The Beverage Industry Can Address Difficult Beverage Reformulations with an Electronic Laboratory Notebook
I remember when Crystal Pepsi was introduced twenty years ago. It tasted practically the same as regular Pepsi but was cool because it was clear. Every other clear soft drink tasted like citrus. It is still my favorite soft drink, and I was saddened when they pulled it off the shelves shortly after introducing it. Although the case of Crystal Pepsi is one of the more well-known incidents of failed formulation and subsequent reformulation in the beverage industry, it’s important to remember that beverage reformulations are common. New sweeteners or other ingredients often lead companies to investigate new formulations that may cut costs, appeal to a new customer base or help increase market share. The Coca-Cola Company recently tried to reformulate their Vitaminwater by replacing its traditional sugar with stevia. However, consumer backlash forced the firm to revert to its original formulation. Reformulations are difficult because consumers become accustomed to a product’s flavor, and sweeteners may have distinct flavors that are difficult to mask. Firms in the beverage industry invest significant time and money into researching and developing complex beverage formulations. An electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) can help address some of the inherent difficulties associated with reformulating beverages through these valuable features:
Knowledge management – As Benjamin Franklin wisely noted, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” For scientists, knowledge is often our greatest asset, especially until a final product is generated. However, knowledge that is poorly managed or lost in the shuffle has essentially no value to a firm. An ELN can help your lab manage protocols, data, results and any other information relevant to a project. Entries can be organized by project or date and are fully searchable by project, experiment type, date intervals and chemical structure.
Collaboration between formulation labs and firm – Some firms may choose to outsource some or all of the formulations processes to companies with expertise in that area. If multiple parties participate in your research, an ELN can help facilitate collaboration by providing a central location to deposit information and communicate. Workflows can be monitored and reviewed by multiple users to make sure that the teams stay on track. Users all over the world can easily access the notebook in real-time with no time zone constraints.
IP security – For a firm in the beverage industry, a product’s formulation may be what sets it apart from the competition. Firms often keep their beverage formulations classified and may even store them in a high-security vault. If the final product is this confidential, then the processes and data leading up to it should be treated in the same manner. An ELN functions as a digital vault for your lab’s data. All inputs are secure with access designated to users by project or entry. Data can be stored on site or in a cloud with high security.
Firms in the beverage industry can help streamline the reformulating process by implementing an ELN. ELN’s offer valuable features that can help manage knowledge, facilitate collaboration, and protect IP. Visit the Accelrys website to learn more about how an ELN can meet your firm’s needs.