SBIR Phase II: Enhancing Stability of Natural Ingredients in Food and Beverages

Period of Performance: 04/15/2017 - 03/31/2019


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

3704 El Segundo Avenue
Davis, CA 95618
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will be to enable significant improvement in the shelf-life of unstable natural food ingredients and enable replacing artificial with natural colors in a large portfolio of products of interest to the food and beverage industries. Consumer demand for all-natural ingredients in food has increased multifold, primarily due to health concerns. Despite the strong consumer demand, delivery and stability of natural food colors pose a great challenge for the food and beverage industry. This challenge results due to an inherent chemical instability of natural ingredients and due to their accelerated degradation during food processing and storage. But the current solutions are not cost-effective and require the use of synthetic additives and preservatives, which are not desired by the consumers. This project is aimed at providing an array of low-cost, stable natural ingredients that will improve the overall stability of the finished products both during food processing and storage. This will also address the unmet societal needs for healthy food ingredients and improving sustainability of food products. This SBIR Phase II project aims to develop bio-based encapsulation solutions to improve natural food color and phytochemical stability in food and beverage products. Current solutions are sub-optimal providing limited pH (color), heat or oxidative stability and short expiration dates on food and beverage products. To address this unmet need, this project aims to develop encapsulation of natural colors and bioactives that will enhance the overall stability of a finished food product. This will be achieved by working on the primary objectives of this project: Selection and screening of the carriers and natural ingredients to be encapsulated, physico-chemical stability testing of the encapsulated ingredients, scale-up methodologies, stability testing in a finished food/beverage product, consumer evaluation and customer validation of the formulations. As a result of the proposed approach, solutions will be provided that will allow the food and beverage industry to replace artificial with natural colorants as well as significantly extend shelf-life of their desired food products. This will also benefit the consumer who is seeking natural health-promoting ingredients in what he/she consumes.