Vitiva's new product, Inolens 4, is a natural product derived from rosemary that protects seeds and nuts alone or in food products from oxidation and extends shelf life up to 70 per cent, according to the firm.
Nuts and seeds are increasingly being recognised as a source of protein, carbohydrate and essential vitamins (such as A and E), minerals and fibres. They also are rich in unsaturated oils, including omega fatty acids, which are important for both energy and cardiovascular health.
But these oils are vulnerable to oxidation process in nuts and seeds and can lead to organoleptic deterioration in taste, colour and texture.
Vitiva's sales angle is that the special storage conditions required to slow the oxidation process of nuts and seeds cannot always be met. It claims that adding Inolens 4 to nuts and seeds is ideal in these circumstances.
"Inolens 4 is a 100 per cent natural, allergen-free product for preserving the original taste, odour and colour of seeds and nuts in food products, and enables food producers to apply for a clean label," said Ohad Cohen, CEO of Vitiva.
"It has great advantages for applications such as chocolates, cookies and cakes. Our R&D team completely eliminated the strong odour typical to rosemary extracts and extended the shelf life."
The company goes on to claim that oil-soluble Inolens 4 can provide protection for seeds and nuts from rancidity even at the room temperature. It is applied by spraying the seeds and nuts before use - as a final product or for further processing in bakery, confectionary, oils or other products.
There is also growing interest in plant-derived food additives as replacements to synthetic antioxidants like butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) for slowing the oxidative deterioration of food.
"Rosemary has been traditionally used as an antioxidant and food preservative," said Cohen.
"However, most processors don't use it since it has a strong odour that limits application. This breakthrough ingredient can slow down oxidative spoilage in a variety of applications."
The market for rosemary extracts is already healthy. 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.
Vitiva said that its full range of deodorised rosemary extracts is available in a wide range of concentrations. These pure extracts are soluble in oil or water, and are available in powder and liquid forms.