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General Mills on a quest for all-natural label-friendly yeast and mold inhibitors

By Elaine WATSON , 12-Dec-2012

General Mills is seeking label friendly ingredients that prevent the growth of yeasts and molds in dry packaged fruit-based foods.

The firm, which outlines the challenge on its G-WIN online open innovation platform, notes that fruit-based foods can have water activity levels “that under certain environmental conditions can promote the growth of yeasts and molds”.

And while this can be mitigated with approaches that lower water activity or pH, General Mills is instead seeking “all-natural food formulation or ingredients that mitigate by way of antimycotic [anti-fungal] mechanisms”.

Solutions of interest should be “consumer friendly, all natural or of a botanical nature, and specifically do not consist of sorbates, benzoates, natamycin, or propionates”, adds the firm, which has set a deadline of April 30, 2013 for potential partners to respond.

Solutions must be certified non-GMO, kosher, and gluten-free

Possible approaches might include oleoresins or spice extracts, extracellular metabolites from cultures, or packaging films with antimycotic coatings, it speculates.

Meanwhile, the following technical criteria must be met for any prospective solution:

• Effective in water activity range of 0.6-0.75 and pH of 5.5-7

• Effective over nine month shelf-life at ambient temperature

• Can be easily formed and uniformly mixed with fruit paste

• Certified non-GMO, Kosher, and Gluten-free

• Solutions are free of soy and dairy allergens

Sorbate, benzoate, propionate and natamycin are off the menu

Solutions that are not of interest are:

• Ingredient formulations that include sorbate, benzoate, propionate, or natamycin

• Packaging approaches that include vacuum sealing or flushing

• Processing approaches that include HHP, PEF, ultrasonication, ionizing radiation, or UV

• Processing approaches that include IR, MW, heat or steam, pasteurization or roasting

General Mills will review all proposals within two to three weeks and will then decide on appropriate next steps with partners of interest, which might include developing a proof of concept, licensing agreement, or supply agreement, making an investment or creating a joint venture.

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