US functional flavour company Blue Pacific Flavors has opened a state-of-the-art finished beverage R&D application facility for the development of functional beverages.
The company reports that the center is designed to focus on creating a variety of innovative functional beverages including hot-filled sports, energy and wellness drinks. In addition, it will feature customised development work for UHT/HTST and tetort high protein milk or soy based meal replacement beverages.
Blue Pacific Flavors claims that the centre currently has the only Armfield lab pilot UHT/HTST beverage-processing unit in the western US. The laboratory facility also features a complete accelerated shelf testing incubation area. A separate sensory area for evaluating finished drinks is planned for completion by the fourth quarter of 2002.
In order to maintain acceptable taste and appearance in RTD applications, and given the complex interaction of various functional ingredients, the company claims that flavour development for these beverages requires significant flavour and colour engineering. Blue Pacific's beverage flavourists and natural colour specialists work in conjunction with the company's beverage application engineers to optimise the finished beverages. The products are evaluated not only on taste, but efficacy as well. This includes, but is not limited to, analytical evaluation and outside ORAC testing for functional actives in the ingredients used before and after processing in the finished beverages.
Blue Pacific works with the latest GRAS approved ingredients in the development of their concept functional beverages. These include proprietary water soluble and shelf stable omega-3 antioxidant blend, lutein and grape seed extract, as well as patented, non-bitter and colourless green tea polyphenols and a variety of soluble and insoluble fibres including heat stable inulin, fibersol, brown rice fibre, bamboo fibre and nutripec.