In food systems, natural-source antioxidants slow the rate of free radical formation and deactivate metals that initiate undesirable oxidation, according to Jill McKeague, senior scientist at Kalsec, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI. Combinations of such natural ingredients act synergistically to maximize shelf life. Ms. McKeague offered her insight to Formulations Update readers.

Baking & Snack: What is the mechanism by which antioxidants restrict oxidation? What does this mean to the shelf life of ingredients and finished baked goods and snacks?

Our strategy focuses on multifunctional formulations in which each element delivers a different type of antioxidant functionality: Radical scavengers slow down the rate of free radicals and therefore limit and slow down the oxidative damage, chelators sequester and deactivate metals that initiate oxidation, oxygen scavengers react with and remove oxygen from the food system, and secondary antioxidants reduce and regenerate primary antioxidants. By using a combination of natural antioxidants, Kalsec can create a product that has a synergistic effect in restricting oxidation. This allows us to maximize the shelf life of both the individual ingredients and finished baked goods and snacks.

What should a formulator know about these materials and their usage levels? Are there limits to their use? How must they be labeled in the ingredient listing on packages?

All of our products are considered GRAS and are not typically restricted in their usage levels. In Europe, certain rosemary extracts meeting defined processing and purity criteria have been assigned an E number and may be labeled as an antioxidant. The labeling varies depending on the country and type of rosemary extract, but can also include natural flavor, rosemary extract, and rosemary extract flavoring.

What antioxidant ingredients does Kalsec offer for bakery and snack applications?

Kalsec offers both Herbalox and Duralox products for the baking and snack industry. We have developed specialized Duralox systems for oil stabilization. This allows increased oil stability while reducing both saturated fats and Trans fats, leading to increased shelf life in bakery and snack products. We also have ingredients that can be directly added to dough. We have seen improved shelf life in a variety of food matrices including pretzels, shortbread and crackers. Kalsec also offers Herbalox XT products, which have been specifically designed to combat oxidation in flavor sensitive applications.