Suspicion over chemical-derived synthetic preservatives has pushed food makers to source natural preservatives such as rosemary extract instead, and market analysts Global Information pitch the global food preservative market at €422.7bn, reaching €522bn by 2008.
It is evident that the France-based ingredients manufacturer has been well-placed to capitalise on this trend. The firm's Moroccan facility is located close to native rosemary fields and has the capability of extracting over 20 tonnes per day.
In addition, the company has developed a diversified range of rosemary ingredients. Within its NAT'Stabil line for example, the StabilEnhance and Oxy'Less products are both soluble in oil and water.
Rosemary has also been in the news recently for its ability to inhibit lipid oxidation in meat. Adding a touch of rosemary to minced meat before high-pressure processing could stop the flavour loss associated with this anti-microbial treatment, according to Brazilian and Danish researchers.
"Addition of 0.1 per cent dried rosemary to minced chicken thighs or breasts prior to high-pressure processing inhibit lipid oxidation during subsequent cooking and could form the basis for product development," wrote lead author Neura Bragagnolo in the journal Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies (doi: 10.1016/j.ifset.2006.04.005).
One problem however is that the ingredient is still considered to be a flavour and not an antioxidant, even though it is often used as such. Many producers believe that this should be changed to reflect current market practices.
Indeed, most European rosemary extract manufacturers believe that if the EU approves the labelling of the extracts as antioxidants, the market has scope for even greater growth.
Some authorities such as the French have recognised this fact, though European legislation has been slow to catch up.