“With rocketing interest in fermented foods and the ongoing need for multifunctional, natural solutions throughout the food industry, this is an exciting milestone for us,” commented David Charest, vice president of sustainable food solutions at Corbion.
The newly patented process involves the fermentation of liquid fruit preparations with ‘carefully selected’ food-grade cultures. The company’s fruit ferments are typically citrus or sweet fruits such as melons, pears and apples, as well as vegetable-like fruits including bell peppers, pumpkin and tomato.
The application of these fruit fermentations in baked goods, meats, sauces and dressings enables manufacturers to adjust flavour profiles and textures naturally and sustainably with fruit-based ingredients, at the same time as ‘robustly protecting their products against quality defects’.
Corbion’s advanced manufacturing technology, and the use of the resulting fruit fermentation ingredients, is now patented in Europe as well the USA and Japan, where patents have already been granted.
Reformulation and shelf-life
The resulting metabolites can boost or soften various flavour components, in addition to controlling microbial growth, the company explained.
In sauces, dressings and condiments, for instance, where reformulation to reduce sugar and / or salt levels can impact not only taste and texture but also shelf life, it is possible to maintain the expected eating experience by using just one or two fruit-derived, naturally fermented ingredients, Corbion suggested.
Charest said that these ingredients meet a number of the trends that have come to define food industry innovation.
“Fermentation has been one of our core competencies for nearly a century, and we’re now using nature’s inherent defence mechanisms in new ways to maintain and improve quality in the foods we all enjoy every day. Current market trends like healthier eating, familiar ‘kitchen cupboard’ ingredients and zero waste mean the time is right to be offering new and creative preservation and flavour solutions.”
Aligning with Advance 2025 strategy and the SDGs
Charest said that the IP-protected technology underpinning the development reflects the group’s current strategy, Advance 2025.
“As well as providing high quality ingredients that align with the expectations of today’s consumers, this technology is an excellent representation of Corbion’s current strategy, Advance 2025, which seeks to ‘champion preservation in all its forms’,” he noted.
Advance 2025 was launched earlier this year. It aims to align the company with global market trends by building on its ‘fundamentals and strengths’ and ‘bringing further focus to the business portfolio’.
This will be achieved by increased investments in ‘key growth areas’ like natural food preservation and lactic acid, while at the same time reducing the breadth of its business portfolio.
Importantly, Charest said, the innovation is also aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This, he explained, is reflected in the company’s sourcing strategy as well – which also aims to reduce food waste in the supply chain.
“Aligned with the United Nations’ SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing) and SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), we’re not only helping preserve our customers’ products, but reduce waste from fruit growers too. With Corbion using fruits that aren’t visually perfect enough to be sold fresh at retail, we’re helping ensure a greater proportion of their output becomes a value-added component of the food supply chain.”