The Israel-based company says that Citrus Zest, which utilises cold processing technology, represents a new generation in natural citrus ingredients.
"Concentrated citrus oils are the key ingredient in citrus-flavoured products in the beverage market," Yoni Glickman, manager of Frutarom's fine ingredients division told FoodNavigator.
"Traditionally, the processing of citrus oil has been done with what is called a hot process, but the downside of this is that it creates burnt notes, and takes away from the essential flavour.
"Our breakthrough is that this cold processing technology allows us to keep the full flavour profile of the natural fruit. In effect, this is a technology platform that can be used across the whole citrus spectrum."
The company also believes that the process provides for better consistency and stability, resulting in longer delivery of the fruit's freshness. It claims that it offers better solubility and clarity than other solutions on the market.
Glickman says that Frutarom is not aware of any other company in the industry using this process.
The citrus family, which includes oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes, has about 16 species, with hundreds of distant relatives, such as pummelos, trifoliate oranges, and kumquats. Food and drinks firms looking to increase sales are increasingly pushing their products as containing natural citrus flavours as a way of tapping into the burgeoning health market.
In 2003, sales of functional foods and drinks were estimated to be over six times the value of those in 1998. Unravelling the potential of health boosting components in the citrus family could therefore lead to new gains.
"The trend towards natural products is enormous," said Glickman. "What we are aiming to do is to make ingredients that are as close as possible to how the fruit exists in nature. Citrus Zest is a completely natural product."
He believes that this is where Frutarom's strength lies, and sees the Citrus Zest as a natural development of this.
"Our core strategy is to develop natural, tasty and healthy products," he said.
Citrus fruits are abundant in limonoids, phytochemicals that scientists are currently investigating for their anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-malarial powers. Limonoids have also shown effectiveness as insecticides both in traditional farming cultures and modern biochemistry labs.