WO2009012131A2 - Flavor bead compositions - Google Patents

Flavor bead compositions Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2009012131A2
WO2009012131A2 PCT/US2008/069740 US2008069740W WO2009012131A2 WO 2009012131 A2 WO2009012131 A2 WO 2009012131A2 US 2008069740 W US2008069740 W US 2008069740W WO 2009012131 A2 WO2009012131 A2 WO 2009012131A2
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WO
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
flavor
wt
shell
bead
sweetener
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2008/069740
Other languages
French (fr)
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WO2009012131A3 (en )
Inventor
James Paik
Original Assignee
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K8/00Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations
    • A61K8/02Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by special physical form
    • A61K8/11Encapsulated compositions
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G1/00Cocoa; Cocoa products, e.g. chocolate; Substitutes therefor
    • A23G1/30Cocoa products, e.g. chocolate; Substitutes therefor
    • A23G1/32Cocoa products, e.g. chocolate; Substitutes therefor characterised by the composition containing organic or inorganic compounds
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G1/00Cocoa; Cocoa products, e.g. chocolate; Substitutes therefor
    • A23G1/30Cocoa products, e.g. chocolate; Substitutes therefor
    • A23G1/50Cocoa products, e.g. chocolate; Substitutes therefor characterised by shape, structure or physical form, e.g. products with an inedible support
    • A23G1/54Composite products, e.g. layered laminated, coated, filled
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G3/00Sweetmeats; Confectionery; Marzipan; Coated or filled products
    • A23G3/34Sweetmeats, confectionery or marzipan; Processes for the preparation thereof
    • A23G3/36Sweetmeats, confectionery or marzipan; Processes for the preparation thereof characterised by the composition containing organic or inorganic compounds
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G3/00Sweetmeats; Confectionery; Marzipan; Coated or filled products
    • A23G3/34Sweetmeats, confectionery or marzipan; Processes for the preparation thereof
    • A23G3/50Sweetmeats, confectionery or marzipan; Processes for the preparation thereof characterised by shape, structure or physical form, e.g. products with supported structure
    • A23G3/54Composite products, e.g. layered, coated, filled
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G4/00Chewing gum
    • A23G4/06Chewing gum characterised by the composition containing organic or inorganic compounds
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23GCOCOA; COCOA PRODUCTS, e.g. CHOCOLATE; SUBSTITUTES FOR COCOA OR COCOA PRODUCTS; CONFECTIONERY; CHEWING GUM; ICE-CREAM; PREPARATION THEREOF
    • A23G4/00Chewing gum
    • A23G4/18Chewing gum characterised by shape, structure or physical form, e.g. aerated products
    • A23G4/20Composite products, e.g. centre-filled, multi-layer, laminated
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23LFOODS, FOODSTUFFS, OR NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASSES A23B - A23J; THEIR PREPARATION OR TREATMENT, e.g. COOKING, MODIFICATION OF NUTRITIVE QUALITIES, PHYSICAL TREATMENT; PRESERVATION OF FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS, IN GENERAL
    • A23L27/00Spices; Flavouring agents or condiments; Artificial sweetening agents; Table salts; Dietetic salt substitutes; Preparation or treatment thereof
    • A23L27/70Fixation, conservation, or encapsulation of flavouring agents
    • A23L27/72Encapsulation
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23LFOODS, FOODSTUFFS, OR NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASSES A23B - A23J; THEIR PREPARATION OR TREATMENT, e.g. COOKING, MODIFICATION OF NUTRITIVE QUALITIES, PHYSICAL TREATMENT; PRESERVATION OF FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS, IN GENERAL
    • A23L29/00Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof
    • A23L29/20Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof containing gelling or thickening agents
    • A23L29/206Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof containing gelling or thickening agents of vegetable origin
    • A23L29/231Pectin; Derivatives thereof
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23LFOODS, FOODSTUFFS, OR NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASSES A23B - A23J; THEIR PREPARATION OR TREATMENT, e.g. COOKING, MODIFICATION OF NUTRITIVE QUALITIES, PHYSICAL TREATMENT; PRESERVATION OF FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS, IN GENERAL
    • A23L29/00Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof
    • A23L29/20Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof containing gelling or thickening agents
    • A23L29/206Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof containing gelling or thickening agents of vegetable origin
    • A23L29/256Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof containing gelling or thickening agents of vegetable origin from seaweeds, e.g. alginates, agar or carrageenan
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23LFOODS, FOODSTUFFS, OR NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, NOT COVERED BY SUBCLASSES A23B - A23J; THEIR PREPARATION OR TREATMENT, e.g. COOKING, MODIFICATION OF NUTRITIVE QUALITIES, PHYSICAL TREATMENT; PRESERVATION OF FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS, IN GENERAL
    • A23L29/00Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof
    • A23L29/20Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof containing gelling or thickening agents
    • A23L29/269Foods or foodstuffs containing additives; Preparation or treatment thereof containing gelling or thickening agents of microbial origin, e.g. xanthan or dextran
    • A23L29/272Gellan
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23PSHAPING OR WORKING OF FOODSTUFFS, NOT FULLY COVERED BY A SINGLE OTHER SUBCLASS
    • A23P10/00Shaping or working of foodstuffs characterised by the products
    • A23P10/30Encapsulation of particles, e.g. foodstuff additives
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K8/00Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations
    • A61K8/02Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by special physical form
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K8/00Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations
    • A61K8/02Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by special physical form
    • A61K8/04Dispersions; Emulsions
    • A61K8/042Gels
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K8/00Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations
    • A61K8/18Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by the composition
    • A61K8/30Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by the composition containing organic compounds
    • A61K8/33Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by the composition containing organic compounds containing oxygen
    • A61K8/34Alcohols
    • A61K8/345Alcohols containing more than one hydroxy group
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K8/00Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations
    • A61K8/18Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by the composition
    • A61K8/30Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by the composition containing organic compounds
    • A61K8/64Proteins; Peptides; Derivatives or degradation products thereof
    • A61K8/65Collagen; Gelatin; Keratin; Derivatives or degradation products thereof
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K8/00Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations
    • A61K8/18Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by the composition
    • A61K8/72Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by the composition containing organic macromolecular compounds
    • A61K8/73Polysaccharides
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K8/00Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations
    • A61K8/18Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by the composition
    • A61K8/72Cosmetics or similar toilet preparations characterised by the composition containing organic macromolecular compounds
    • A61K8/73Polysaccharides
    • A61K8/733Alginic acid; Salts thereof
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61QSPECIFIC USE OF COSMETICS OR SIMILAR TOILET PREPARATIONS
    • A61Q11/00Preparations for care of the teeth, of the oral cavity or of dentures; Dentifrices, e.g. toothpastes; Mouth rinses
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A23FOODS OR FOODSTUFFS; THEIR TREATMENT, NOT COVERED BY OTHER CLASSES
    • A23VINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO FOODS, FOODSTUFFS OR NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
    • A23V2002/00Food compositions, function of food ingredients or processes for food or foodstuffs
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K2800/00Properties of cosmetic compositions or active ingredients thereof or formulation aids used therein and process related aspects
    • A61K2800/40Chemical, physico-chemical or functional or structural properties of particular ingredients
    • A61K2800/41Particular ingredients further characterized by their size
    • A61K2800/412Microsized, i.e. having sizes between 0.1 and 100 microns

Abstract

A flavor bead contains a hydrophobic core and a hydrophilic shell, in which the hydrophilic shell contains a hydrocolloid hydrogel, water, and at least 50 wt.% sweetener.

