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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
FLAVOR POUCH
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/057791
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A flavor pouch (20) includes a porous covering (22) that encloses a carrier (30) having a flavorant. The carrier (30) may be solid or particulate. Flavorants may be one or more of tea, coffee, rose hips, honey, royal jelly, fruit extracts, mint, sweeteners, ginger, pepper extract, exotic flavors, ethnic flavors and the like. Where the carrier comprises a plurality of beads, the beads may have randomly dissolvable encapsulation to extend the time duration of flavor release. To use the flavor pouch (20) , it is placed in the mouth and masticated or exposed to saliva to thereby release the flavorant.

Inventors:
NEIDLE BRUCE (US)
NEWMAN KENNETH (US)
SWEENEY WILLIAM R (US)
HAYES CYNTHIA S (US)
MITTEN ROBERT T (US)
CRAWFORD DANIELLE R (US)
Application Number:
IB2006/004077
Publication Date:
May 24, 2007
Filing Date:
November 21, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PHILIP MORRIS PRODUCTS S.A. (Quai Jeanrenaud 3, Neuch√Ętel, CH-2000, CH)
International Classes:
A23F3/40; A23L1/22; B65B29/02
Foreign References:
US5167244A1992-12-01
JPH03240665A1991-10-28
US5927052A1999-07-27
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MILLBURN, Julie, Elizabeth (Reddie & Grose, 16 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8PL, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:

- io -

CLAIMS :

1. A flavor pouch for oral delivery of a flavorant, comprising: a porous membrane of crescent form to be received in a human oral cavity; and a flavorant enclosed by the porous membrane, operable to release a flavor through the porous membrane into the oral cavity.

2. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the membrane comprises a web.

3. A flavor pouch according to claim 2, wherein the membrane is folded to provide a pocket in which the flavorant is disposed.

4. A flavor pouch according to claim 1 , wherein the flavorant comprises a dissolvable or non-dissolvable strip of material containing at least one flavor.

5. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the flavorant comprises a plurality of flavor beads and/or powder.

6. A flavor pouch according to claim 5, wherein the flavor beads are encapsulated.

7. A flavor pouch according to claim 6, wherein the flavor beads are encapsulated and provide time-release of the flavor.

8. A flavor pouch according to claim 1 , wherein the flavorant comprises a high viscosity material.

9. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the flavorant comprises a polymeric material containing a flavor matrix.

10. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the flavorant comprises an artificial sweetener.

11. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the flavorant includes a flavor selected from the group consisting of tea, rose hips, honey, royal jelly, fruit extract, coffee, ginger, pepper extract, and mint.

12. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the major dimension of each flavor pouch is about 1.5 cm to about 3.0 cm.

13. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein each flavor pouch has no sharp corners .

14. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein each flavor pouch has rounded corners .

15. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the porous membrane is not soluble in saliva and has structural integrity sufficient to retain the flavorant while the flavor pouch is used in a human oral cavity.

16. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the porous membrane includes combination of natural and synthetic material .

17. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the porous membrane is a non-woven web.

18. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the porous membrane is sealed only along an arcuate heat seal .

19. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the porous membrane has a basis weight of 5 g/m 2 to 25 g/m 2 .

20. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the porous membrane is a water-permeable, water-insoluble stain resistant polymer membrane .

21. A flavor pouch according to claim 1, wherein the porous membrane includes a coating of a barrier material which minimizes staining of the flavor pouch exterior.

22. A method for making a flavor pouch for oral delivery of flavor to an oral cavity comprising the steps of: combining a flavor with a carrier; enclosing the carrier with a porous membrane to form a flavor pouch.

23. A method according to claim 22, wherein a flavor containing dissolvable film is contained within each flavor pouch.

24. A method according to claim 22, further comprising trimming overlapping portions of the porous membrane to provide rounded corners .

