Without the courage to try something new, there can be no progress. In the case of Corbion, advancing technology is often about having the courage to discover something new in the familiar.
The art and science of fermentation is as old as civilization itself, as is the making of vinegar. As far back as 3000 B.C., the Babylonians fermented the fruit and sap of the date palm to make wine. With enough time and exposure to air, the natural metabolic process of fermentation continued on its own, transforming wine into vinegar. In other ancient cultures vinegar was used to create a sustaining drink for soldiers, to preserve fruits and vegetables, to prevent the infection of wounds, and to fashion a tonic for coughs.
Vinegar may be the most versatile metabolite in the world, which is probably why it is still used in pickles, salad dressings, condiments, sauerkraut, and meat dishes. It’s a cleaner, a pesticide, a remedy for jellyfish stings, a meat tenderizer, even a flavoring and leavening agent, mold inhibitor, and shelf-life extender in baked goods. Undaunted by vinegar’s history, Corbion has chosen to be inspired by it.
Fermentation is a core competency we’ve been building on since 1931, when we first began manufacturing lactic acid, another product of this natural process. Years of research and practical application have resulted in a highly sophisticated ability to leverage the power of vinegar.
A growing number of manufacturers have embraced our Verdad® range of vinegar-based solutions, which help them overcome challenges in: meat, poultry and seafood; refrigerated foods; sauces, dressings and condiments; as well as baked goods. The portfolio offers label-friendly ways to control pathogens, extend shelf life, enhance flavor, and improve texture.
When it comes to finding a food ingredient that combines the clean-label familiarity consumers want with the functionality our customers need, it’s hard to beat vinegar – an ingredient that is also a food.
“People want safe foods with the freshness, flavors, and textures they love, but they also want to feel comfortable with how those foods are made,” says Ruud Peerbooms, Senior Vice-President of Food. “To deliver all that, manufacturers need the functionality they’re used to, but using ingredients that are familiar and non-threatening to consumers.”
Initially, manufacturers often had to give up some of the functionality they were used to getting from conventional ingredients in order to create more label-friendly products. But Corbion set out to change that expectation. Today, we offer vinegar-based solutions that, in many cases, match the effectiveness of the industry’s traditional, synthetic solution.
The growing role of vinegar as an important enabler of clean-label innovation prompted our decision last year to add in-house facilities for producing patented, non-GMO powdered vinegar at our Netherlands-based Gorinchem site. Before that, most vinegar used to create Corbion ingredients was produced externally. Combining our in-house capabilities with outside sources gives us a global production footprint and a more secure supply chain for powdered vinegar products.
“With the market shifting substantially toward simpler ingredients, many of our customers have embraced vinegar as a key part of their strategy,” Ruud says. “Bringing much of our powdered vinegar production in-house helps us ensure continuity for those customers."
It takes courage to invest. It takes courage to innovate. But that’s how we make things happen. It’s how we make a positive impact in the world.