Description

FLAVOR BEAD COMPOSITIONS

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to flavor beads having a liquid core including a flavor and a shell encapsulating the liquid core, and more particularly, relates to generally spherical flavor beads including a hydrophobic core and a hydrophilic shell containing a hydrocolloid polymer and a sweetener.

[0002] Flavor compositions in the form of beads containing a liquid center (or core) which include a flavor, and a polymer-containing shell encapsulating the liquid core, are generally known in the art as being suitable for use or consumption as an oral composition, either alone or as part of, for example, a chewing gum or confection. The shell of the bead is typically designed to retain the flavor present in the liquid core and to prevent loss of the flavor through oxidation or other means during storage of the flavor bead or an oral composition in which the bead is incorporated. The precise features of the beads, such as bead size and shell composition or thickness, typically depend, at least in part, on the intended application. For example, when the bead itself is the oral composition, it may be designed to provide a relatively quick burst of flavor, whereas a bead prepared for incorporation into an oral composition may be designed to provide a more sustained flavor release.

[0003] Gelatin commonly is used as a shell material in flavor beads. Because aqueous mixtures of gelatin exhibit relatively low viscosity, mixtures having a high gelatin content typically are suitable for the processing steps commonly employed to prepare the beads. The resulting high gelatin content shell provides sufficient flavor retention and a sufficient barrier to oxidation of the flavor, for most applications. However, gelatin-based shells (i.e., shells consisting mostly, or essentially, of gelatin) are not without their disadvantages. For example, because gelatin is derived from animals including pork, consumers following a vegetarian, a kosher, or a halal diet may not be able to consume beads containing gelatin-based shells. In addition, animal-derived gelatin may have a negative impact on consumer perception of the products based on diseases associated with the consumption of products containing ingredients derived from certain animals.

[0004] Another challenge created by a gelatin shell is that the shell, or a portion thereof, often remains in the oral cavity of a consumer after consumption of the flavor, particularly when the flavor bead itself is the oral composition, due to poor dissolution properties of gelatin. Consumers may be unsure whether the remaining shell or shell portion is to be consumed or discarded, which negatively impacts consumer perception of the bead.

[0005] There is a need for a flavor bead, which may be gelatin free and which dissolves rapidly upon consumption, increases flavor core barrier properties, and improves appearance. There is an especial need for flavor beads which may be incorporated into a confection product such as a chewing gum, which have consumer-acceptable appearance and which dissolve rapidly during the consumption process.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] A flavor bead contains a hydrophobic core and a hydrophilic shell, in which the hydrophilic shell contains a hydrocolloid hydrogel, water, and at least 50 wt. % sweetener. In a specific embodiment, the flavor bead contains at least a portion of a crystallized sweetener. A preferred sweetener is a sugar alcohol such as sorbitol or erithritol.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0007] In accordance with the present invention, flavor beads including hydrocolloid polymer-containing shells are prepared that exhibit one or more advantageous properties as compared to gelatin-containing beads or beads in which sweetener only is incorporated within the core, and other polymer- containing beads. For example, as detailed elsewhere herein, hydrocolloid polymer-containing shells of the present invention generally include a substantial concentration of a sweetener (e.g., at least 50 wt% of a polyol), at least a portion of which may optionally be in a crystallized state. In fact, it has been discovered that including a sweetener, such as a sugar alcohol or a relatively low molecular weight sugar, in the shell of the bead at such a concentration, including a gelatin-based shell, can provide a shell having one or more advantageous properties, as further detailed elsewhere herein. Additionally, or alternatively, it has been discovered that using such a concentration of such a sweetener in combination with a hydrocolloid polymer that is a hydrogel (i.e., a hydrocolloid polymer that forms a gel upon solidification after removal of at least some portion of the water in which it has been suspended or dissolved) is particularly advantageous.

[0008] The composition of the flavor bead shells of the present invention improve, among other things, (i) the appearance of the flavor bead, (ii) the dissolution properties of the shell, and/or (iii) the barrier properties of the shell (i.e., the effectiveness of the shell to limit oxidation of flavor, and effectively retain flavor within the core for a desired period of time). For example, as further detailed and illustrated herein below, a shell that comprises a polymer and a sweetener as detailed herein has been found to exhibit an increased dissolution rate (e.g., under conditions simulating the oral cavity of a consumer), as compared to shells that do not contain a sweetener, such that the shell does not remain in the oral cavity of a consumer for any significant period of time after consumption of the liquid flavor present therein. It has further been discovered that a shell comprising a polymer and a sweetener as detailed herein can provide flavor retention and/or resistance to oxidation that is equal to or greater than, for example, a shell including a gelatin-based shell that does not contain a sweetener. In addition, the use of non-gelatin polymers has the advantage of avoiding the various disadvantages or challenges associated with the use of a gelatin-based shell. [0009] Without being held to a particular theory, it is presently believed that the flavor bead shells of the present invention (e.g., shells including a polymer and a sweetener, such as a sugar alcohol, as detailed herein) provide suitable flavor retention and resistance to oxidation of flavor by virtue of the relatively low proportion of free volume of this arrangement, as compared for example to a shell prepared from gelatin. Macromolecules, such as polymers, form conformations that include voids (i.e., free volume) that allow for mass transfer through the polymer. It is presently believed that incorporating a sweetener, such as a sugar alcohol, into the polymer conformation reduces mass transfer through the conformation by reducing, or substantially eliminating, the proportion of free volume of the polymer. More particularly, it is presently believed that such an arrangement reduces, or substantially eliminates, transfer of the flavor through the shell and/or the passage of any outside agents (e.g., air) into the core through the shell that may act to degrade the flavor.

