Israeli firm Rad Natural Technologies has introduced the new formulation as part of its Origanox line of ingredients designed to combat oxidation in food.
Oxidation processes in food can lead to organoleptic deterioration in taste, colour and texture. The food industry has long been aware of this, but is increasingly seeking natural solutions rather than artificial additives to extend the shelf life of milder-tasting products.
The ultimate aim, in effect, is to maintain product freshness together with taste for as long as is possible, without compromising label integrity.
This is the latest in a number of natural antioxidant formulations that are claimed to protect flavour. Rosemary, for example, is being increasingly used in this manner, and the rosemary extract market has grown exponentially as a result.
Researchers, from the State University of Campinas in Brazil and the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark, recently investigated the effectiveness of this ingredient.
"Rosemary showed accordingly a clear antioxidative effect in pressure-processed samples after a subsequent heat treatment and rosemary was found both to inhibit the radical formation and the subsequent lipid peroxidation and oxygen consumption," reported the researchers.
However, Rad claims that rosemary extracts used to provide product integrity in meat and savoury applications have a strong taste, and are not applicable to more delicate applications such as sweet or neutral bakery goods and snacks. In order to overcome this challenge, the company said that it selected varieties of lemon balm (melissa) to create its unique Origanox formulation, which is both mild in taste and effective.
"We designed a healthy solution for protecting food quality and extending shelf life, without affecting product taste," said Rina Reznik, co-principal and CEO of Rad.
"In baking, high temperatures influence the fatty acids and accelerate the oxidation processes. Vitamin E or synthetic antioxidants are less effective than Origanox at extending product freshness and shelf-life."
Reznik said that Rads new formulation shows excellent performance in baked or fried snacks the types of product that are highly susceptible to oxidation threat due to extreme processing conditions and large surface areas.
"We measured and analysed its effectiveness in a wide range of food applications and the results show outstanding performance of the new product," she said.
Four registered patents cover the new Origanox formulation.