Kemin introduces plant-based alternative to EDTA for shelf life extension

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

The new plant-extract solution can extend shelf life of salad dressings and sauces, according to Kemin. ©GettyImages/VeselovaElena
The new plant-extract solution can extend shelf life of salad dressings and sauces, according to Kemin. ©GettyImages/VeselovaElena
Kemin has developed a “consumer-friendly” plant-based shelf life extension solution, NaturFORT RSGT, for ambient products such as salad dressings and sauces, using a blend of rosemary, spearmint, and green tea extracts.

NaturFORT RSGT was designed to serve as a replacement to the chemical food additive, Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), used in some products as a preservative, color enhancer, and stabilizer, Kemin said.

EDTA is an FDA-approved food additive used across many food products including dried and canned beans, sauces, salad dressings, mayonnaise, and other sandwich spreads.  

Big brand names including Kraft use EDTA in some of its salad dressings, while Hellmann’s includes the food additive in small amounts in its ‘Real Mayonnaise’ product – Hellmann’s does, however, offer an EDTA-free version called Hellmann’s Simple.

However, there has been pressure on food manufacturers to drop EDTA from products as consumers become more label savvy and have started avoiding chemical-sounding ingredients.

“Many manufacturers have been seeking consumer-friendly alternatives for shelf life extension since EDTA was removed from products,” ​Chandra Ankolekar, Ph.D., technical service manager, Kemin Food Technologies, said.

“When replacing EDTA, manufacturers had to sacrifice shelf life or make significant adjustments to their supply chain to store and distribute these products in refrigeration.”

The company’s proprietary pant extract blend in NaturFORT RSGT delivers similar functional benefits as EDTA such as its oil and water solubility properties (from the rosemary and green tea extracts), heat stability (green tea extract), as well as its color retention and flavor enhancement benefits.

Delaying lipid oxidation

One of NaturFORT RSGT central functions is its ability to delay lipid oxidation, a chemical reaction described by Kemin as the “enemy” ​of food products including oil-based shelf stable products.

Lipid oxidation occurs as a chain reaction to the presence of oxygen and as a result, deteriorates the quality of food products negatively affecting color, texture, and taste.

However, the presence of antioxidants such as rosemary and green tea extracts can delay oxidation by donating hydrogen atoms to quench free radicals, according to Kemin. These antioxidants also delay oxidation by forming a stable antioxidant radical that’s “unable to participate in propagation reactions,”​ the company said.

“While rosemary targets the oil phase when added to an emulsion, spearmint and green tea remain in the aqueous phase. A part of the actives works at the interphase, which is known to be the hot spot for oxidation, slowing down lipid oxidation and extending shelf life,”​ Ankolekar explained.

“Our testing has shown great shelf-life extension results in salad dressing and sauces using this new blend of rosemary, spearmint, and green tea extracts. It offers improved efficacy over the current plant-based solutions.”

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