Colour specialist branches into burnt sugar flavour

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Flavor Acid

Specialist food colouring company DD Williamson has developed a natural acid-stable burnt sugar flavour, which it says responds to demand for clean-label flavours in beverages and sauces.

The US-based company has long been a global manufacturer of caramel colours, and it is through the use of its existing experience in this area that it has developed its new burnt (or caramelized) sugar flavour. However, the company says that the move is not part of a wider plan to expand into flavours in general.

Vice president of branding and market development at DD Williamson Campbell Barnum told “We have a lot of experience in caramelization and the heat treatment of carbohydrates, and that experience had translated to some products that can be labelled as flavours. All caramel colours have flavour but some have more flavour than they have colour.”

The burnt sugar flavour has “incidental colouring properties”,​ the company said.

Acid, alcohol and salt stability

Apart from its natural designation, which means that it can be listed on product labels simply as ‘natural flavouring’ in Europe and ‘natural flavor’ in the United States, Barnum said that the flavouring is particularly useful for its stability in acids, alcohol, and salt.

It is stable in formulations with phosphoric acid or citrus acid down to a pH of 2.5, and in solutions of up to 60 percent alcohol – which Barnum said could be helpful for the spirits industry, as well as in “some flavours that have alcohol stability requirements”.​ Additionally, it can be used in sauces with up to 15 percent salt, including soy or teriyaki sauces.

DD Williamson is showcasing its new ingredient at Food Ingredients Europe in Frankfurt this month, and although the company’s caramel colour has a global market, Barnum said: “The growth of burnt sugar formulation in Europe has outpaced the growth of caramel colour formulation.”

He added: “In Europe, supermarkets have been demanding ingredients with no E numbers, although in many cases there are additives that can be labelled by their name instead of labelling the E number itself…We had some new technology here that we applied to manufacturing a flavour.”

While the new flavour could prove beneficial to beverage manufacturers – many of which currently use flavour emulsions – Barnum said the company plans to also focus on marketing the ingredient to flavour firms.

“We are not in the business of competing with the flavour companies,” ​he said, “But in the business of supplying the flavour companies.”

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