Today's consumers today expect a lot more from food. Taste and flavour must be complemented with natural and true-to-source ingredients. Delivering foods that are fresher and more natural is not enough; they must also last longer to prevent waste. This delicate balancing act represents a challenge to the industry as well as a great opportunity to those who can reformulate to address these needs, and Kancor has risen to it.
The experience of taste is a wider phenomenon today than it has ever been. Consumers seek recipes that transcend the boundaries of state and country. The rise of 'foodies' who love experimenting with new taste sensations has led to a broadening of consumers' horizons. Recreational travel, new cuisines and cooking shows have each played their part in transforming cooking from a task to a passionate and personal from of self-expression.
While the demand for natural ingredients has risen, there is a need for simpler, faster and unique-tasting food where the preparation time has been reduced with no sacrifice to taste. Indian cuisine, for example, can be quite complicated and labour-intensive; Kancor makes it simpler with its Roasted Spice oleoresins. These create perfect, roasted notes to mimic the creations of Indian households for a scintillating taste experience. They are used in baking, confectionery, dairy, processed foods, beverages and so on to provide an authentic taste.
"Roasting spices is not only an ethnic Indian culinary tradition; several other countries across the globe roast garlic, onions, cumin and chilli to enhance the flavour of dishes," says Kancor's CEO, Geemon Korah.
"Kancor's Roasted Spice range has been perfected over the years to deliver clean, high-impact and natural flavour profiles that will enable you to create that unique, home-cooked feeling in your products."
Everyone loves good, fresh food, but as time passes, the quality of consumables inevitably starts deteriorating. This affects not only taste, aroma and texture, but also causes serious health risks and waste.
One of the major reasons behind the deterioration of food is the auto-oxidation of lipids, which results in 'off' odours and flavours, alongside diminished visual appeal and nutritional value.
Antioxidants prolong the shelf life of food by delaying the oxidation process and preventing the degradation and rancidity of unsaturated fats and oils in the food. Recent studies have questioned the safety of using synthetic antioxidants, pointing to the fact that these can be detrimental to human health.
This has led to a rapid change in preferences, with consumers increasingly choosing natural products over synthetic ones. Food developers are also turning away from synthetic antioxidants, as they often fail to perform in high-fat and high-heat conditions.
Increasing consumer awareness of the detrimental effects of synthetic antioxidants has fuelled the demand for natural means by which to extend shelf life. Keeping pace with evolving customer needs and Kancor's constant pursuit of perfection led to the OxiKan antioxidant brand being born.
Rosemary extract has historically been the most dominant natural antioxidant in North America and Europe due to its familiarity and acceptance as a common culinary ingredient. However, it has not been able to successfully replace synthetics due to its lower potency and impact on colour, flavour and aroma of products.
Kancor's new and improved OxiKan R Plus is a major breakthrough in natural antioxidants. Regulatory-compliant and sustainable, it is devoid of unwanted colour and odour, and is highly effective.
"Kancor has developed variants of Oxikan that are highly refined and enriched rosemary extracts," says Sasheendran Vijayan, vice-president of technical Innovation. "Its proprietary technology has helped it to develop a unique range of natural antioxidants under the OxiKan brand, which performs outstandingly in high-fat and high-heat conditions. The selective antioxidant molecules from rosemary have very high antioxidant activity, and high thermal stability and oil solubility, and consistently outperform synthetic antioxidants as well as other natural ingredients."
The appearance of a food or beverage is often a prelude to how it tastes, or the nourishment it is likely to provide. Something that looks unattractive might never get tasted, which makes colour a critical component of product perception. In fact, a new era of colour reformulation is beginning. The art and precision of colour enhancement and perception is complex and sophisticated, and technical expertise is often required.
Geemon explains how turmeric, when used in a high pH environment can produce a reddish hue and is unstable, but at the right pH, can give food a beautiful yellow hue. "Turmeric can withstand high temperature processing, but it is sensitive to light," he says. "The solution is different with each changing parameter - heat, pH, temperature and final product storage conditions. For this reason, it is important to have a clear and comprehensive understanding of ingredients interactions, processing challenges, product microstructure, texture, viscosity and stability to select the optimal colour or colour system. Kancor's colour team works closely with consumers to ensure that their needs are met."
Kancor colours the world's leading food and beverage brands, keeping them appetising, vibrant and natural. The company's expertise in extraction, isolation, purification and blending processes, creates a wide range of shades and hues that are consistent and stable in virtually any food and beverage matrix.
Bijo Varghese, Kancor's head of supply chain, says, "Kancor's global sourcing programmes, which stretch across the world, help it pick just the right crop to get a perfect hue. For some of the key raw materials, the company has a network of approved farms that are guided by its agriculture experts." He goes on to add that Kancor's long-term relationship with spice growers ensures consistency in the quality and reliability of supply.
Kancor's colour stabilisation process requires carefully controlled processing technology on one hand and the addition of an in-house functional ingredient - OxiKan - on the other. The company uses advanced, controlled-size technology that creates formulations without adding extra ingredients, thereby minimising the instability caused by those extra elements interacting with each other and with the food matrix, thereby making each product as label-friendly as possible.