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What are Flavoring Extracts and Emulsions?

Flavor of the Month, Year and Decade

There is one attribute to food and beverages on which consumers never want to compromise. No matter the trends, diets or habits of anyone, flavor is always of the utmost importance.

Producers, obviously, know this, which is why marketing for a healthy snack always mentions the fact 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.

At Bremer, we understand the importance of flavor. With our inventory of stock flavor extracts and emulsions, with the ability to create custom flavors, we work to understand everything you need to give your customers the savory tastes they crave.

Flavor Extracts vs. Flavor Emulsions

There are two main types of flavoring ingredients: flavor extracts and flavor emulsions. What’s the difference? And why might you use one instead of the other?

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 to a regular 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.

Depending on the type of flavor and size of production, an extract or an emulsion may be the right choice for you. Contact us to discuss options we always have in stock or to develop a custom flavor specifically for your products.

Holiday Food Ingredient Trends

You Can Taste (and Smell) the Holidays

Nothing tells you it’s the holiday season better than your own sense of smell. Even in the middle of July, if you get a whiff of peppermint, you—even if only for a moment—think it’s November or December.

And now, as we’re at the height of holiday season, those familiar scents will be permeating the air anywhere you can find an oven.

We’ve compiled a few ingredients, based on consumer trends, to give you an idea of what consumers are looking for. What types of recipes are you manufacturing and baking to cater to your customers at this time of year?

Classic Holiday Ingredients

Ginger will forever be associated with the holidays, taking the lead in gingerbread cookies, ginger crisps and any number of creative twists on the old standbys.

Peppermint plays the starring role in bars, cookies and other desserts to adorn the holiday season (after all, this was the chosen flavor for candy canes).

Two more classic holiday ingredients, vanilla and nutmeg, find their ways into dishes throughout the year, but are especially noticeable during the holidays. While essential on their own, become more powerful when combined, along with rum, to create the classic holiday drink, egg nog. As Clark W. Griswold would say, “It’s good.”

Lesser-Known Holiday Ingredients

Many ingredients are extremely popular in certain parts of the world or in certain families, but are unknown or even disliked in others. Still, we looked at what consumers want this year, and found an increasing demand for versatile (and polarizing) allspice, cardamom, saffron and star anise.

What are you seeing from your customers? Is there a particular spice to which they tend to gravitate?

New FDA Gluten Free Label Guidelines

Gluten-Free Labels Now Have Meaning

With the FDA finalizing what exactly constitutes the meaning of “gluten-free,” consumers (especially those with celiac disease) will now be able to reliably select gluten-free foods without having to wonder what they’re actually getting.

What does that mean for you? If you have been or will be marketing gluten-free foods, you’ll need to follow these new FDA guidelines.

The term “gluten-free” now refers to foods that are either inherently gluten-free or foods that do not contain any ingredient that is:

  • A gluten-containing grain (e.g. spelt wheat)
  • Derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat flour)
  • Derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food

Help for Celiac Disease

Because celiac disease has no cure, and the only treatment is dietary, this label standardization is long overdue in the minds of many. Because sufferers of celiac disease risk extreme medical problems if they were to ingest gluten, standardized labels are going to be a huge help.

Most people with celiac disease (there are approximately 3 million in the United States) can tolerate small amounts of gluten, and the 20 ppm level is the lowest that can be consistently detected, which is why the FDA instituted this threshold.

Gluten-Free Timeline

The regulation went into effect on August 5, 2013. Manufacturers will have one year to comply, meaning all foods will be subject to regulatory action if they are not in compliance by August 5, 2014.

Anyone looking for a workaround would be better advised to put that energy into complying. For the purposes of this regulation, “gluten-free,” “free of gluten,” “without gluten” and “no gluten” will be treated the same. A label making a gluten-free claim of any sort must be in compliance.

If you are looking to make the shift to gluten-free product offerings, please let us know how we can help with your ingredient needs. Click Here to Connect With Us Today.

Sugar Substitutes, Industry Trends

Within the industry, it’s especially important to keep up with consumer trends so we can give them what they want.

The demand for sugar substitutes continues to grow around the world. North America corners most of the market and will have 49% of the global market by 2018 (sugar substitute market), and this means good things for both consumers and the food-processing industry.

Consumers are increasingly aware of what they’re eating, and are paying closer attention than ever to sugar substitutes. Being able to enjoy foods and beverages while knowing their sugar intake is being regulated is a nice idea for consumers. People are concerned about their health, and food manufacturers are responding.

The food-processing industry is doing well for a number of reasons, not the least of which is consumer awareness in more areas than just sugar substitutes. People want to know from where their food is coming today, and with all the advancements in sugar substitutes, it leads to a booming market.

Bulk Sugar Cubes

Advancements in Sugar Substitutes

There are a number of different sugar substitutes available. Because each type is different to some degree, there is no one generic sugar substitute that properly applies to every product.

Different products require different sugar substitutes for maximum effectiveness in each application.

In North America, these advancements are going forth at a quick pace. Around the world, the sugar-substitute market is still developing as populations grow and demand alternatives to sugar.

Consumers Drive the Market

This is no shock. The market has to respond to consumer demand or the market vanishes. As consumers continue to look closer at the ingredients in their foods and beverages, sugar substitutes will continue to be prevalent, evolving with the market and adapting to each application.

Do you see your customers taking more care in knowing what they’re eating and drinking? How does the sugar-substitute market affect you? Let us know how we can help!