The secret ingredient is a magic bullet for the beverage industry

Botanical extract eliminates bacteria that can damage a brand’s reputation

The soft drink industry has long been plagued by bacteria that can ruin fruit juices, flavored water and iced tea when they sit on supermarket shelves.

But an Israeli startup has found the silver bullet that could banish the problem forever.

If you’ve ever opened a carton of apple juice and found it unusually cloudy and smelly, you’ve encountered acidophilic thermophilic bacteria (TAB). And if you’ve actually tried a sip — and then spat it out — you’ll know it tastes like the worst medicine.

A secret plant resin banishes the problem of bacteria in soft drinks. Illustrative image, not the actual plant extract. Credit: Unsplash

It can occur in any non-carbonated, non-alcoholic drink. It is harmless, although unpleasant for the consumer. But it can seriously damage the reputation of the manufacturer, costing them time, money and the risk of a costly recall.

TAB spores are invisible and resistant to pasteurization (they actually like the process because it kills other predatory microbes).

Beverage manufacturers do everything they can to check ingredients for signs of TAB, but there’s no guaranteed way to eliminate it. So far.

Foodtech start-up Resorcix, founded in Jerusalem in 2017, has identified a secret botanical ingredient that prevents dormant spores from turning into bacteria. It disrupts TAB cells in their germination phase.

The pineapple juice on the right turns cloudy with TAB after seven days. The left juice, with Flavorwatch, is intact after almost eight months. Courtesy

The spores usually thrive in hot conditions and an acidic environment, but just one teaspoon of the proprietary ingredient Flavourwatch, added to nearly 30 liters of drink will stop them in their tracks.

The Resorcix team, including microbiologist Dr Lior Sinai, identified the ingredient after screening and isolating plant extracts that are known biologically to be anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, but had never been tested to fight skin deterioration. food.

“We’re talking about a single plant, but it has over 160 compounds, and we’re only improving about five of those molecules,” Yehoshua Maor, a pharmacologist, toxicologist, founder and chief scientific officer of the company, told NoCamels.

“The precious rainforest is known to reveal surprising botanical treasures. Our Flavorwatch solution is based on a vegetable oleoresin (thick concentrate) which naturally has anti-tabulation properties.

He will not be convinced, unsurprisingly, to name the plant in question.

“We extract kilos or even tons of it from the plant. It’s something like maple syrup. Since we only need a small fraction of it, we add an excipient (inactive ingredient) which will increase its volume,” he says.

“We only need 175 milliliters, or about a cup of the final product, which is already diluted in 1,000 liters of ready-to-drink beverage.”

Flavorwatch has no smell, taste or color, and you won’t find any mention of it on any ingredient list.

TAB was first identified in Germany in 1982 after apple juice makers were forced to recall their product due to numerous complaints.

The spores can enter the production process through sugar, pectin, water and fruit concentrate.

Today, beverage producers and bottlers test and isolate batches of beverages from time to time to ensure they are TAB-free, but this is an expensive process and far from completely effective. Despite their best efforts, they will usually experience one or two TAB issues each year.

Resorcix co-founders: Dr Yehoshua Maor (left) and Lior Sinai. Courtesy

Therefore the Flavor Alert the discovery is something of a milestone. Gat Foods, part of the Central Bottling Company, which produces Coca-Cola and Carlsberg lager in Israel, bought a half share of Resorcix and is keen to promote the product.

“We take Flavorwatch from here, to promote it, sell it and find a production facility to produce it,” says Shachar Shaine, CEO of cat food. “We decided to invest in the company. They have developed the solution and we are going further.

“Consumers deserve full transparency and maximum quality throughout a beverage’s shelf life. But while TAB-related recalls can damage a company’s image and destroy consumer trust in the brand, we can help bottlers keep their brand image positive.

Flavorwatch offers manufacturers a magic bullet, of sorts, but there’s a financial cost to consider, and it’s not effective in orange juice and some other beverages.

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