Clean Label Capsicums Offer Multiple Avenues for Exciting Flavor Delivery

December 5, 2022

Clean Label Capsicums Offer Multiple Avenues for Exciting Flavor Delivery

In the United States, ethoxyquin is a commonly used synthetic antioxidant for chili powder, paprika and ground chili to preserve color and extend product shelf life. However, ethoxyquin appears on many “no-no” lists as an unacceptable food ingredient and is not permitted as food additive for certified organic products.

Finding out whether a food product is truly “clean” is only a few taps away on a consumer’s smartphone. Today’s buyers are savvy, and they value brands that meet their labeling desires up front, with no surprises or gimmicks. So food manufacturers and brand owners have to overcome the challenge - to meet consumers’ demand for natural and clean-label products without sacrificing finished products’ flavor, appearance or shelf life.

Since the 1990s, we have offered a “none added” option for paprika, chili peppers and chili powders where we simply leave color preservative like ethoxyquin out of our clean label capsicum products. In recent years, the demand for our clean label capsicums has increased as spicy foods become hugely popular with Millennials and other consumers thanks to their love of heat, which in turn drives up overall demand for capsicums. More importantly, we are seeing additional manufacturers start sourcing capsicums with no ethoxyquin added in response to consumers’ needs.

Lack of preservatives can shorten product shelf life since pigment oxidation can have a direct impact on the appearance of finished products containing capsicums. An option we currently have available for our clean-label paprika line is the addition of rosemary extract, a natural antioxidant, together with rice hulls instead of silicon dioxide for anticaking purposes. 

Since color lost in paprika and red chili peppers is due to oxidation of carotenoids, the natural pigments responsible for the orange/red color of chili peppers, instead we can formulate with green chili peppers to avoid the need for antioxidants altogether. We have seen a tremendous growth in our green chili varietals like jalapeño and the New Mexico HATCH™ Chile.

In addition to the various clean label offerings, Sensient Natural Ingredients also leads the way when it comes to overseeing and controlling the entire growing process, from partnering with growers who use exceptional quality control in the fields all the way to and through the processing sites.

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