May 2004 Issue--French culinary wisdom has met the natural foods market in a line of 100% natural vegetable juice concentrates. These vegetable juices are more concentrated than regular juice concentrates, with a 65-70 brix compared to approximately 30 brix. Additionally, they are highly flavorful, and free of the salt and vinegar other vegetable juices use as preservatives.

The market for natural vegetable juices has been expanded by this innovation from Diana Vegetal (Valley Cottage, N.Y.), as the juices no longer are limited to applications where high salt and vinegar flavor is acceptable, such as in salad dressings. Newer product applications include soups, sauces, seasonings, salad dressings, prepared meals, baby foods, drinks, flavoring compounds, functional foods, dietetics and other prepared foods in which natural vegetable flavor is desired.

The most widespread use of these highly concentrated vegetable juices is liquid soups. According to Thierry Jones, general manager, one of the company's most popular offerings is the Mire Poix blend. This product incorporates onion, carrot and celery juices to form the traditional culinary vegetable base that has been the cornerstone flavor of soups and sauces for centuries. Jones claims these vegetable concentrates are good for any application where natural is a good fit and, because of this, they are able to go where some flavors cannot. In addition to the single vegetable juice concentrates, Diana Vegetal has launched culinary aid forms of each vegetable, including sautéed, poached and sweated notes. Beyond the normal line of vegetable juice concentrates, the company also is rolling out an organic line, and organic onion, carrot, celery and red beet (color) already are available.

In order to understand the advantages of using these vegetable juice concentrates in comparison to others on the market, Diana Vegetal tomato concentrate offers a good example. Usual tomato juice concentrates are approximately 28-30 brix, whereas the Diana tomato juice concentrate is 65 brix. Diana was able to achieve this while eliminating the sometimes overwhelming burnt flavor and reducing the dark color present in many other tomato juice concentrates. The result is a concentrated tomato juice that is highly flavorful and more versatile. Because these vegetable juice concentrates are different than the usual products on the market, Diana Vegetal has a website that contains recipe ideas for formulations (see chart). Additionally, the company has on staff three chefs (one in the U.S. and two in France) that are available to help customers improve the quality and cost of their product applications.

Utilizing Diana Vegetal juice concentrates is more cost effective, even though they are more expensive per weight unit (because of their more concentrated nature). Their high flavor profile and concentration allows usage rates to be much lower, and many can be used at the 0.5-1% level. Cost also is saved in reducing cooking times, as longer cook times may be necessary to produce the same vegetable notes imparted in the Diana Vegetal blends. The natural juice concentrates from Diana Vegetal are suitable in mainstream applications, as well as in low-sodium, vegetarian and vegan products. Their versatility is extended as well to their labeling, as they may be labeled as either natural juices or “natural flavors.”

For more information:

Diana Vegetal Inc., Thierry Jones