Lyckeby Culinar AB has won an award for its small extruded crisp pearls that it has said can combine natural flavours and colours without affecting taste and slash costs in half when compared to using freeze dried fruit.
The Swedish company’s Culinar Include range scooped the Food Ingredients Excellence award for Snacks Innovation of the Year at Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) earlier this month.
The range has applications in cereals, chocolate bars and ice cream.
Forms of Culinar Include have been commercially available for the past year, but the products only begun to be marketed as a separate range since the summer.
Gun Klevås, product and sales manager for Culinar, told BakeryAndSnacks.com that manufacturers could either be supplied the pre extrusion flavoured cereals in balls, rings or flake or if the manufacturer has an extruder, they could use the company’s flavouring system to produce their own.
The firm’s Culinax flavouring system internally flavours extruded products, which Culinar claimed was an improvement on conventional methods.
“It is a tough task to protect colours with natural flavours,” said Klevås, adding that high temperatures often affected the final product.
She said the traditional method for cereals had been to use a sprayed sugar coating on the outside which, as it is done externally, can leave a cereal note.
“With this system [Culinax] you add the flavour and the colour in the dough before the extrusion. You will have the full flavour release and can offset the cereal note,” she said.
Klevås added that while there were others on the market using the Culinax system, they did not offer the finished pearls.
She said that the numbers of customers using the completed product and those simply using the process was about even.
Costs, processing and challenges
According to Klevås, using Include would be around 50% cheaper than using freeze dried fruits, a method commonly used to obtain fruit flavours.
However, cost compared to alternative sugar coated fruit pieces would be around the same, she said.
“But you will have a healthier product with lower sugar content,” she said, adding that volumes could also be doubled.
She said that it had been difficult to obtain the desired shades for some colours, such as pink and red, but using citric acid in the dough could enhance the fruit and berry flavours.
"For breakfast cereals you are only able using natural plant extract as carrot, spinach, black carrot etc. This means that we are able supplying violet, green yellow, orange and brown but for other applications nice red colours, " Klevås continued.
"For natural flavours it is close to all sweet flavours you can think about. Some more pronounced than others."
Culinar Include is currently used by manufacturers in Europe, Asia and Australia. Klavas said she also expected to see the range in the US soon once it has been approved as kosher.