Malt Products Corporation (MPC), a manufacturer of malted barley extract and other natural, nutritious sweeteners, has designed an Innovations Lab to help its food & beverage industry customers test ingredients, experiment with new formulations and gain insight into critical flavor and stability properties. The lab will be utilized for a wide variety of products, including baked goods, malt and oat-based beverages, creamers, nut butters, chocolates, confections, dressings & marinades, yogurts, as well as further the company’s push into the burgeoning plant-based proteins sector.

Amid a consumer push for more natural, nutritious ingredients, Malt Products Corp. regularly helps customers reformulate food and beverage products as they turn away from artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners. The company’s portfolio of pantry-friendly sweeteners includes MaltRite malt extract, OatRite oat extract and CaneRite sugar cane molasses, to name just a few. MPC produces both dry and liquid sweeteners.

Located in the company’s Minneapolis office, the lab incorporates a variety of recent infrastructure investments including ovens, mixers, shearers, proofers and temperature-controlled incubators, as well as analytical equipment such as spectrometers and instruments monitoring water activity and rheology. It collaborates with MPC’s main manufacturing facility in Dayton, OH to help customers expediently transition from development to production.

In addition to being all natural, many of MPC’s sweeteners contain health benefits such as proteins and antioxidants. For baked goods, many assist with the Maillard reaction for attractive browning, and protect shelf life by controlling viscosity. Malt extract in particular is also an attractive ingredient for the exploding non-alcoholic beer market, serves as an excellent base for fermented drinks like Kombucha, and supports the viability of probiotics in specialty teas.

The new space is a combination analytical zone and kitchen for product development and testing, sensory evaluation and shelf life testing, allowing food & beverage companies to branch out into new ingredients and flavoring possibilities. The lab also features office space for meetings, problem solving, and interactive product and business development.

“As more food & beverage companies look to revamp their products using all-natural ingredients, the new Innovation Lab provides a hub for formulation experimentation, testing the viability of various ingredients regarding flavor, binding, shelf life and other critical factors,” said Amy Targan, president of Malt Products Corp. “We want to make it as easy as possible to prototype new products with healthier, pantry-friendly ingredients, and for our customers to understand these products’ mission-critical characteristics."