Great beverage ingredients, but can they formulate?
Cargill’s technical team is delivering new products and reformulations of established products that are saving resources for beverage companies
The involvement of suppliers in the initial stages of new product design and reformulation is a practice that has started to spread in the beverage industry. Beverage manufacturers realize that products benefit from collaboration especially when ingredient suppliers provide a “helicopter” view on the entire formulation process. Cargill’s functional understanding of ingredients as well as their exposure to consumer trends helps beverage manufacturers both save money and grow their revenues through outsourced formulation work.
|Cargill can look at the combination of ingredients and what each brings to the table from both a flavor and functionality standpoint; finding combinations of ingredients that can contribute less cost overall and increase consumer demand.|
Early involvement in the formulation process can start at the conceptual stage of the product, where Cargill’s technical team can bring its competence and know-how to the service of product development. Allowing our technical team to look at the product holistically can generate innovation. Cargill can look at the combination of ingredients and what each brings to the table from both a flavor and functionality standpoint; finding combinations of ingredients that can contribute less cost overall and increase consumer demand. This insight becomes especially important to customers when using unfamiliar ingredients.
There are different levels of ingredient supplier involvement in the formulation process based often on the size of the beverage manufacturer or their relationship to the supplier. Often, the supplier sends some input and feedback to the customer in terms of design, including improvements in costs and quality. An emerging relationship includes the supplier working from customer technical needs (in terms of product and process) whereby they provide a finished product that includes supplier ingredients.
Larger beverage companies traditionally develop the formulation work themselves. However, these companies may not have the functional ingredient expertise needed to properly balance all the ingredients in a system. They might have a general understanding of what happens when you remove sugar from a system for instance, but they don’t know how specific sugar substitutes might react to other ingredients in a system and how that can impact mouthfeel, sweetness and flavor.
In cases like these, outsourcing initial formulation work to suppliers can save manufacturers money on the upfront stages of development. Customers can then take the base work and customize it to their specific targets. Suppliers can provide functional and nutritional profiles of ingredients but they can also problem solve ingredient issues in systems and provide a holistic view on new product development and reformulation using their ingredients.
In medium and smaller beverage manufacturing companies, ingredient suppliers can play an enormous role in beverage development and reformulation. Many times, these beverage companies don’t have the technical staff to do the formulation work needed. Before they turn to 3rd parties for formulation work, beverage manufacturers should turn to their ingredient suppliers to supply:
- Beverage Ingredients
- Ingredient expertise
- Diagnostic services
- New product development from concept to finished product
- Ingredient replacement services
- Testing in pilot plants
Beverage companies might have a product concept and a co-packer lined up, but they don’t have the rest of the services and products needed to ensure successful development/reformulation. This is where ingredient suppliers can save manufacturers time and money. Beverage prototype development can take Cargill’s technical teams, potentially, a few hours opposed to 3rd party company timelines. In addition, Cargill’s in-house expertise comes with a broad variety of exceptional beverage bases.
Another consideration that all beverage manufacturers should consider is their internal formulation environments. Beverage formulations can be designed in suboptimal environments. Launch timelines have become more aggressive and formulas become prematurely locked down as a result of consumer testing and stability studies. As a result, formulas may not have been optimized for cost and functionality. Outsourcing formulation to ingredient suppliers provides a holistic perspective in a neutral setting so ingredient systems can be fine-tuned to achieve the greatest functional efficiency.
Beverage companies are making some fundamental shifts in the way they conduct business. There has been a gradual change away from basic research to more applications-oriented research with immediate commercial projects and shortened timelines. Ingredient suppliers, like Cargill, are doing more of the actual development work than in the past. Cargill’s technical team is delivering new products and reformulations of established products that are improving the bottom and top lines at beverage companies.
Cargill events & tradeshows
Food Ingredient news
Some Cargill products are only approved for use in certain geographies, end uses, and/or at certain usage levels. It is the customer's responsibility to determine, for a particular geography, that (i) the Cargill product, its use and usage levels, (ii) the customer's product and its use, and (iii) any claims made about the customer's product, all comply with applicable laws and regulations.