Plant Extracts, Essential Oils & Oleoresins

Plant Extracts, Essential Oils & Oleoresins

The focus on appearance and organoleptics of the colours and flavours divisions led to the creation of a natural extracts division, delivering taste solutions from the named source in a variety of formats depending on the customer’s application.

Creating powders out of liquid raw materials such as juices or honey for inclusion into dry applications has become a mainstay of this division resulting in significant investment into dedicated spray drying towers. Conversely, creating water dispersible emulsions or pastes from oil extracts has also demonstrated that the technology within the company has limitless potential to create the end-product that the customer needs.

Finally, there are some ingredients such as essential oils and oleoresins wherein the value delivered by Plant-Ex is in quality controlled and convenient pack sizes, all of which make up a parcel of extracts which deliver taste according to our customer’s requirements.

Plant-Ex Extracts logo


Vinegar Powder

Vegetable Powder

Alcohol Powder


Essential Oils






During the spray-drying process, the raw materials are mixed or emulsified with water and carriers/emulsifiers (e.g. maltodextrin, gum acacia, modified starch) and fed into the nozzle where it is sprayed under high pressure into the main chamber along with hot air, which instantly evaporates the water.

This leaves just the solids behind. The resulting powder is collected in a cyclone before being sieved and packed.

Spray drying Facility Plant-Ex

Characteristics of Spray-Dried Powders:


By spray-drying quality fruit and vegetable juice concentrates, purees and not-from-concentrate juices, Plant-Ex can provide a from-the-named-source label declaration for any fruit or vegetable the customer requires in an easy-to-handle, highly soluble powdered format. These products are mostly suited to powdered applications, such as sports nutrition, dry mixes or snacks & seasonings, but can be used in water-soluble liquid applications as well, such as teas and other beverages.

Some citrus fruit powders are standardised according to their citric acid content, as well as our acerola juice powder being standardised according to its ascorbic acid (vitamin c) content. The benefit of using a juice powder instead of a juice concentrate is that the powder has an increased shelf life compared to that of the juice – powders are not prone to microbial growth, whereas juices are. This is especially important in applications where moisture needs to be controlled, such as bakery, and additional liquids are undesirable. Powders can be stored at ambient temperatures as opposed to chilled or frozen with high stability over shelf life. Spray-dried fruit juice powders are hygroscopic, so must be protected from moisture and stored correctly.


Essential oils are defined as essential as they are thought to contain the very essence of the material they are derived from. Raw materials such as plants, spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables are mixed with water and heated. The steam from the heating is used to release the top-note volatile, aromatic oils, which are then condensed and separated into Hydrosol and the essential oil.

The extraction process is gentle; it can require a large amount of plant/vegetable matter to obtain a small amount of essential oil. This is also dependent on the raw material being extracted. For example, rose petals contain very low amounts of essential oils within them, meaning large volumes of petals are needed when producing rose essential oil, resulting – resulting in it being really expensive. Essential oils are typically clear and fine, with minimal colour and low viscosity. They provide the delicate, top-note of a flavour.

essential oils


The definition of oleoresin is a combination of oils and resins. Plants, Spices, Vegetables and Herbs are mixed with solvents (typically Acetone or Hexane) -the subsequent evaporation of these solvents yields an oil-based, viscous, waxy and resinous liquid with an intense flavour and colour profile, characteristic of the starting material.

The extraction process of oleoresins is more aggressive in comparison to essential oils, meaning the yields can be higher as more of the plant material and matter is pulled through the process compared with steam extraction.

The heavy oils of the oleoresins contain some important flavour notes that are absent in essential oil (such as piperine in black pepper or capsaicin in capsicum). This method also pulls through other low flavour notes as well as the top flavour notes, giving a more characteristic flavour profile of the starting material.


By using these quality essential oils and oleoresins, Plant-Ex Ingredients can provide natural, flavoursome herb & spice extracts to suit any application. Whether diluting, emulsifying or spray-drying, we can guarantee high-quality extracts in three different forms:

Plant-Ex can create extracts that provide a more intense flavour than traditionally used dried herbs and ground spices. This more intense flavour can be attributed to the extraction ratios of the products. Extraction ratio is the term given to the ratio of how much dried herb/ground spice would be used to generate the same intensity of an extract. 


For example, Plant-Ex’s FI014225A Ginger Extract Powder has a calculated extraction ratio of 15:1, meaning 1kg of our product equates to 15kg of Ginger. This intensity is a big plus for our customers as the inclusion rates of our extracts can be significantly reduced when compared to the dried herbs and ground spices, therefore lowering the cost in-use.


Plant-Ex have developed a variety of spray-dried alcohol powders to suit many food applications.

Spray-dried alcohol powders provide a good base-note flavour, so when used in tandem with a Plant-Ex top-note flavour, the customer can create the full flavour profile that they would expect to see.

A range of alcohols are possible to spray-dry, including spirits such as whisky and gin, red and white wines, beer, ciders and ales. It is possible to use ingredients with regional provenance to give more interesting label declaration – such as Prosecco Powder from Italy.

Our alcohol powders do not contain alcohol as it is lost through evaporation during the spray-drying process.


Plant-Ex take high-quality vinegars and spray them onto the carrier, maltodextrin, producing flavoursome powders with Clean-Label Declarations. These potent products can be used in a variety of applications, including snacks & seasonings, powdered soups or dry mixes, and can even be used in bakery or tumbled onto meat.

Plant-Ex’s vinegar powders are standardised and tested according to their acetic acid content using in-house titration methods. Acetic Acid levels vary between different vinegars, but our powders can be anywhere between 2% and 10%. Acetic acid is a very volatile compound and can be lost from the vinegar through evaporation over shelf life -by spray-drying vinegars, Plant-Ex provide a product that has a longer shelf life than that of standard vinegar because the acetic acid has been encapsulated, meaning it is less prone to evaporation.

More bespoke lines of our vinegar powders can be available to add more value to your product. For example, we have developed a West Country Apple Cider Vinegar Powder for added provenance, or a caramel-free version of our Balsamic Vinegar Powder.

vinegar powder


Plant-Ex have developed many products that derive from a wide variety of other sources, ranging from sauces and condiments, fixed oils such as coconut oil or Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) and other foodstuffs such as English truffles or honey.

Diverse Extract Powders are typically created upon customer requests. They enable said customer to have a unique flavour with product declaration, provenance or function which creates added value to their product.


Plant-Ex can match an extract or create a custom extract for your application.

Our extract laboratory can help to:

  • Match an existing extract or create a custom product.
  • Remove unwanted ingredients (e.g. palm oil, preservatives, allergens, colours).
  • Create industry specific portfolios cross a wide-range of food industry applications.

NPD Support includes:

  • New product development
  • Extract matching reports
  • Formulation and processing advice
  • Applications testing *Fast turnaround on projects and samples

For effective extract matching, we would require a sample of the current product and the specification. With these, we can better understand the target product and swiftly provide a match.


Extracts are products that are derived from natural sources, such as herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables.