Abertay's Food Innovators get Scomac's Whisky Butterscotch Sauce back on shop shelves
The Food Innovation team at Abertay University have got Scomac’s popular Whisky Butterscotch Sauce back on shop shelves.
Scomac – a Dundee based company whose products are sold in outlets across the country – made the decision to withdraw the sauce because the ingredients kept separating and clogging the neck of the bottle.
Due to the popularity of the product – which is made using only natural ingredients – Scomac decided to invest in finding a solution to this problem, and got in touch with Food Innovation @ Abertay (FIA) to see if they could help.
FIA suggested Scomac apply to the Innovation Portal – which brings local businesses together with scientists to help them improve their products and their competitiveness – for funding, and this enabled the project to go ahead.
After testing the recipe, the team at FIA discovered that it was one of the ingredients in the product becoming unstable that was causing it to clog, and set to work on finding a solution.
Jon Wilkin, Senior Food Technologist at FIA, explains:
“There’s quite a lot of hidden chemistry in food production, so companies come to FIA with all sorts of different problems.
“Different flours, for example, contain different types and concentrations of starches and – when it comes to sauces – they determine whether it will be a thick sauce or a thin one.
“When using only natural ingredients – as Scomac do – if you don’t have exactly the right balance of ingredients in your recipe, it can lead to them separating out again once they’ve been mixed together because they aren’t able to bind together properly in the way that they should.
“In Scomac’s case, this meant that all the fats from the butter and cream rose to the top and blocked the neck of the bottle so customers had to warm the bottle to melt the cream and butter before they could get it out.
“Other companies use artificial stabilisers and thickeners to prevent things like that from happening, but we had to find a different kind of solution for Scomac.
“So, we did a few different experiments with their recipe and found that increasing the concentration and altering the characteristics of one of the particular ingredients solved the problem.
“We also experimented with different high speed mixing techniques so that we could offer them a range of solutions within their budget – and in line with their no artificial ingredients policy.”
Speaking about the help they received from FIA, Ken Andrew, General Manager of Scomac Ltd, said:
“We engaged the services of FIA in an attempt to resolve a long-standing problem with one of our most popular products that we’d withdrawn from the market.
“From the outset, we felt at ease working with FIA because they showed a real empathy for the problem and gave us a lot of confidence that they’d be able to find a solution for us.
“In the event, a solution was indeed proposed and we’re delighted that we're going to be able to re-introduce our Whisky Butterscotch Sauce to the market, something we would have been unable to do without FIA assistance.
“It tastes just as good as it did before, but the ingredients now no longer separate out, which makes it look the way it should and means that customers can easily get it out of the bottle and onto their ice cream.
“We’re proud to be able to say that no artificial colourings, flavourings, preservatives, thickeners or stabilisers are used in the production of our Whisky Butterscotch Sauce, and we hope to have it back on the shelves within a matter of weeks.
“FIA were a pleasure to work with and we would not hesitate to recommend the resource, or to use it again, if the need arose.”
Scomac products can be found in outlets across the UK, and the company has a growing customer base overseas.
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Notes to Editors:
- To find out more about Food Innovation @ Abertay please visit http://www.foodinnovation.abertay.ac.uk/
- The Innovation Portal http://www.innovationportal.co.uk/index.html has been established to promote and foster productive knowledge transfer between the Universities of Dundee and Abertay, The James Hutton Institute (formerly SCRI and the Macaulay Land Research Institute) and Scottish industry. Its aim is to improve the competitiveness of local businesses by bringing together innovative companies with scientists, technologists and engineering experts keen to apply their expertise to the needs of industry.
- Scomac was initially put in touch with FIA through Interface http://www.interface-online.org.uk/ back in 2010, who awarded them an SFC Innovation Voucher. This has led to further collaboration between Scomac and FIA, benefitting both parties.