Cost and Risk Reduction through the use of extracts instead of raw herbs/spices

Until 2021, arguably the most cost effective means of achieving, for example, a black pepper taste into a food product was to add ground black pepper into the mixture. Dehydrated and heat treated, the majority microbial risk would be mitigated, and the processing cost minimised – coupled with low cost international freight rates – most producers would opt for this form of taste inclusion.

This traditional means of achieving low cost taste is now being badly affected:

Covid       The global pandemic has meant that many farmers have been unable to secure the labour to either plant enough crops or indeed to harvest the crops effectively. This has led to lower volumes of many raw materials being grown than usual, and more worryingly the crops lying on fields for longer than necessary which has impacted on the quality of the product and the microbiological security.

                  Poor micro in the harvested crops means an increased risk in Mycotoxins, with further risks inherent as desperate farmers try to treat the remaining material in hand (this in part has led to an increased prevalence of Ethylene Oxide incidences in border checks).

                  The end result is that the products are less available and higher risk than previously, and this looks set to be the case until at least 2023 as the agricultural industry recovers.

Freight    In early 2020, a 20 foot FCL transporting from China to Europe cost in the region of USD 1,600. On a 10,000kg load of dehydrated spice powder this led to an on-cost of USD 0.16/Kilo. At the moment, a 20 foot FCL transporting from China to Europe costs in the region of USD 20,000 – which means that the on-cost has increased to USD 2.00/Kilo on what is usually a very low cost item.

The solution

Plant-Ex have focussed upon creating a selection of products which are from the named herb/spice – imparting significant taste – but with a dramatic reduction of risk of non-supply, microbiological issues or varied qualities.

By taking steam distilled essential oils and solvent extracted oleoresins which have been extracted and processed at source – Plant-Ex are working with the critical product flavouring elements and by-passing the freight issues. In addition, this processing point allows for monitoring and controlling to prevent microbiology from becoming an issue.

At our factories, Plant-Ex have the capability to convert these extracts into a format which delivers taste to the customer – either as a spray dried powder, an oil based liquid or even a water based emulsion – whichever best fits into the matrix of the customer’s product.

2022 is going to have enough supply chain challenges – we believe that our portfolio of extracts can help remove a few of them from our customer’s desks!

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