25. A flavor pouch for oral delivery of a flavorant, comprising: a porous membrane to be received in a human oral cavity, wherein the porous membrane has a shape selected from the group consisting of elliptical, oblong, polygonal, or generally like a segment of a circle with rounded or filleted corners; and a flavorant enclosed by the porous membrane, operable to release a flavor through the porous membrane into the oral cavity.

26. A flavor pouch for oral delivery of a flavorant, comprising: a porous membrane substantially free of oral cavity irritant to be received in a human oral cavity; and a flavorant enclosed by the porous membrane, operable to release a flavor through the porous membrane into the oral cavity.

Description:

FLAVOR POUCH

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This disclosure concerns a flavor pouch for oral delivery of one or more selected flavorants .

SUMMARY

Broadly, the flavor pouch of this disclosure comprises an external wrapper that encloses a flavor source. Preferably the pouch is sized to comfortably be received in a human mouth. In addition, the pouch may be sized so that it can be moved around inside a human mouth, while not materially interfering with speech or oral breathing.

The external wrapper preferably comprises a membrane that is sufficiently porous to allow transport through the membrane of flavor from the source. A preferred configuration of the pouch is generally- crescent-shaped. Such a crescent shape facilitates manufacture and reduces the amount of peripheral edge sealing that would otherwise be needed. The external wrapper membrane is preferably resistant to deterioration in the presence of saliva and bacteria.

The flavor source may comprise a strip of material having the desired flavor characteristics. Those flavor characteristics may be natural, synthetic, artificial or combinations thereof. Moreover, those flavor characteristics may be (i) applied to the surface of the strip, (ii) integral with the material of the strip, or (iii) additives in the body of the strip material .

Other flavor sources may be beads, with or without soluble encapsulation. Encapsulation may provide a time-release function so that the flavorant is dispensed over a longer time period than would otherwise occur. Alternatively, the flavor source may also be a solid or a highly viscous fluid. Furthermore, the flavor source may be a matrix, either natural or synthetic, capable of holding flavorant materials or compounds .

Preferred flavorants for use in the pouch include, without limitation, both natural and artificial flavor compounds . Preferred flavors are preferably adult flavors that are neither sweet nor sour. Preferred adult flavors for use are, again without limitation, tea, rose hips, honey, royal jelly, fruit extracts, vitamins, coffee, mint,

spices such as ginger, pepper extract, exotic fruits, exotic vegetables, international, and ethnic flavors.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 is a top view of a flavor pouch;

Figure 2 is cross-sectional view of the flavor pouch taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1,-

Figure 3 is a cross-sectional view of a second embodiment of the flavor pouch of Figure 1 with a different flavor source;

Figure 4 is a cross-sectional view of a third embodiment of the flavor pouch of Figure 1 with still another flavor source,-

Figure 5 is a plan view of a blank for making the flavor pouch;

Figure 6 is a plan view of the blank with a filling in place;

Figure 7 is a plan view of the folded blank; and

Figure 8 is a plan view showing the location of a thermal weld.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Turning now to Figure 1, a flavor pouch 20 is depicted according to one embodiment of this disclosure. Overall dimensions of the pouch 20 are selected so that it can be comfortably received in a human oral cavity. Typically, the pouch 20 is sized so as to comfortably fit between the consumer's cheek and gum in the jaw area. By way of example, and without limitation, the major dimension of the pouch 20 may be in the range of about 1.5 cm to about 3.0 cm (about 0.6 inches to about 1.2 inches) while the transverse dimension of the pouch may be in the range of about 0.9 cm to about 1.9 cm (about 0.35 to about 0.75 inches) . With such dimensions, the pouch 20 can be comfortably positioned in the oral cavity or on the tongue. Where the pouch 20 is designed to be retained between the cheek and the gums of the oral cavity, the proportions of the pouch may be smaller. With dimensions in the ranges set out above, the pouch 20 can be retained in the oral cavity without any substantial interference with speech or breathing. Such a pouch 20 can also be maneuvered or manipulated by the tongue to move the pouch around in the oral cavity.