[0010] As used herein, "shell" refers to that portion of the bead that is in physical contact with, and thus encapsulates, a liquid core material.

Methods for Preparation of Flavor Beads

[0011] Typically, flavor beads of the present invention may be prepared using techniques or methods generally known in the art including, for example, co- extrusion encapsulation methods (e.g., concentric, or annular jet, co-extrusion processes). These methods involve the common aspect of contacting a hydrophobic core material (e.g., a hydrophobic liquid mixture comprising the flavor) and a hydrophilic shell material (e.g., a liquid mixture comprising a hydrophilic polymer and a sweetener). Concentrations for components of the core material and shell material detailed below also may represent the concentrations of one or more of these components in the core or shell of a formed or final bead. Core Material

[0012] The core material typically is in the form of a hydrophobic liquid mixture comprising a flavorant (e.g., a liquid flavor). Irrespective of the precise method used for preparation of flavor beads, liquid flavors suitable for use in accordance with the present invention typically include those generally known in the art for use in oral compositions designed for flavor delivery (e.g., breath freshening), including, for example, fruit flavors, mint flavors, spice flavors, and combinations of such flavors. These flavors may be natural or artificial (synthetic) in origin. Often natural and artificial flavors are combined. It is also common to blend different flavors together in pleasing combinations. Although the range of flavors is nearly limitless, they commonly fall into several broad categories. Fruit flavors include lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit, tangerine, strawberry, apple, cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, banana, pineapple, cantaloupe, muskmelon, watermelon, grape, currant, mango, kiwi and many others as well as combinations. Mint flavors include spearmint, peppermint, wintergreen, basil, corn mint, menthol and others and mixtures thereof. Spice flavors include cinnamon, vanilla, clove, chocolate, nutmeg, coffee, licorice, eucalyptus, ginger, cardamom, anise, and many others.

[0013] Flavoring may include a sensate including a cooling agent to enhance the flavor and perceived breath freshening of the product. Cooling agents are trigeminal stimulants that impart a cool sensation to the mouth, throat and nasal passages. The most widely known cooling agent is menthol, although this is often considered a flavor due to its aroma properties and the fact that it is a natural component of peppermint oil. More often, the term cooling agent refers to other natural or synthetic chemicals used to impart a cooling sensation with minimal aroma. Commonly employed cooling agents include ethyl p-menthane carboxamide and other N-substituted p-menthane carboxamides, N-2,3- trimethyl-2-isopropyl-butanamide and other acyclic carboxamides, menthyl glutarate (Flavor Extract Manufacturing Association (FEMA 4006)), 3-I- menthoxypropane-1 ,2-diol, isopulegol, menthyl succinate, menthol propylene glycol carbonate, menthol ethylene glycol carbonate, menthyl lactate, menthyl glutarate, menthone glyceryl ketal, p-menthane-1 ,8-diol, menthol glyceryl ether, N-tertbutyl-p-menthane-3-carboxamide, p-menthane-3-carboxylic acid glycerol ester, methyl-2-isopryl-bicyclo (2.2.1 ), heptane-2-carboxamide, menthol methyl ether and others and combinations thereof. Cooling agents may be employed to enhance the cool taste of mint flavors or to add coolness to fruit and spice flavors. Cooling agents also provide a perception of breath freshening, which may be a basis of marketing of flavors beads of the present invention, or chewing gums and/or confections containing flavor beads of the present invention. Flavoring of the beads of the present invention also may include trigeminal stimulants other than cooling agents. These include warming agents such as capsaicin, capsicum oleoresin, red pepper oleoresin, black pepper oleoresin, piperine, ginger oleoresin, gingerol, shoagol, cinnamon oleoresin, cassia oleoresin, cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol, cyclic acetal of vanillin, menthol glycerin ether and unsaturated amides and tingling agents such as Jambu extract, Vanillyl alkyl ethers such as Vanillyl n-butyl ether, spilanthol, Echinacea extract and Northern Prickly Ash extract.

[0014] A core material mixture also may include additional components such as a colorant, a solvent or diluent such as an edible oil (e.g., a medium chain triglyceride, soybean oil, olive oil, canola oil, or sunflower seed oil), and combinations thereof.

[0015] Typically, the liquid core material comprises a diluent and a liquid flavor. In some embodiments, the core material contains essentially all liquid flavor. Alternatively, however, the liquid flavor may constitute at least about 10 wt% of the core material, and in some instances may constitute at least about 20 wt% of the core material, or even at least about 30 wt% of the core material. For example, in some embodiments, the liquid flavor may constitute from about 10 wt% to about 100 wt%, from about 20 wt% to about 80 wt%, or preferably from about 30 wt% to about 60 wt%, of the core material. [0016] As noted, the core material may contain one or more of the above- noted additional components (e.g., a diluent such as an edible oil), the concentration thereof being in the range of, for example, about 10 wt% to about 90 wt%, from about 20 wt% to about 70 wt%, or preferably from about 40 wt% to about 60 wt%, of the core material.

[0017] Irrespective of the precise composition of the core material (e.g., whether it is a diluted mixture that includes the liquid flavor, or it consists essentially of the liquid flavor), the viscosity of the core material may be optimized for the selected encapsulation method. For example, in a method using concentric co-extrusion, the viscosity of the core material typically is optimized to ensure that it passes freely through a nozzle to conduce droplet formation. Accordingly, the viscosity of the core material, at a temperature of about 25°C, may, for example, be less than about 200 centipoise (cp), less than about 150 cp, less than about 100 cp, or less than about 50 cp (as determined using standard techniques known in the art). Additionally, or alternatively, the viscosity of the core material at about 25°C may be in the range of about 1 cp to about 100 cp, from about 5 cp to about 75 cp, from about 10 cp to about 80 cp, or preferably from about 15 cp to about 50 cp. Viscosities such as these have been observed to be generally suitable for various uses.

Shell Material

[0018] Polymers suitable for incorporation into the shell material of the flavor beads of the present invention generally may be selected from hydrophilic, hydrocolloid polymers recognized as suitable for use in confections such as these, which are capable of forming a gel. In particular, shells of beads of the present invention typically include a polymer that is a hydrocolloid hydrogel (i.e., a polymer that converts to a gel upon loss of water and solidifying). For example, among the hydrophilic polymers suitable for use in accordance with the present invention are gelatin, agar, alginate, carrageenan, pectin, gellan gum, and combinations thereof. In this regard it is to be noted, however, that because of the various issues related to the use of gelatin, in certain embodiments of the present invention, the polymer is desirably not gelatin (i.e., the polymer is selected from the group consisting of agar, alginate, carrageenan, pectin, gellan gum, and combinations thereof). But it should also be understood that in some embodiments the flavor bead may comprise some proportion of gelatin, with a substantial proportion of the bead being made up of a non-gelatin polymer (e.g., at least about 50 wt%, at least about 60 wt%, at least about 70 wt%, or even at least about 80 wt% of the polymer used being a non-gelatin polymer). Additionally, in various embodiments, the flavor beads may desirably be substantially gelatin-free (e.g., contain less than 1 wt%, less than 0.5 wt%, less than 0.25 wt%, or less than 0.1 wt% gelatin), or may be gelatin free.

[0019] Like the hydrocolloid polymers, sweeteners suitable for incorporation into the shell material of the flavor beads generally are selected from food- acceptable sweeteners recognized as suitable for use in confections. Typically, however, the sweetener will be of a size (e.g., molecular weight), and configuration, such that it may be effectively combined with the chosen polymer to achieve the desired dissolution and/or diffusion characteristics (e.g., rapidly dissolve, and/or effectively limit the untimely (i) escape of the flavorant, or (ii) oxidation of the flavorant). Additionally or alternatively, the sweetener may be selected to provide a shell that includes at least a portion of a crystallized sweetener (e.g., at least about 10 wt%, at least about 20 wt%, at least about 30 wt%, at least about 40 wt%, at least about 50 wt%, preferably at least about 60 wt%, or more, of the sweetener therein is crystalline) which, as detailed elsewhere herein, may provide an advantageous appearance to the shell.

[0020] Suitable sweeteners include sugars, sugar alcohols, sugar oligomers, high intensity sweeteners, and combinations thereof, which are generally known in the art. The sweetener generally has a molecular weight of from about 50 to about 1800 daltons, from about 75 to about 1600 daltons, from about 100 to about 1400 daltons, from about 125 to about 1200 daltons, from about 150 to about 1000 daltons, or from about 175 to about 8000 daltons. However, in accordance with various embodiments, suitable sweeteners may have a relatively low molecular weight (e.g., a molecular weight of at least about 50 daltons and no more than about 500 daltons, no more than about 400 daltons, no more than about 300 daltons, or no more than about 200 daltons).

[0021] In some embodiments, the sweetener may comprise a sugar such as, for example, glucose, fructose, galactose, ribose, sucrose, maltose, and combinations thereof. In these or other various embodiments, the sweetener may alternatively, or additionally, comprise a sugar alcohol selected from the group consisting of xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, isomalt, mannitol, polyglycitol, lactitol, erythritol, and combinations thereof. In these or still other embodiments, the sweetener may alternatively, or additionally, comprise sugar oligomers selected from the group consisting of dextrin, fructooligosaccharide, inulin, and combinations thereof. In these or still other embodiments, the sweetener may alternatively, or additionally, comprise a high intensity artificial sweetener selected from the group consisting of aspartame, acesulfame-K, saccharin, sucralose, neotame, steviol glycosides (e.g., stevioside), and combinations thereof.

[0022] Various combinations of polymers and sweeteners may be used without departing from the scope of the present invention. However, in one exemplary embodiment, the shell material may comprise agar with sorbitol, xylitol, isomalt, and combinations thereof.

[0023] The shell material typically is in the form of a mixture comprising a polymer and a sweetener. Generally, the polymer may constitute at least about 0.5 wt%, at least about 1 wt%, or preferably at least about 1.5 wt% of the mixture of the shell material. Typically, however, the polymer constitutes from about 0.5 wt% to about 30 wt%, from about 1 wt% to about 20 wt%, or preferably from about 1.5 wt% to about 10 wt% of the mixture of the shell material.

[0024] In addition, the sweetener generally constitutes at least about 50 wt%, at least about 60 wt%, at least about 70 wt%, at least about 80 wt%, or at least about 90 wt% of the shell material. Typically, however, the sweetener constitutes from about 50 wt% to less than about 100 wt%, from about 60 wt% to about 95 wt%, or preferably from about 70 wt% to about 90 wt% of the shell material. Accordingly, in various embodiments the weight ratio of sweetener to hydrocolloid polymer may be, for example, at least about 1 :1 , at least about 2:1 , at least about 5:1 , or even at least about 10:1.

[0025] Similar to the core material, the shell material also may comprise a diluent, such as water. The concentration of the diluent in the shell material may be controlled or optimized in order to obtain a shell having the desired properties. Typically, however, the diluent (e.g., water) content is less than about 25 wt%, less than about 20 wt%, less than about 15 wt%, or even less than about 10 wt%, the concentration for example being in the range of about 1 wt% to less than about 10 wt%, from about 2 wt% to about 8 wt%, or from about 3 wt% to about 6 wt%, of the shell material. It is to be noted that the shell may include additional components including, for example, one or more colorants. Typically, these additional components are present in relatively low concentrations of, for example, less than about 5 wt% or less than about 2.5 wt% (e.g., less than about 1.5 wt%, less than about 1 wt%, less than about 0.5 wt%, or less than about 0.25 wt% of the shell).

[0026] Typically, a suitable extrudable shell material generally is in the form of a solution or viscous liquid. More particularly, as with the mixture of core material, the viscosity of the liquid mixture of shell material typically is such that it is suitable for use in the selected encapsulation process (e.g., passes freely through a nozzle to conduce (or lead to) droplet formation around the core material droplet during concentric co-extrusion). Thus, generally, the viscosity of the liquid mixture over a range of suitable operating temperatures (e.g., about 700C, about 800C, or about 90°C) is less than about 500 centipoise (cp), less than about 400 cp, less than about 300 cp, or less than about 200 cp, as determined using standard means known in the art. However, in this regard it is to be further noted that the viscosity of the liquid shell material is also generally controlled to ensure a shell of sufficient structural integrity is formed around the core material during the manufacturing process. Thus, typically the viscosity of the shell material over a range of suitable operating temperatures is at least about 1 cp, at least about 25 cp, at least about 50 cp, or at least about 75 cp. Accordingly, the viscosity of the shell material may be in the range of from about 1 cp to about 400 cp, from about 25 cp to about 350 cp, from about 50 cp to about 300 cp, from about 75 cp to about 250 cp, or from about 100 cp to about 200 cp.

Co-extrusion

[0027] Among the various suitable methods for preparation of the flavor beads of the present invention is co-extrusion of the core material and shell material, in accordance with techniques and methods generally known in the art. In general, co-extrusion involves simultaneously passing a hydrophobic liquid core material, which contains a liquid flavor, and the shell material, which comprises a hydrophilic polymer (e.g., a hydrocolloid polymer) and a sweetener, through inner and outer concentric nozzles, respectively. The simultaneous passage of the core material through the inner nozzle and the shell material (i.e., encapsulant) through the outer nozzle results in the formation of droplets or beads composed of a core fluid encapsulated by a layer or shell of the encapsulant. This droplet or bead formation is, at least in part, due to the surface tension that develops as the streams of core material and shell material are simultaneously expelled from the concentric nozzles into the gaseous atmosphere (e.g., air) surrounding the nozzles, and allowed to fall in a downward direction. The flow of the streams of material from the nozzles may be disturbed periodically, to further promote droplet formation. These local disturbances, such as induced vibration, or gravitational, centrifugal, or drag force, generally control particle size.

[0028] In various embodiments, droplets may be cooled by contact with a flow of cooled or chilled gas (e.g., air), or by contacting them with a cooled or chilled liquid medium, in order to further promote bead formation. For example, in various embodiments, individual droplets, or the stream of droplets, may be contacted with air at a temperature of from about -300C to about 300C (e.g., from about -30°C to about 00C, or from about 0°C to about 30°C). For example, in various embodiments, the droplets or stream of droplets may be contacted with air at a temperature of from about -200C to about 0°C, or from about -10°C to about 00C. In still further embodiments, the air may be at a temperature of from about 0°C to about 20°C, or from about 00C to about 100C.

[0029] After contact with air, the individual droplets, or stream of droplets, contact a bath that includes a cooled or chilled liquid medium including an oil such as a mineral oil, or other edible oil such as, for example, silicone oil, vegetable oil, and/or olive oil. For example, in various embodiments, the gel- forming polymer comprises agar and the beads, or stream of droplets, contacts a bath comprising a mineral oil after contact with air.

[0030] Using hydrophilic shell material (e.g., material having a tendency to bind or absorb water) and hydrophobic core material (e.g., material that repels or is repelled by water) promotes formation of a bead containing a core-shell arrangement. In addition, the hydrophilic nature of the shell generally provides resistance to degradation in the presence of materials such as mineral oils and, thus, promotes retention of the core-shell arrangement during further processing of the bead.

[0031] In this regard it is to be noted that not all hydrocolloid polymers will form a shell, or a shell of satisfactory integrity, upon contact with a chilled oil bath in this way. For example, hydrocolloid polymers such as alginate, carrageenan, and pectin generally form a more suitable shell when contacted with an ionic solution, the solution causing cross-linking in the shell that results in a shell having improved properties. Accordingly, the present invention is, additionally or alternatively, directed to a process wherein individual droplets or stream of beads are contacted with a liquid medium comprising an ionic cross- linking agent to promote gel formation via ionic cross-linking. For example, the beads may be contacted with a liquid medium comprising calcium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium lactate, and the like, or combinations thereof. Irrespective of the ionic cross-linking agent selected, its concentration in the liquid medium is typically at least about 2 wt%, at least about 5 wt%, or at least about 10 wt% (e.g., from about 1 wt% to about 20 wt%, from about 2 wt% to about 15 wt%, or from about 5 wt% to about 10 wt%). Temperatures of these liquid media are typically at least about 5°C, at least about 100C, or at least about 200C (e.g., from about 1 °C to about 300C, from about 1 °C to about 20°C, or from about 5°C to about 15°C).

[0032] Various types of co-extrusion processes that proceed generally in accordance with the foregoing discussion may be used to prepare flavor beads of the present invention. One such method is stationary co-extrusion, described in U.S. Patent No. 4,162,282. Submerged co-extrusion, described in U.S. Patent No. 4,422,985, is another suitable method for preparing flavor beads of the present invention. In this method, the stream of core material and shell material is introduced into a cooling liquid to form droplets of the core material encapsulated by the shell material. A still further suitable co-extrusion method is centrifugal co-extrusion.

[0033] All U. S patents identified herein are incorporated by reference for all relevant purposes.

[0034] Irrespective of the precise details of the co-extrusion method (e.g., stationary or submerged co-extrusion) and the media with which the beads are contacted upon exiting the extruder, the flavor beads may undergo further treatment once formed. For example, once formed and collected, the beads may be further treated to reduce their water content. Specifically, the droplets or stream of droplets may be contacted with a dehydrating agent, or desiccant, to remove water from the shell. Suitable dehydrating agents include those generally known in art and approved as food-grade and include, for example, silica gel. The precise manner of contact of the droplets with the dehydrating agent (e.g., duration of contact) may be selected by one skilled in the art in view of the desired properties of the finished beads. Finished Flavor Bead Compositions

[0035] Flavor beads of this invention may be used as an oral breath freshening composition (e.g., alone or after a coating of some kind is applied, using means known in the art, to the surface thereof). Alternatively, the flavor beads may be used as a component in an oral breath freshening composition. Oral compositions in which the flavor beads may be incorporated include, for example, chewing gums (e.g., compressed gums), confections (e.g., hard and chewy candies), nougats, chocolates, toffees, dragees, caramels, lozenges, pressed tablets, capsules, edible films, dentrifices, nuts, foams, mouthwashes, mouthsprays, toothpaste products, powdered drinks, and combinations thereof.

[0036] As noted, the flavor beads of the invention generally include a hydrophobic core and a hydrophilic shell. That is, the flavor beads contain two distinct phases. This feature may be desired in those embodiments in which it is desired for the consumer to be able to clearly discern the presence of the liquid center. As further noted, flavor beads of the present invention generally include a sweetener as a component of the shell and, more particularly, often include a polyol as at least a portion of the sweetener component. Typically at least a portion of the polyol (e.g., sorbitol) is present in the shell in a crystallized state. More particularly, at least about 10 wt %, at least about 20 wt%, at least about 30 wt%, at least about 40 wt%, at least about 50 wt%, or at least about 60 wt% of the polyol is present in a crystallized state.

[0037] Preferable polyols useful in the present invention will crystallize including, for example, sorbitol and erythritol. The crystallizable nature of these polyols provides a shell that is substantially non-transparent, but that preferably may be at least partially translucent. That is, in various embodiments the polyol present in the shell may crystallize, and as a result the shell may allow for light to pass through, but it is not transparent. Accordingly, the shell does not allow a consumer to readily discern visually the presence of the two distinct core and shell phases of the bead. This feature may be desired in various embodiments in which the flavor bead is not the confection itself but, rather, is incorporated into a confection. However, it should be understood that a portion of the polyol sweetener may also be present in an amorphous form, and in such instances this will not detract from the noted advantages provided by that portion present in a crystallized state.

[0038] When used as part of an oral composition, the flavor beads may constitute varying proportions of the composition including, for example, at least about 0.1 wt%, at least about 1 wt%, at least about 5 wt%, or at least about 10 wt% of the oral composition. Additionally, the flavor beads may constitute less than about 50 wt%, less than about 30 wt%, or less than about 20 wt% of the oral composition. For example, the concentration of flavor beads in the oral composition may therefore range from about 0.1 wt% to about 30 wt%, or from about 1 wt% to about 20 wt%, or from about 5 wt% to about 15 wt%. By way of further example, in the case of chewing gums including flavor compositions of the present invention, the concentration of the flavor composition in the chewing gum is typically less than about 5 wt%, less than about 2.5 wt%, or less than about 1 wt % (e.g., from about 0.1 to 2 wt%, or from about 0.25 to about 1 wt% of the oral composition).

[0039] In at least certain embodiments, the flavor beads of the present invention are substantially spherical, and also generally are seamless. Beads exhibiting either or both of these features have generally been observed to be suitable for incorporation into various oral compositions. In addition, such beads are typically more aesthetically pleasing to consumers.

[0040] The diameters of the beads may also vary depending on the intended application. For example, beads which are to be consumed directly, either with or without a coating being applied thereto, may have a larger diameter than a bead which is to be part of a chewing gum or mint confection. Generally, the average bead diameter (for a population of beads) may be less than 4000 μm (e.g., less than about 3500 μm, 3000 μm, 2500 μm, 2000 μm, 1500 μm, or even 1000 μm), as determined using means standard in the art. Typically, the average diameter of the beads may in some embodiments range from about 1 μm to about 5000 μm, from about 250 μm to about 3500 μm, or from about 300 μm to about 3000 μm. In those embodiments in which the flavor beads themselves comprise the oral composition (i.e., are to be consumed directly), the average diameter of the beads may be, for example, about 1000 μm to about 4000 μm, or from about 1000 μm to about 3000 μm, or from about 1000 μm to about 2000 μm. In those embodiments in which the flavor beads are incorporated into a chewing gum or mint confection, the average diameter of the beads may be at or near the lower end of these ranges (e.g., about 200 μm to about 2000 μm, from about 500 μm to about 1500 μm, from about 800 μm to about 1200 μm, or about 1000 μm).

[0041] Irrespective of the intended application for the beads, the diameter of the beads of the present invention preferably is substantially uniform, in order for example to promote consumer appeal and further processing of the beads (e.g., incorporation into oral compositions). For example, in various embodiments, the diameter of a population of beads may vary throughout the population by less than about 15%, less than about 10%, or preferably less than about 5%, as determined by comparing the bead with the smallest nominal diameter and the bead with the largest nominal diameter in the population. In accordance with the present invention, such a population of beads may include at least about 5,000 beads, about 10,000 beads, about 15,000 beads or more.

[0042] The shell thickness for the flavor beads typically depends on a variety of factors including, for example, the intended application of the beads. For example, if a flavor bead intended for incorporation into an oral composition may have a relatively thick shell that is able to withstand preparation of the oral composition that may involve various shear and compressive forces. A relatively thick shell also may be desired in those compositions in which a more delayed release of flavor is desired. However, if the flavor bead itself is the oral composition designed, for example, for breath freshening, such that it is desired for the shell to dissolve in the oral cavity of a consumer relatively quickly, the bead may have a relatively thin shell. In general, however, the average shell thickness of the beads may be less than about 5000 μm, less than about 2500 μm, less than 1000 μm, less than about 500 μm, or less than about 250 μm. For example, the average shell thickness of the beads may generally be about 0.2 μm to about 2000 μm, about 1 μm to about 1000 μm, or about 10 μm to about 500 μm. More particularly, in those embodiments in which a relatively thick shell is desired (e.g., embodiments wherein the bead is to be incorporated into a gum or mint confection), the shell thickness may typically be about 300 μm to about 2000 μm, about 400 μm to about 1500 μm, or about 500 μm to about 1000 μm. In contrast, in those embodiments in which a relatively thin shell is desired (e.g., embodiments wherein the bead is to be consumed directly, either with or without a coating thereon), the shell thickness may be about 0.2 μm to about 300 μm, about 1 μm to about 200 μm, or about 25 μm to about 100 μm.

[0043] Irrespective of the precise thickness of the shell, the shell of the beads of the present invention, both relatively thick shells and relatively thin shells, typically result in a bead exhibiting sufficient structural integrity during storage or further processing, in order to avoid loss and/or oxidation of the liquid flavor encapsulated therein. In this regard it is to be noted that reduction in shell thickness may generally allow for incorporating higher loading of flavor- containing core material. Thus, in those embodiments in which relatively high flavor beads are desired, relatively thin shells may be preferred. But it is to be further noted that in those embodiments in which a more delayed release of flavor may be desired, it may be preferred to use relatively thick shells that generally provide a reduced rate of flavor release as compared to thinner shells.

[0044] The desired shell thickness also may vary with the diameter of the beads. For example, as the diameter of the beads increases, the shell thickness needed to provide the beads with sufficient structural integrity during storage and/or further processing may also generally increase. Thus, in various embodiments, the ratio of the thickness of the shell to the diameter of the bead may be at least about 10:1 , at least about 20:1 , or at least about 30:1. Typically, however, the ratio of the thickness of the shell to the diameter of the bead is about 1 :1 to about 100:1 , about 5:1 to about 75:1 , or about 10:1 to about 50:1.

[0045] In addition to the above-noted parameters relating to the shell of the flavor bead, it is to be noted that the concentration of the shell in the bead and/or the concentration of the core in the bead may typically be between about 10 wt% and about 90 wt%, between about 20 wt% and about 80 wt%, or between about 40 wt% and about 60 wt%, based on the total weight of the bead. Furthermore, the weight ratio of the core to the shell may be at least about 1 :1 , at least about 2.5:1 , or even at least about 5:1. In various embodiments, the weight ratio of the core to the shell is about 1 :1 to about 10:1 , about 1 :1 to about 5:1 , or about 2:1 to about 3:1.

[0046] In this regard it is to be noted, however, that in various other embodiments a higher proportion of shell may be desired. For example, in those embodiments in which the beads are intended for incorporation into oral compositions, the shell may constitute a greater portion of the bead to provide greater structural integrity and storage stability to the bead and also provide a more delayed release of the liquid flavor that is desired in certain oral compositions. A relatively high proportion of shell may also be desirable in those embodiments in which the liquid flavor is prone to oxidation. In accordance with such embodiments, the concentration of the shell may be at least about 50 wt%, at least about 60 wt%, or at least about 70 wt%, based on the total bead weight. Also in accordance with such embodiments, the weight ratio of the core to the shell may be no more than about 1 :4, no more than about 1 :3, or no more than about 1 :2. Accordingly, in such embodiments, the weight ratio of the shell to the core may be, for example, about 1 :1 to about 1 :4, or about 1 :2 to about 1 :3.

[0047] It is to be further noted that the concentration or proportion of the various components of the finished bead, including the concentration of flavor, polymer, sweetener and diluent (e.g., water), may depend upon a variety of factors including, for example, the desired features of the bead (e.g., the texture of the bead, the rate of dissolution of the bead, the barrier properties of the bead shell, etc.) and the intended application of the bead (e.g., to be used alone, or as part of a chewing gum or mint confection).

[0048] In this regard it is to be noted that the compositions of cores of finished beads generally correspond to the core material compositions detailed elsewhere herein. Similarly, the compositions of the shells of finished beads generally correspond to the shell material compositions detailed elsewhere herein, but shells of finished beads generally have reduced moisture content as compared to the shell material utilized in preparation of the bead.

[0049] As previously noted, the water content of the shell of the finished bead may depend, for example, on the intended application and/or the texture associated with the application. In particular, the water content of the bead may vary depending on whether a substantially liquid or more gel-like bead is desired, or alternatively a more rigid or hard bead is desired. In various embodiments wherein a more rigid or hard bead is desired, the water content of the shell may typically be less than about 25 wt%, less than about 15 wt%, or less than about 10 wt% (e.g., less than about 7.5 wt%, less than about 5 wt%, less than about 2.5 wt%, less than about 1.5 wt%, or less than about 1 wt%), based on the total weight of the bead. Typically, the water content of the bead is, for example, within a range of from about 1 wt% to about 25 wt%, from about 2.5 wt% to about 20 wt%, or from about 5 wt% to about 15 wt%, based on the total weight of the bead. In various other preferred embodiments the water content of the shell may typically be near or below the lower limits of these ranges (e.g., within a range of from about 0.5 wt% to about 10 wt%, from about 1 wt% to about 5 wt%, or from about 2 wt% to about 4 wt%, based on the total weight of the bead).

[0050] As noted, the flavor beads of the present invention may provide equal or greater flavor retention and resistance to oxidation than beads of the prior art including shells derived from gelatin, while minimizing or avoiding disadvantages associated with gelatin-based shells, such as consumer perception due, for example, to the gelatin source or the limited dissolution of the gelatin shell. One measure of the improved bead is the rate of dissolution of the shell under conditions simulating the oral cavity of a consumer (e.g., the time required for exemplary pigmented hydrophobic cores to release through the shell of the bead and into a liquid medium having a temperature of approximately 37°C) as compared to the rate observed for a shell that does not contain a sweetener. For example, shells of the beads of the present invention have been observed to exhibit a rate of dissolution that is at least about 25% greater, at least about 50% greater, or at least about 75% greater than that of a gelatin-based shell that does contain a sweetener (e.g., a shell consisting essentially only of gelatin and water, the gelatin concentration therein being at least about 20 wt%, relative to the total weight of the bead). Based on their dissolution properties, flavor beads of the present invention may be suitable for incorporation in oral compositions in which relatively rapid dissolution of the bead is desired including, for example, powdered drinks designed to be dissolved in a liquid (e.g., water) prior to consumption.

[0051] Additionally, or alternatively, the flavor beads of the present invention may be characterized, in at least some embodiments, by their barrier properties, or their ability to retain the flavor component (e.g., prevent premature release of the flavor component) and/or substantially limit, if not prevent, the premature entry of oxygen into the core of the bead. For example, the oxygen barrier of beads of the present invention may be determined, and compared to prior art gelatin-containing beads, using means generally known in the art. One such method involves utilizing a permeability test cell to measure oxygen flow through the bead. In at least certain embodiments, it is currently believed that beads of the present invention exhibit an oxygen barrier that is at least about 50%, at least about 60%, at least about 70%, at least about 80%, at least about 90%, or even at least about 100% greater than the barrier exhibited by prior art gelatin- containing beads.

[0052] As noted above, in some embodiments the shells of the flavor beads may be prepared from hydrophilic polymers other than gelatin, thereby minimizing or avoiding the negative perceptions often associated with gelatin- based shells. However, in certain embodiments of the present invention, a relatively small proportion of gelatin may be present in the shell material that contributes to the advantageous features of the flavor bead (e.g., flavor retention), while still substantially avoiding the negative effects associated with the presence of gelatin. In such embodiments, a substantially gelatin-free shell may contain a relatively small proportion of gelatin (e.g., less than about 20 wt%, less than about 15 wt%, less than about 10 wt%, or less than about 5 wt%). Accordingly, it should be understood that while gelatin-free beads may be desired in at least some embodiments of the present invention, beads including polymer-based shells that contain a relatively low proportion of gelatin are likewise within the scope of the present invention. In this regard it is to be noted that gelatin-containing shells containing a sweetener in accordance with the present invention (e.g., a polyol generally, and/or at a proportion of at least 50 wt% of the shell) may exhibit improved dissolution as compared to conventional gelatin-containing shells. In particular, these gelatin-containing shells may, because of their improved dissolution properties, address, for example, consumer perception issues associated with conventional gelatin-containing shells, or a portion thereof, remaining in the oral cavity of a consumer.

[0053] The present invention is further illustrated by the following Examples, which do not limit the scope of the invention or the manner in which it may be practiced.

EXAMPLES [0054] The following examples describe various preparations of flavor beads in accordance with the foregoing discussion. The beads were prepared by concentric co-extrusion utilizing a pilot-scale co-extrusion encapsulation system (Spherisator 2002) manufactured by Brace GmbH (Germany).

[0055] For the shell material, an agar-sorbitol solution (500 g) was prepared by dissolving agar (15 g) and sorbitol (20Og, Roquette Neosorb®) in water at a temperature of approximately 900C. Commercially available peppermint flavor (Snow Bead®, Northwestern Flavor) was used as the core material. The viscosity of the shell material (at approximately 800C) ranged from approximately 150 to 300 cp. The viscosity of the core material (at approximately 25°C) was less than 1 cp.

