There is one attribute to food and beverages on which consumers never want to compromise. No matter the latest trends, popular diets, or your personal habits, flavor is always of the utmost importance. This is where flavor extracts and emulsions come in – their ability to create custom flavors helps provide the savory tastes you crave, whether you’re seeking bubblegum, caramel, vanilla, or almond. Extracts and emulsions are a valuable component of your food, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two, when they should be used, and why.

The Importance of Flavor Extracts & Emulsions

Taste is one of the primary deciding factors for the product you choose. The flavor of a given brand’s product is what distinguishes it from its competition. Producers know this, which is why when marketing a healthy snack, for example, brands always mention that it still tastes as good or better than its competitors. Consumers want to eat healthy, but they also want to enjoy the taste of what they’re eating and drinking. If they’re going to be talked into trading one food for another, they need to be assured they’re not missing out on taste. The proper flavoring extracts and emulsions can help with this.

Flavor Extracts vs. Flavor Emulsions

We know flavor extracts and emulsions are the two main types of flavoring ingredients, but what makes the two different? Why might you use one instead of the other? Emulsions and extracts are not the same thing, so knowing when and how to use them is key.

The main difference lies in where the flavor compounds are suspended. A flavor extract uses a 35% (approximate) alcohol solution to suspend the flavor compounds. A flavor emulsion suspends the flavor compounds in water and vegetable gum.

One of the most common flavor extracts in a household is vanilla extract. Suspending the vanilla flavor compounds in alcohol is a smart choice for the end user because it is rare anyone would use that much vanilla extract at once. Because alcohol is a tremendous flavor solvent and preservative, many households benefit from the long-lasting and flavorful vanilla extract. A downside to extracts is the volatility of alcohol. Because it’s volatile, it evaporates fast, but as the alcohol evaporates, it takes some of the flavor and smells with it.

By comparison, flavor emulsions use the gooey mix of water and vegetable gum, which don’t evaporate nearly as quickly as alcohol and thus better retain essential oils during baking. Some people prefer emulsions and the more robust flavor, whereas others believe it can be overwhelming.

Whether an extract or an emulsion is the right choice for you depends on the type of flavor you’re looking for and the size of what you’re producing. Contact us to discuss the flavor options we always have in stock or to develop a custom flavor specifically for your needs.

Bremer Authentic Ingredients is aware of the issues regarding General Mills flours as described in the news article below. Bremer does not purchase any of the affected flours from General Mills.

MINNEAPOLIS – General Mills, Inc. has announced it is recalling about 10 million lbs of flour after an E. coli outbreak associated with flour sickened 38 people in 20 states between Dec. 21, 2015, and May 3, 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately half of the individuals who said they became sick reported making homemade food with flour before becoming ill, including several who said they used a General Mills brand of flour.

In a May 31 statement, General Mills said the outbreak potentially may be linked to Gold Medal flour, Wondra flour, and Signature Kitchens flour (sold in Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel, Shaws, Vons, United, Randalls and Acme).

The company also said some of the ill people may have consumed raw dough or batter.

But General Mills also pointed out that it has not found any presence of E. coli O121 in any of its flour products or in the flour manufacturing facility, and the company has not been contacted directly by any consumer reporting confirmed illnesses related to the company’s products. Even so, the company said it felt it was best to initiate the recall out of an abundance of caution.

Click here for the official release from General Mills.

Searching for Oats in the United States

What is going on with flour and oats in the United States? You already see the dramatic price fluctuations. But why? And how can we fix this?

Simply put: oats were hard to get out of Western Canada this spring. Rail cars, are essential to the oats industry, but there was a shortage in cars that resulted in a bottleneck on Canada’s rails, which brought on a shortage of oats to the United States.

Canadian mills became aware of the issue and tried to get as much as they could down to millers in the United States, as those millers were holding dangerously low levels of oats, with some even fearing closures.

Finding a Way
For a company like Bremer Authentic Ingredients, issues like this are of high importance. We need to stay up on all freight issues and prepare as best we can for any future shortage that could make it more difficult for us—and thus our customers—to get the right ingredients in a timely fashion.

Artisan Bakery Bread

As the ice melted on the Mississippi River, Scandinavian suppliers became an option for millers in the United States. This, of course, gave Canadian suppliers extra incentive to try to resolve the issues with the rail system, as every time a miller in the United States buys from someone else, the Canadian suppliers lose money (and it can be a substantial amount).

Everyone involved is doing what they can to get back to business as usual. For our part, it means working directly with our suppliers to know exactly what they have, when they have it and when they can get it, so we can keep our stock at a healthy level for our customers.

Commercial bakeries are facing vastly different issues this year than even three years ago, due in part to what consumers are now demanding in their diets. Obviously, bakeries will do what they can and must to appease their customers, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here are a few of the issues facing commercial bakeries this year, and how Bremer Ingredients is helping to alleviate them.

Food Safety Concerns
As consumers look more closely at what they’re eating, they’re not surprisingly putting a premium on safe food. That is, people want to eat high-quality food comprised of high-quality ingredients without fearing any adverse affects or food-borne illness.

Bremer has always been about premium ingredients, and is certified by the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF), the only program outside Europe recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

To best address consumers’ concerns with food safety, bakeries should be purchasing their ingredients from SQF-certified companies. This gives the bakeries and their customers the peace of mind they need.
SQF Certified
Natural Products
Although there’s confusion about what exactly is a natural product, the general feeling of consumers is, “Natural is better.”

The confusion can come from products marketed as organic, which is completely different from natural. Organic products must meet or exceed USDA regulations, whereas products marketed as “natural” are not regulated at all, except with poultry and other meats. Natural meat and poultry must be minimally processed and contain no artificial colors or flavors, as well as no preservatives or sweeteners.

In non-meat products claiming to be natural, it’s harder to tell because of the lack of regulation. The best way to combat this issue is to know what “natural” really means and be able to explain ingredients to customers.

Increasing Commodity Costs
Commodity costs vary from year to year. Just when it looks like they’re going to stay down for a while, they come back up. More recently, it looked like costs would remain high, and now they’ve dropped a bit. As an industry-wide issue, it’s hard to get around something like this. Your bakery must continue to operate, right?

Gluten-Free Foods
You see “GF” on just about any menu these days. Consumers, even some who are not sensitive to gluten, are moving toward gluten-free diets. There’s not a lot of science available yet to explain the effects of a gluten-free diet on someone who doesn’t necessarily require it, but the fact is the demand for gluten-free products is increasing.

At Bremer, we responded by adding gluten-free flours late last year, which continue to be a top-selling item. This is part of our ongoing effort to meet the demands of the market with the highest quality, premium ingredients.

Artisan Bakery Bread

Unforeseen Issues
Do you own or operate a commercial bakery? What have you seen in these areas over the last few months? Are there other prominent issues you’re facing on a daily basis?