In the illustrated embodiment, the pouch 20 is shaped generally like a segment of a circle with rounded or filleted corners. Preferably, the pouch 20 is substantially free of oral cavity irritant, which, as used herein, means that the shape, configuration, and position of the pouch 20 do not irritate oral tissues (e.g. , gums) . Furthermore, "substantial" and "substantially free" as used in connection with oral cavity irritant mean that the shape, configuration, and position of the pouch 20 does not irritate oral tissues {e.g., gums) in a time frame having the same order of magnitude as a typical length of time during which the pouch 20 is enjoyed by a user. Generally, sharp corners are preferably avoided as sharp corners may lead to oral discomfort . In addition to sharp corners, sealed edge potions (seams) along the consumer's gum base may lead to oral discomfort. Accordingly, when inserted into the mouth and aligned to the consumer's gum base, the presently disclosed pouch 20 that is substantially free of oral cavity irritant does not have any sealed edge potion or sharp corner along the consumer's gum base. While the illustrated embodiment of the pouch 20 is generally a circular segment, many other configurations are within the contemplation of this disclosure. For example, other shapes may also be selected for the pouch 20 including, for example, elliptical, oblong, polygonal with rounded corners or without rounded corners when the number of sides is sufficiently large that the non-rounded corners do not create a substantial irritant .

The pouch 20 preferably includes a cover material 22 that is suitable for oral use and which is not soluble in saliva. More particularly, it is preferred that the cover material 22 of the pouch 20 maintain sufficient structural integrity during the time period that the pouch 20 is used that the cover material 22 will retain flavorant carrier material contained therein. The cover material 22 may be fabricated from natural material, synthetic material, or a combination of natural and synthetic materials. Preferably, the cover material 22 is selected so as to be tasteless and may comprise a woven or non-woven web. Nevertheless, it is further contemplated that the cover material 22 may interact with the flavorant and/or its carrier in the presence of saliva to generate a more complex flavor.

Where the pouch 20 has a crescent shape, the . cover material 22 may be folded on itself so that it has an integral edge portion 24 and overlapping edge portions 26. The overlapping edge portions 26 are sealed together. Preferably, that sealing function is accomplished by an adhesive or by mutual sealing the overlapping edge portions 26. Such mutual sealing may be thermal or sonic. Where the pouch 20 has a different external contour, the cover material 22 for the pouch 20 may be in two overlapping pieces. If desired, the crescent-shaped pouch 20 may also be fabricated from two overlapping pieces. Where overlapping pieces are used, the peripheral edge portions of the pieces are preferably sealed together, as described above.

While pouches have traditionally used cellulose fiber as the cover material, e.g., tea bags, alternative pouch materials may also be advantageously used as the covering material disclosed herein. Alternative cover materials with a neutral or pleasant taste or odor preferably have the properties of stain resistance, color, water permeability and/or porosity, and/or water insolubility.

Additionally, the cover materials used for the pouch materials can be provided with predetermined levels for basis weight and/or wet strength to minimize breakage of the pouch cover material during storage and use. For example, pouch cover materials may have a basis weight of about 5 to about 25 grams/square meter (g/m 2 ) , such as 5-10 g/m 2 , 10-15 g/m 2 , 15-20 g/m 2 , or 20-25 g/m 2 , and/or a wet tensile cross- direction (CD) strength of about 15 N/m to about 75 N/m (Newtons/meter) , such as 15-30 N/m, 30-45 N/m, 45-60 N/m, or 60-75 N/m. The basis weight and/or tensile strength are preferably sufficient for maintaining integrity of the pouch 20 so that any internal material will be retained therein. One exemplary pouch cover material has a basis weight of about 16.5 g/m 2 and a wet tensile CD strength of 68 N/m.

