Industry Rises to the Challenge

Essex-based spices and seasonings supplier Unbar Rothon has carried out a major product flow redesign to ensure ‘clean’ supplies to its customers in the wake of recent changes to allergen labelling requirements.
It has established a guaranteed allergen-free environment at its Billericay plant to ensure that manufacturers using its products are free from the constraints of ‘may contain’ warnings.

Unbar Rothon md Bill Rothon says: “We have eliminated all legislated allergens from our main production facility with the exception of sulphur dioxide and wheat flour [which] have acceptable tolerance limits that can be easily controlled within our existing cleaning regime.”

The company now has a manufacturing plant in a separate building that is restricted to blends containing mustard or soya or both ingredients.

Meanwhile, with the drive for healthier eating continuing to gather pace, the spice industry is also facing the challenge of coming up with salt replacement ingredients.

To address this problem, Unbar Rothon has devised a solution that will help manufacturers reduce salt in sausages without compromising on flavour.

It has also been working on replacements for phosphate and monosodium glutamate, which have fallen out of favour with many retailers and manufacturers. Trials have included the use of sodium-free yeast extracts and the introduction of modified starches.

Rothon, who is heading up the work, says: “We are now coming up with fully balanced seasoning solutions that will produce an acceptable flavour level and meet the guidelines for salt and sodium content laid down by the Food Standards Agency.”

In other developments, Unbar Rothon’s smoke flavour, Forest Smoke, is now available in a smaller one-litre container, in a bid to appeal to small and medium-sized businesses.

The new offering is a brush-on, spray-on version of the product that “puts a delicious, smoky flavour” into meat, seafood, poultry, cheese and sauces. It is made from hardwood from Tennessee sawmills, which is smouldered in enclosed furnaces. The smoke then condenses in mountain water to create liquid smoke.

Unwanted gases, heavy oils and tar are filtered out using a variety of processes, resulting in the Forest Smoke flavour.