P.L. Thomas & Co. Inc. (Morristown, N.J.) announced it has launched a line of ingredients that offer a fruit and vegetable “food replacement” experience in consumer food and beverage products. Called Vivid Harvest™ Whole Food Powders, the line features a patented new technology that gently evaporates water molecules in foods without disturbing the active enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals or other phytonutrients—preserving the flavor, aroma, color and nutritional quality of the original materials in a manner that enhances the consumer experience.
At the same time, Vivid Harvest Whole Food Powders offer food and beverage manufacturers a number of processing advantages over raw foods and other fruit and vegetable inclusion processes, including a longer shelf-life, better flowability with less dusting, enhanced solubility and dispersibility, a better particle shape with greater density, and a lack of solvents or other adulterating processing aids.
In this initial launch, PL Thomas will offer 25 different fruit-based products and 16 vegetable-based products drawn from what the industry is asking for and the hottest trends in the consumer food and beverage market. Depending upon the consumer product application, starting materials for the Vivid Harvest process can be whole fruits and vegetables or all-natural juices and purees. From this initial lineup of market offerings, PL Thomas expects to expand into new fruits and vegetables, with the potential to create whole food powders out of nontraditional ingredients—like salmon.
According to Sid Hulse, new product development manager for PL Thomas, the impetus behind the launch of Vivid Harvest Whole Food Powders is the desire to go beyond the label claim of wholesome, clean-label nutrition and deliver consumers a “vivid” sensory experience of fruits and vegetables in their manufactured foods and beverages. “Consumers have continuously said they want healthy, wholesome, clean label foods. Nutritionists and dietitians tell us that the best place to get that nutrition is in whole foods. Vivid Harvest Whole Food Powders do all of these things and more, by delivering the real sensory experience and all the nutrition of fruits and vegetables into foods and beverages. This is the next level of wholesome, clean label ingredients. The one that makes healthy eating fun again,” he said. “The great thing about the technology behind Vivid Harvest is that it delivers these nutrition and sensory benefits in an ingredient form that is easier to incorporate and process than liquid products, drum dried, spray dried or freeze dried products. At PL Thomas, we plan to work with food and beverage companies in their product development efforts, providing them with concepts and support for their commercialization process,” he added.
Vivid Harvest Whole Food Powders will be custom manufactured for PL Thomas by Columbia Phytotechnology (CPT) (The Dalles, Ore.). Starting materials for Vivid Harvest products include locally grown, non-GMO fruits and vegetables, juices, pulps and purees. They are typically certified organic with no carriers. CPT has developed a gentle, evaporative process using light for creating whole food powders that preserves the nutritional and sensory integrity of the original materials.
The process—which is 73 percent to 88 percent energy efficient—does not use solvents or processing aids or put raw materials under vacuum or temperature extremes—which can negatively affect purity and sensory characteristics. It creates a solid granule with a uniform shape and non-porous structure that is moisture resistant and has a low surface tension. The low moisture content (less than 3 percent) and the solidity of the granules give Vivid Harvest products a remarkably long shelf-life. The low surface tension delivers excellent flowability, solubility and dispersibility. The bulk density of Vivid Harvest Whole Food Powders offers a more intense, concentrated presence with less product required in consumer food products.
Custom variants of Vivid Harvest Whole Food Powders can be developed from multiple fruits and vegetables, blended during a liquid phase before the evaporation process to ensure uniformity of the finished granules more effectively than a mixed powder process can achieve. The combination of these factors can improve formulation creativity and the finished quality of manufactured consumer products.