When it comes to clean label mold inhibitors, higher cost is a reality that bakers must come to terms with. Two factors contribute to a higher price tag: higher ingredient prices and higher usage levels.

“The cost of producing natural mold inhibitors is at a premium to chemical products,” said Arnaud Deniaud, director, technical services, Lesaffre. “Like any fermented product, there is a natural variability in the process because it’s made using a living organism.”

To ensure its ingredients’ effectiveness, Lesaffre establishes quality standards, particularly in regard to raw material sourcing.

Not only do the raw materials going into these ingredients drive up costs, but formulators also often have to use more of them to get the effectiveness. This impacts taste as well as the bottom line.

“Cost is really the biggest challenge,” Mr. Skrzypiec said. “We are constantly working on getting better products into our customer’s bakeries while trying to get the cost closer to what is currently being used for conventional mold inhibition.”

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Since switching to clean label doesn’t come without some sacrifices, both financial and functional, it may not be in every brand’s best interest. Trying to decide if the investment is worth it requires bakers to weigh pros and cons and know their target consumer.

“While a majority of today’s consumers want cleaner labels, not all consumers are concerned with eliminating unwanted ingredients from their products,” said Ashley Robertson, market manager, bakery, Corbion.

Even those consumers who do care about natural ingredients still expect their baked goods to taste good and be of high quality.

“It’s important for bakery manufacturers to understand not only the primary desires and drivers of their consumers but also the impact their solution could have on product functionality,” she continued.

While making this decision, it’s important that bakers consider the role of natural mold inhibitors with other variables in formulating. Kerry Ingredients works with bakers to determine and balance these factors, said Ann Husgen, technical business development director, food protection and fermentation, functional ingredients and actives, food and beverage.

“Kerry has addressed this by clearly scoping out the project, the baseline incumbent performance, the application and its associated scientific characteristics, and matched with the appropriate clean label antimicrobial and usage rate,” she said.