In an exemplary embodiment, a water-permeable, water-insoluble, porous, stain-resistant polymer membrane can be used as the pouch cover material to allow flavor from a barrier material to permeate through the pouch cover material thereby minimizing absorption or trapping of the flavor within the pouch cover material. If desired, a pouch cover material 22 may include a coating of a barrier material to

minimize staining of the pouch material by its contents. Preferred characteristics of the covering material 22 include controlled permeability and high mouth comfort . These characteristics are available from non-woven polypropylene fabric which is preferred for material 22.

Regardless of the external contour of the pouch 20, the integral and/or overlapping edge portions define an internal cavity enclosed by the cover material 22 sized to receive a carrier for the flavorant . In one embodiment (see Figure 2) , the carrier 30 may be a substantially solid material such as a dissolvable film that is contained within the cover material 22. The flavorant itself may be a surface treatment of the carrier 30, a mixture with the material of the carrier, or a combination of such a mixture and a surface treatment. For such an embodiment, the flavorant itself may be selected from the group consisting of tea, rose hips, honey, royal jelly, fruit extracts, vitamins, coffee, fruits, mint, vegetables, sweeteners, international flavors, ginger, pepper extract, exotic flavors, and ethnic flavors. Other flavors are also within the contemplation of this disclosure, whether natural, synthetic, or a combination of natural and synthetic. Moreover, flavors can be combined as may be desired, e.g., coffee-mint, pomegranate-kiwi . The flavor or combination of flavors is selected to enhance consumer sensorial enjoyment of the product.

The carrier 30 may completely fill the chamber defined by the cover material 22. Alternatively, there may be substantial empty volume in the pouch 20 and around the carrier 30.

Preferred materials for the carrier 30 include polymeric matrices, or materials with very high viscosity (i.e., having a caramel-like or taffy-like consistency) . If desired, the carrier 30 may comprise one or more pieces of dried fruit. Generally, however, the flavorant is infused within or inherently part of the carrier to provide a long-lasting flavor experience. The carrier 30 may also be soluble so that it dissolves in saliva over time and passes through the porous covering material 22 into the oral cavity along with the flavorant .

Another embodiment of the carrier 32 (see Figure 3) comprises a granular or powder material . Again, the granular or powder material may comprise a polymeric matrix, or substantially solid material where the flavorant is (i) a surface coating, (ii) incorporated in the material particles, or (iii) mixed with the carrier material particles.

Another embodiment of the carrier 34 (see Figure 4) comprises a plurality of beads. Each bead 34 may be generally spherical or irregularly shaped. Moreover, each bead 34 may be fabricated (i) from the flavorant material, (ii) from a matrix incorporating the flavorant, (iii) with the flavorant as a surface coating, or (iv) a combination of two or more of those features . To increase the time duration of flavor release, one or more of the beads 34 may be encapsulated is a soluble coating which impedes flavor release from some of the beads 34 while other beads are active in flavor release. Thus, encapsulation of all or some of the beads 34 promotes flavor release over a substantially extended time period.

As with the carrier 30 of the first embodiment, the flavorant used with the carriers 32, 34 of this embodiment may be selected from the group consisting of tea, rose hips, honey, royal jelly, fruit extracts, vitamins, coffee, fruits, mint, vegetables, ginger, pepper extract, sweeteners, exotic flavors, and ethnic flavors. Other flavors are also within the contemplation of this disclosure, whether natural, synthetic, or a combination of natural and synthetic. Moreover, flavors can be combined as may be desired, e.g., coffee- mint, pomegranate-kiwi . The flavor or combination of flavors is selected to enhance consumer sensorial enjoyment of the product.

It should also be noted that this disclosure contemplates use of the pouch to provide functional benefits in the health and beauty, medicinal, and cosmetic fields. For example, the pouch might be used for oral delivery of medication. In such an application, the medication may be in addition to a flavorant or may comprise the flavorant. Furthermore, this disclosure contemplates that the pouch 20 may include two or more flavorants so that compound flavors may be generated.

