Clean-label, botanical extract is a game-changer for beverage bottlers fighting thermophillic acidophilic bacteria (TAB)
Gat Foods and Israeli startup Resorcix have introduce FLAVORWATCHTM, a natural, botanical ingredient with the ability to prevent thermophillic acidophilic bacteria (TAB) spoilage in clear, fruit-based beverages.
Gat Foods partnered with Resorcix, to develop FLAVORWATCH, a patent-pending, nature-derived solution to the problem of TAB spoilage. The bacteria strain, which negatively impacts the quality and organoleptic properties of most categories of still, non-alcoholic beverages, had confounded beverage bottlers for decades.
FLAVORWATCH maintains the beverages’ organoleptic characteristics, fully retaining the original flavour throughout the shelf life, and delivering a durable sensory experience in clear, high-acid still beverages.
The story of TAB
TAB refers to a group of nonpathogenic microbes belonging to the alicyclobacillus family and is found in still RTD non-alcoholic drinks. The existence of TAB was first documented in 1982 in Germany after a spoilage outbreak in a commercial pasteurised apple juice brand prompted a major recall. Following a comprehensive lab inquiry, a new family of bacteria that is able to withstand pasteurization, and can multiply rapidly in acidic environments, was discovered
TAB originates from certain ingredients frequently used in beverage preparation, such as sugar, pectin, water, and fruit concentrate. GMP measures can reduce TAB but cannot eliminate it entirely. This necessitates periodic batch testing and isolation which is costly and time-consuming, and still not 100% bullet proof.
Pasteurisation — one of the common methods used for microbial treatment — does not eliminate heat-resistant TAB spores. In fact, since pasteurisation kills most vegetative bacteria and fungi, it eliminates microbial competition and stimulates the outgrowth of TAB.
Keeping TABs on spoilage
Indications of TAB spoilage in beverages include a hazy appearance and, upon opening the bottle, discharge of a smoky, clove-like smell. It also imparts a medicinal off taste. The bacteria multiply shortly following the bottling process, especially in warm weather. Although nonpathogenic, the unpleasant results of TAB contamination often lead to a large volume of customer complaints and can trigger a costly recall and shattered reputation.
FLAVORWATCH contains natural compounds with a proven bacteriolytic effect, disintegrating TAB cells in the germination phase. This prevents the bacteria from producing off-flavoured and unpleasant smelling metabolites.
“The precious rainforest is known to reveal surprising botanical treasures,” shared Yehoshua Maor, PhD, pharmacologist, toxicologist, founder and CSO of Resorcix. “Our FLAVORWATCH solution is based on a botanical oleoresin that naturally possesses anti-TAB spoilage properties.”
Maintaining brand reputation
“Building a CPG brand leaves zero room for failures in quality control,” said Shachar Shaine, CEO of Gat Foods. “Consumers deserve full transparency and maximum quality throughout the entire shelf life of a beverage. But while TAB-related recalls can damage a company’s image and destroy consumer trust in the brand, we can help bottlers keep their positive brand image.”
“Bacteriologists know that spores are almost impossible to eradicate,” said Lior Sinai, PhD, CTO of Resorcix. “That’s why we were extremely excited to discover natural molecules of plant origin that can eliminate these multi-resistant bacterial spores.”
FLAVORWATCH is classified as a natural flavouring by FDA, EFSA, JETRO (Japan), and Israeli Ministry of Health regulations, and appears as such on label. Its mild herbal flavour cannot be sensed in the beverage, as only a minimal amount is necessary to maintain the product’s clear appearance and sensory attributes. It works throughout the shelf life as a clean-label ingredient.
In both pilot and industrial-scale tests supervised by microbiologist Roni Shapira, PhD, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a FLAVORWATCH-treated, pineapple-based, RTD beverage showed zero colonies of alicyclobacillus over a span of six months. The same beverage continued to maintain its TAB-free status for a further eight months in an independent analysis.
FLAVORWATCH is suitable for a variety of still, clear, RTD beverages, such as fruit beverages, fruity water and iced tea. It is easy to implement and cost effective, able to be incorporated into beverage bases or syrups in the preparation phase or added directly to the beverage tank before pasteurisation. It can reduce the need for added flavourings, as it allows for pasteurisation at lower temperatures, making it an energy-efficient solution. This, in turn, substantially reduces the number of lab tests required, shortening time-to-market, and minimising the risk of recalls.
“FLAVORWATCH is an innovative clean label, natural flavouring that protects the beverage’s distinct flavour qualities providing a full guarantee and peace of mind for manufacturers. It provides consumers consistent quality, with no compromise on flavour,” noted Hila Bentman, international marketing manager for Gat Foods. “It allows beverage companies to ensure consumers the distinctive and continuous sensory experience during the entire shelf life of their soft drinks.”