[0056] The shell and core material were processed in pilot-scale co-extrusion encapsulation equipment (Spherisator 2002, Brace GMBH) to produce flavor beads having diameters ranging from approximately 800 to 900 microns. The resulting flavor beads exited the co-extruder at a temperature of approximately 900C and were contacted with a mineral oil bath (Mi501 mineral oil commercially available from Spectrum Chemicals) at a temperature of approximately 2°C. The resulting, wet capsules were dried using a rotary basket dryer (Brace GMBH) for from 24 to 36 hours at room temperature (i.e., approximately 20- 25°C). The moisture content of the shells of the finished beads ranged from approximately 5 wt% to 7 wt%.

[0057] Flavor beads were prepared in accordance with the method detailed in Example 1 , except the shell material (500 g) contained agar (15 g) and maltitol (200 g, Roquette Maltisorb®) dissolved in water at a temperature of approximately 900C. As in Example 1 , the core material consisted of commercially available peppermint flavor (Snow Bead®, Northwestern Flavor). The resulting beads exhibited diameters ranging from approximately 800 to 900 mm, and the moisture contents of the shells ranged from approximately 5 wt% to 7 wt%. [0058] Xylitol-containing flavor beads were prepared in accordance with the method detailed in Example 1. The shell material (500 g) contained agar (15 g) and xylitol (200 g, Roquette Xylisorb®) dissolved in water having a temperature of approximately 900C. The core material consisted of commercially available peppermint flavor (Snow Bead®, Northwestern Flavor). The resulting beads exhibited diameters ranging from approximately 800 to 900 mm, and the moisture contents of the shells ranged from approximately 5 wt% to 7 wt%.

[0059] Additional maltitol-containing flavor beads were prepared by the method detailed in Example 1. The shell material (500 g) contained agar (15 g) and maltitol (400 g, Roquette Maltisorb®) dissolved in water at a temperature of approximately 900C. As in the preceding Examples, the core material consisted of commercially available peppermint flavor (Snow bead®, Northwestern Flavor). The resulting beads exhibited diameters ranging from approximately 800 to 900 mm, and the moisture contents of the shells ranged from approximately 5 wt% to 7 wt%.

[0060] Alginate and sorbitol-containing beads were prepared in accordance with the method detailed in Example 1. For the shell material (500 g), alginate (7.5 g) and sorbitol (200 g, Roquette Neosorb®) were dissolved in water at a temperature of approximately 25°C. As in the preceding Examples, the core material consisted of commercially available peppermint flavor (Snow Bead®, Northwestern Flavor). The resulting beads exhibited diameters ranging from approximately 800 to 900 mm, and the moisture contents of the shells ranged from approximately 5 wt% to 7 wt%.

[0061] Alginate and xylitol-containing beads were prepared in accordance with the method detailed in Example 1. For the shell material (500 g), alginate (7.5 g) and xylitol (200 g, Roquette Xylisorb®) were dissolved in water at a temperature of approximately 25°C water. The core material consisted of commercially available peppermint flavor (Snow Bead®, Northwestern Flavor). The resulting beads exhibited diameters ranging from approximately 800 to 900 mm, and the moisture contents of the shells ranged from approximately 5 wt% to 7 wt%.

[0062] The present invention is not limited to the above embodiments and can be variously modified. The above description of the preferred embodiments, including the Examples, is intended only to acquaint others skilled in the art with the invention, its principles, and its practical application so that others skilled in the art may adapt and apply the invention in its numerous forms, as may be best suited to the requirements of a particular use.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A flavor bead comprising a hydrophobic core and a hydrophilic shell, in which the hydrophilic shell comprises a hydrocolloid hydrogel, water, and at least 50 wt.% sweetener.
2. A flavor bead of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the sweetener is crystalline.
3. A flavor bead of claim 1 or 2, wherein the sweetener is selected from the group consisting of sugars, sugar alcohols, sugar oligomers, high intensity sweeteners, and combinations thereof.
4. A flavor bead of any preceding claim, wherein the sweetener comprises a sugar alcohol.
5. A flavor bead of any preceding claim, wherein the hydrocolloid is selected from the group consisting of gelatin, agar, alginate, carrageenan, pectin, gellan gum, and combinations thereof.
6. A flavor bead of any preceding claim in which the shell contains 0.5 wt.% to 30 wt.% hydrocolloid hydrogel, 1 to 10 wt.% water, and a sugar alcohol selected from the group consisting of xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, isomalt, mannitol, polyglycitol, lactitol, erythritol, and combinations thereof.
7. A seamless, substantially spherical flavor bead having a diameter between 1 μm and 5000 μm comprising a hydrophobic core containing a liquid flavor and a hydrophilic shell having a thickness of 0.2 μm and 2000 μm, in which the hydrophilic shell comprises a hydrocolloid hydrogel, water, and at least 50 wt.% sweetener.
8. A flavor bead of any preceding claim in which the bead diameter is between 250 μm and 3500 μm and the shell thickness is between 10 μm and 500 μm.
9. A flavor bead of any preceding claim which contains a liquid flavor comprising a fruit flavor selected from the group consisting of lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit, tangerine, strawberry, apple, cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, banana, pineapple, cantaloupe, muskmelon, watermelon, grape, currant, mango, kiwi, and combinations thereof; a mint flavor selected from the group consisting of spearmint, peppermint, wintergreen, basil, corn mint, menthol, and combinations thereof; a spice flavor selected from the group consisting of cinnamon, vanilla, clove, chocolate, nutmeg, coffee, licorice, eucalyptus, ginger, cardamom, anise and combinations thereof; and combinations thereof.
10. A flavor bead of any preceding claim, in which the core material contains 20 wt% to 80 wt% liquid flavor and further contains an edible oil selected from the group consisting of a medium chain triglyceride, soybean oil, olive oil, canola oil, sunflower seed oil, and combinations thereof.
11. A flavor bead of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the composition is substantially gelatin-free.
12. A flavor bead of any preceding claim, wherein the sweetener comprises sorbitol or erythritol.
13. A method to form a flavor bead containing a hydrophobic core encapsulated by a hydrophilic shell comprising a hydrocolloid and a sweetener comprising:
a) extruding a core material containing a liquid flavor through an inner concentric nozzle to provide a core material extrudate,
b) simultaneously extruding a shell material containing a hydrocolloid and a crystal I izable sweetener through an outer concentric nozzle, and c) forming a flavor bead by contacting the core material extrudate and shell material extrudate,
wherein the shell contains at least 50 wt.% sweetener which is at least 10% crystallized.
14. A method of claim 13 wherein the sweetener comprises a sugar alcohol.
PCT/US2008/069740 2007-07-13 2008-07-11 Flavor bead compositions WO2009012131A3 (en)

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Cited By (1)

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