Netherlands based ingredient firm Exter claims to have discovered an excellent source of vegetable protein, and plans to launch the product in early 2006.
The company, owned by Oterap Holding, says that this new source of Hydrolised Vegetable Protein (HVP) is allergen-free, GM-free, e-number free and 100 per cent vegetable.
"This will be a clean label product," Exter director Lambert ten Haaf told FoodNavigator.
The anticipated launch of the product underlines the faith ten Haaf has in HVPs. The Exter business, which was purchased in the summer from DSM Food Specialties (DFS), also completes Oterap's strategy of offering manufacturers a one-stop shop for both savoury and sweet flavours.
"This aspect did not really fit with the rest of DFS's business," said ten Haaf.
"But the benefit for us was that it gave us access to savoury packaging and blending facilities."
HVPs are formed when proteins are split into smaller pieces, releasing flavour. The advantage of HVP's, says ten Haaf, is that this process gives very specific and intense tastes.
And by varying the processing procedure, chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon or tomato flavours can easily be produced.
The acquisition also presents ten Haaf with the opportunity to improve the reputation of HVPs. There is still some negative publicity associated with the product - a number of years ago it was discovered that under certain conditions, potentially carcinogenic MCPs could be formed during production.
But even though processors have since developed the means of eliminating the presence of such chemicals, ten Haaf believes that the sector has not done enough to put its case forward.
"The industry didn't communicate when there was a problem," he said. He is now determined to communicate to the food industry that HVP's are not only economical and effective but also safe.
"When we saw the opportunity to buy Exter, we knew that if we positioned the products well and communicated the correct facts, then we would have a fantastic product," he said. "With supermarkets putting more and more pressure on manufacturers to cut costs and offer value for money, we know that we have a solution.
"But we need to communicate this back to the marketplace."
The recent acquisition of DFS's Exter business completes Oterap's coverage of the business-to-business flavourings market. The group now covers savoury and sweet flavour blending and packaging for manufacturers through its Oterap and Exter segments, and also offers consumer targeted products through its Crème de la Cream subsidiary.
"This means that we can now offer everything under one roof," he said. "We can now cover everything to do with flavours, from the conception right through to packaging."