Flavour companies find loophole in EU smoky flavour ban

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

I.T.S has launched a smoke-free range as EU makes bold move
I.T.S has launched a smoke-free range as EU makes bold move

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After EU member states endorsed proposals to ban traditional smoke food flavours, I.T.S has responded by launching a range of ‘smoke-free’ natural smoke flavourings.

Following the expiration of the previous EU authorisation last year, all smoke flavourings underwent an assessment. It was recently decided that authorisation of 8 smoke flavourings for food would not be renewed over genotoxicity concerns.

The I.T.S smoke-free range means food and beverage manufacturers can safely and legally use smoked style flavours without the need for complex on-pack labelling declarations.

Smoking is a method traditionally used to help preserve certain foods and can be added to foods to give them a smoky flavouring. Smoke flavourings are produced by a wood-burning process called pyrolysis.

The EU ban will see smoky flavours phased out in the EU. When used to replace traditional smoking (e.g. hams, fish, cheeses), the phase-out period is 5 years. For uses where the smoke flavouring is added for extra flavour (e.g. soups, crisps, sauces), the phase-out period is shorter, at 2 years.

With news of the review circulating for some time, certain manufacturers have been ahead of the game, including PepsiCo which has been reformulating its snacking portfolio so that UK and European products are ‘smoke-free’.

I.T.S’s latest range joins others companies undergoing similar innovations, including Sensient Flavors & Extracts which announced its SmokeLess Smoke alternatives.

“While demand for smoked flavours, particularly in the meat and, increasingly, in the plant-based category, legislation surrounding the use, labelling and declaration on-pack of smoke flavours has always been quite distinct. As a result, manufacturers have been reluctant to use ‘real smoke’,”​ explained Carl Smith, head of innovations at I.T.S.

“This move by the European Commission means that manufacturers will need to quickly source natural alternatives to create the flavour and aroma of smoke in their products. Our smoke free flavours offer this and, even better, they can simply be declared as ‘Natural Flavourings’ on packaging for clean label appeal”.

The 15 products in the I.T.S range include familiar ‘smoked’ styles such as Hickory, Beechwood or applewood, smoked paprika and smoked BBQ. But there are also some more unique combinations too, such as smoked vanilla, smoked Maple, and smoked fruits.

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