From the foregoing, it will be observed that a method of flavor delivery to an oral cavity results from the fabrication and use of the pouch 20 according to this disclosure. As an initial step, a desired flavorant is combined with a carrier. That combination step may include the mixing of two or more flavor compounds together to obtain the desired taste. The flavor compounds may be naturally occurring, or synthetic, or a combination of both. Where a solid carrier is used, that carrier 30 (see Figure 2) may be coated with the flavorant, or fabricated with the flavorant as an internal component . Where a particulate carrier is used, that carrier 32 may also be mixed with a particulate flavorant. Or, the flavorant can be incorporated into the carrier material followed by comminution to the desired particulate size. Combinations of mixture and incorporation are also acceptable. For beads (see Figure 4) the beads 34 may be fabricated entirely from the flavorant, or may be fabricated as a mixture of a carrier and the flavorant. To enhance the duration of flavor release, some or all of the beads 34 or particles 32 may be encapsulated. The encapsulation compound is preferably soluble in saliva so that as the encapsulation coating dissolves, additional flavorant is released.

With the flavorant having been combined with a carrier, the carrier is placed or deposited on a blank 40 (see Figure 5) which may be circular as shown. The blank 40 is a piece of porous covering material 22 described more particularly above. Preferably, the material of the blank 40 is substantially tasteless and may comprise a membrane .

Next (see Figure 6) , the flavorant and carrier material 42 are deposited on the blank 40 such that the flavorant and carrier material 42 are spaced inwardly away from the perimeter of the blank 40.

Depending on the desired external contour of the finished piece, a second blank may be placed on top of the first blank 40' and the carrier material 42. In the presently preferred arrangement, one part of the first blank 40 is folded over the carrier material and the other part of the blank 40 so as to define a substantially crescent- shaped article (see Figure 7) . Peripheral edge portions of the blank 40 are then sealed to one another (see Figure 8) . Sealing may be accomplished by applying an edible adhesive, or by bonding peripheral

portions of the blank 40 together. Such bonding may be a form of mutual sealing 46, e.g., thermal or sonic, if desired. Preferably, the overlapping parts of the blank 40 are trimmed along the folded edge so as to provide rounded corners 44, thereby effectively eliminating any sharp corners .

With the carrier thus enclosed in the covering material, the assembly is ready for distribution and, ultimately, use. In use, the assembly is placed in the consumer's mouth or oral cavity. If placed on the tongue, saliva contacts the carrier and flavorant through the covering material 22 thus releasing the flavor into the oral cavity. The flavorants typically stimulate production of additional saliva in the mouth so that continuing saliva contact and flavorant release occurs .

Flavorant release may also result from mastication of the carrier between the consumer's teeth. In such a situation, the flavorant release is accomplished by occasional chewing of the pouch. Extended- time flavor release is then accomplished by occasional chewing to release additional flavor.

Where the flavorant is in bead form, the flavorant may comprise a liquid contained in one or more rupturable beads. In use, mastication of the pouch 20 will release flavorant on demand. Alternatively, continued exposure to saliva may dissolve the beads thereby exposing the flavorant. Furthermore, encapsulated beads provide randomly delayed release of flavorant from corresponding beads so that flavor release occurs over a relatively extended duration of time.

The pouch 20 of this disclosure has a distinctive, neat, and attractive appearance. Moreover, the pouch 20 is sized so as to be self-aligning to the gum base when inserted into the mouth. Furthermore, the absence of orally irritating corners and edges improves the mouth comfort or feel of the resulting pouch 20.

Where the term "about" is used in this specification as a modifier for a specific number, that term is intended to include not only the specific number but also a tolerance for that number of +/- 10%.

The pouch of a flavorant and carrier in a tasteless, porous covering provides a new delivery system for flavorants to adults . It

will also be apparent to those skilled in the art that numerous modifications, variations, substitutions, and equivalents exist for features of the invention that do not materially depart from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is expressly intended that all such modifications, variations, substitutions, and equivalents which fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims be embraced thereby.