researching the antioxidant properties of various botanical extracts and the synergies between them. These function to shield food products from the oxidation processes that occur over time in meat, fish, bakery, snacks, sauces and spreads.
By Elizabeth Green
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