The company did not reveal the reasons for the price increase, and spokesperson Barbara Plath told FoodNavigator.com: "It is our company policy not to comment on price changes." It is possible that competition from emerging markets may have impacted on prices. Leatherhead Foods International (LFI) said: "Chinese manufacturers of the principal organic preservatives - benzoates, sorbates, and propionates - have been increasing volumes and putting intense pressure on global prices." Additionally, increased raw material and energy costs could have some part to play in the move, as ingredients companies are raising their prices for many products to recover margins amid the current global food crisis. While Nutrinova, which is owned by the Celanese Corporation, would not comment on the reasons, it did implement a price increase of the same amount at this point last year. Sorbate preservatives Sorbates (sorbic acid and potassium sorbate) are gentle but efficient preservatives offering protection for a wide variety of food and beverage applications, such as non-alcoholic beverages, wine, spirits, baked goods, cheese, dairy products, spreads and margarines. They are used extensively in the rapidly growing global processed foods market to stop moulds and yeasts damaging primarily high-moisture and high-sugar foods. Their safety has been approved by the JECFA (Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives) of WHO/FAO, the European Communities, and the US Food and Drug Administration. Analysts at LFI said it is estimated that the global market for organic preservatives was worth almost $680m (€433m) in 2007, up 1.5 per cent from 2006 levels, with volume sales coming in at just under 300,000 tonnes. Of this total, sorbates and sorbic acid represents the largest category by value at $335m (€213m), up from $310m (€197m) in 2004. Volumes rose in this period from 31,000 tonnes to 33,000 tonnes. "Rising prices have been the drivers of the sector's value growth," said the research and analysis group. "Demand is currently strongest in Asian markets, particularly China. In the West, however, where preservative-free has become fairly widespread, the use of preservatives is falling." The growth of demand for sorbates in Asia was also indicated by Gregor Peter, director of global sales at Nutrinova, who said: "We see a growing demand of sorbates especially for processed foods in emerging markets." Nutrinova's products Nutrinova produces two ranges of sorbate preservatives. Vinosorb is its special grade of potassium sorbate for use in wine, while its Panosorb brand is a grade of sorbic acid for bakery applications. Nutrinova said they are easy to use, are effective at extreme pH levels, neutral in odour and flavour and harmless to health. In addition to producing preservatives, Nutrinova also manufactures dietary fibre products and is best known for its Acesulfame K high intensity sweetener product that is marketed under the brand name Sunett.