Kemin Advances Sustainable Rosemary for Clean Label Food Preservation




September 09, 2021 — Kemin Industries is driving growth in clean-label food preservation with its growth in rosemary innovation. The company’s proprietary rosemary is formulated into effective clean labeling solutions to help keep foods fresher, safer and tastier.

Additionally, the company – which is celebrating 25 years of its rosemary line – says innovation in precision agriculture will facilitate continuous improvement in practices for sustainably growing the company’s rosemary line.

Talk to FoodIngredientsFirstDr. John Greaves, Vice President of Specialty Crops at Kemin, says rosemary and the products developed from it played an important role in the initial formation and subsequent growth of three Kemin business units.

“We have adapted these innovations to meet specific customer needs. Along with other innovations at Kemin, the rosemary innovation helped demonstrate that natural molecules could replace synthetic varieties and help provide solutions for multiple industries.

Today, rosemary is recognized alongside tocopherols as an important component in maintaining natural freshness and flavor.Since then, Kemin has continued these innovations using plants, microorganisms and microalgae as more sustainable solutions than synthetic alternatives.

Fully integrated supply chains
Today, rosemary is recognized alongside tocopherols as an important component in maintaining natural freshness and flavor.

As one of the largest vertically integrated growers of sustainably grown rosemary, Kemin offers a well-tracked supply chain and can trace its crops from cuttings to final product.

“We continue to invest in plant breeding, the development of cropping systems and new agronomic technologies. These certified ‘sustainable cultivation’ practices produce more of our target molecules from the same land area, key to a sustainable future,” says Greaves.

The company also has various growth sites in the United States and abroad with its growth partners to manage weather-related risks.

“Each batch of dried rosemary leaves can be traced back to a particular grower, field and season so we have full traceability,” adds Greaves.

Increase plant efficiency
Rosemary produces many very potent molecules, and Kemin will continue to explore opportunities in industries in which these molecules work.

“In addition, we continue to study the synergy of rosemary with new complementary molecules to find new solutions for our customers,” continues Greaves. “Innovation in precision agriculture will facilitate continuous improvement in sustainable cultivation practices for our rosemary line.”

In addition, the company continues to breed ever-better-performing rosemary varieties and all plants grown at Kemin. “We are exploring new technologies to help increase the effectiveness of our products. Our research teams continue to develop exciting new test formulations in several different applications that we hope will improve our customers’ products,” says Greaves.

“We also continue to research other applications based on specific molecules.”

Improving biomass through plant breeding
Prior to Kemin’s innovation and initial investment in developing its own vertically integrated rosemary program, the plant was primarily harvested from the wild in southern Europe and North Africa.

“We quickly realized that wild harvesting was unsustainable and we needed to implement a rosemary cultivation system to improve biomass through plant breeding. Kemin developed one of the first rosemary breeding programs, which transformed the plant from an evergreen Mediterranean shrub to a high-performance ‘phytochemical manufacturing plant’,” notes Greaves.

“Our scientists have analyzed and selected the most potent rosemary strains from around the world,” says Greaves. “Next, our team used conventional plant breeding methods to initiate a program of continuous improvement, which resulted in one of the largest rosemary collections in the world.”

Demand for simple labels and natural ingredients has exploded, and ingredient sustainability continues to drive growth.The company celebrates 25 years of developing its exclusive line of rosemary to create sustainable food solutions.

In light of the transparency dominating consumer demand in 2021, increasing transparency is essential to meet evolving consumer demands for ethics, the environment and clean labeling. This is reflected in Innova Market Insights main trend for this year: “Transparency triumphs”.

Notably, the consumer lifestyle trend toward cleaner living expands and reinforces expectations about what constitutes a clean label.

Kemin’s rosemary crops are SCS Sustainably Grown certified by SCS Global, which recognizes leadership in environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic stability.

“As we look to the future, Kemin continues to invest in innovation as our scientists and producers work together to discover new molecules for new natural antioxidants,” Greaves continues.

“We are actively developing new botanical sources of antioxidant molecules to complement rosemary formulations and are continually working with extraction and formulation methods to produce the most effective rosemary products.”

Last May, Kemin hailed rosemary as a favorite for extending shelf life.

The company also explored alternatives to synthetic ingredients to prevent color and flavor loss while extending shelf life.

By Elizabeth Green

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