High-pressure flavor encapsulation tipped for tea and baked goods

Flavours Inc is exploring uses for its new Spun Matrix microencapsulation technology in teas and baked goods, and expects to launch a next generation liquid version later this year.

The Corona, California-based company launched its Spun Matrix technology at the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas in the fall. Sales and marketing director Tara Foster told FoodNavigator-USA.com as most of the research to date has been on high-loading high-intensity flavors in formulations where there is not much space. But the next phase of research is focusing on more general food and beverage applications, and developing a liquid version to complement the powder form. Foster explained that it has applications in tea products, where granulated flavors are mixed in with the tea. It enables control of the flavor particle size, so that they are evenly spaced within the bag. In baked goods, the company expects Spun Matrix to help with heat stability. It is working with a manufacturer on this application, but details of the project are confidential at the moment. "Spun Matrix is also a great tool to mask off flavors and can be used to incorporate particularly harsh ingredients with the chosen flavor system," said Foster. She was not able to disclose the material that Flavours Inc uses to encapsulate the flavors since the technology is proprietary, but did say that it is high-pressure process that allows for 30 per cent loading and is non thermal, which preserves the delicate but volatile top notes. With an alternative flavor technology, plate loading, a liquid flavor component is dropped onto a powder carrier, such as dextrose and blended. The maximum flavor load before the carrier becomes wet is 5 per cent. Spray drying - also considered a mode of encapsulation - requires the temperature to be heated to very high temperatures for 15 to 20 minutes. This process causes the top notes to be burnt off and lost. "When a consumer opens a bottle they want a nice flavor, not off notes," said Foster. She said that with Spun Matrix, a manufacturer has "the best of both worlds - stability and top notes". For now, Spun Matrix is available in powder form only, but a liquid microencapsulation technology is nearing the end of the company's pipeline. This will extend its use into more beverages, since for now it is suitable just for powder drink mixes. The liquid version is expected to launch in the next six months. Flavours Inc has been operating for about ten years, but in the past has been focused mainly on its asceptic beverage activities, in which it acts as a contract manufacturer. It also makes nutraceutical soft chews using a cold process that protects the active ingredients. The development of the encapsulation technology, on which the company worked for two years, is something of a new departure. The company chose to launch the technology at SupplySide West as nutraceutical products often have a need for high-load flavors because there is not much space in the formulation - and vitamins and nutraceutical ingredients often come with strong flavors that need masking. Spun Matrix has been used by Las Vegas private label contract manufacturer ANC in a sports tonic product. Flavours Inc does not currently have customers in Europe, but expects to launch in that market in the future.

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