Title:
Oral pouched products including tobacco beads
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pouched, oral tobacco product includes a porous membrane, a loose tobacco material, and tobacco beads. The tobacco beads are formed from agglomerated tobacco fines and dust. The fines and dust are mixed with water, optionally a binder, and optionally flavorants to produce a wet mass that is extruded and spheronized to form tobacco beads. The tobacco beads are dispersed throughout loose tobacco material of desired size to form a material that is enclosed in a porous membrane.



Inventors:
Zimmermann, Stephen G. (Midlothian, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/155635
Publication Date:
12/18/2008
Filing Date:
06/06/2008
Assignee:
Philip Morris USA Inc. (Richmond, VA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
131/352
International Classes:
A24B3/18; A24B13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAYES, DIONNE WALLS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harness, Dickey & Pierce-Altria (Reston, VA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A pouched, oral tobacco product comprising: a porous membrane; loose tobacco material; and solid, extruded tobacco beads comprising: a majority amount of tobacco having a particle size of less than about 60 mesh, the tobacco fines being dispersed uniformly throughout the entirety of each of the solid, extruded tobacco beads; and a quantity of water sufficient to bind the tobacco fines together, wherein the solid, extruded tobacco beads and the loose tobacco material are enclosed within the porous membrane.

2. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the loose tobacco material has a particle size from about 20 mesh to 400 mesh.

3. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the solid, extruded tobacco beads further include at least one non-tobacco flavorant.

4. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the solid, extruded tobacco beads further include at least one diluent agent.

5. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the solid, extruded tobacco beads are substantially spherical or oval.

6. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the solid, extruded tobacco beads each have a diameter of about 0.1 mm to about 2.5 mm.

7. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the solid, extruded tobacco beads further include at least one binder.

8. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 7, wherein the binder is sugar beet fiber.

9. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the pouched, oral tobacco product includes about 5% to 90% solid, extruded tobacco beads by weight.

10. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the solid, extruded tobacco beads include a polymeric coating on at least a portion of the surface of each of the solid, extruded tobacco beads.

11. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 10, wherein the polymeric coating is a time release coating.

12. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 10, wherein the polymeric coating includes at least one flavorant and/or at least one active compound.

13. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 12, wherein the at least one active compound is selected from the group consisting of vitamins, minerals, nutraceuticals, energizing agents, soothing agents, sweeteners, coloring agents, amino acids, antioxidants, preservatives and combinations thereof.

14. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the pouch is sized and configured to fit comfortably between the cheek and gum of a user's mouth.

15. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the solid, extruded tobacco beads includes about 10 wt % to about 90 wt % tobacco fines.

16. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein moisture content of the tobacco beads is about 0.5 wt % to about 25 wt %.

17. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the pouched, oral tobacco product has dimensions of less than about two inches.

18. The pouched, oral tobacco product of claim 1, wherein the ratio of the amount of tobacco fine to water in each of the solid, extruded tobacco beads during manufacture is about 1:4 to about 4:1.

19. A method of making an oral pouched tobacco product comprising the steps of: grinding tobacco, said grinding step establishing a size distribution of particles, said distribution including tobacco fines and larger tobacco particles; and utilizing said tobacco fines to form an agglomeration of tobacco fines by: separating said tobacco fines from said larger particles; forming agglomerated tobacco fines; and placing said agglomerated tobacco fines, together with said larger tobacco particles in a pouch comprising a porous membrane.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the agglomerated tobacco fines are incorporated in the porous membrane during high-speed pouch filling operations.

21. The method of claim 19, wherein the agglomerated tobacco fines are dried to a moisture content of about 0.5 wt % to about 25 wt %.

22. The method of claim 19, wherein the agglomerated tobacco fines are extruded and spheronized to form tobacco beads, the beads are combined with loose tobacco material to form a mixture, and the mixture is filled in the pouch by high-speed pouch filling operations.

23. The method of claim 19, further including at least partially coating tobacco beads made from the agglomeration of tobacco fines with at least one polymeric coating.

24. A pouched, oral tobacco product according to the method of claim 19.

25. The method of claim 19, wherein the tobacco fines are finer than 60 mesh.

26. The method of claim 19, wherein the tobacco fines are finer than 40 mesh.

27. The method of claim 19, wherein the agglomerated tobacco fines are placed in the porous membrane during high-speed pouch filling operations.

28. The method of claim 19, wherein the forming step includes mixing said tobacco fines with water to form a wet mass, extruding said wet mass into strands of extrudate, spheronizing said strands to form wet spheres and drying said wet spheres.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. provisional Application No. 60/929,016, filed on Jun. 8, 2007, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

Tobacco used for making oral products is often ground using standard grinding techniques or finely cut. The tobacco is ground to a usable size, typically anywhere from 20 mesh to 400 mesh and incorporated into an oral tobacco product. Particles of the desired size are separated during the grinding process from those particles that are too large or too small. Particles, such as dust or fines, that are too small are often discarded resulting in a great deal of waste.

SUMMARY

Provided is an oral pouched tobacco product including a portion of a tobacco material and extruded tobacco material in the form of beads. The tobacco material is preferably ground, and includes particles ranging in size from between about 20 mesh and 400 mesh.

In a preferred embodiment, the tobacco beads are formed from tobacco dust and fines, water, optionally a binder, and optionally flavorants, and can be formed in any appropriate size. The tobacco bead (tobacco fines in a rounded, spheroid, or sphere shape which hereinafter are collectively referenced as a bead) is a flavor-releasing component that is dispersed throughout the tobacco material of the oral pouched tobacco product.

For tobacco beads which include a binder additive, preferably, about 5 wt % to about 90 wt % of each tobacco bead is tobacco fines, and more preferably from about 30 wt % to about 65 wt % of each tobacco bead is tobacco fines.

For tobacco beads which do not include a binder additive, preferably about 50 wt % to 100 wt % of the tobacco beads is tobacco fines, more preferably 90 wt % to 100 wt % of the tobacco beads is tobacco fines.

For tobacco beads, which include a binder and additives such as microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), the MCC can be derived from bacterial, yeast, or plant sources or obtained from any commercial or pharmaceutical source. A preferred binder is sugar beet fibers such as Fibrex® obtainable from Danisco A/S of Copenhagen, Denmark. Other cellulosic material may also be incorporated into the beads. Combination of MCC grades and of different cellulosic materials are also contemplated in the formation of tobacco beads.

In one embodiment, the tobacco beads can be dispersed throughout a tobacco material to create an inner material that may be included in a pouch to create a snus.

In another embodiment, the tobacco beads and tobacco material may be combined to create a loose, oral tobacco product.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a pouched, oral tobacco product including tobacco beads.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a cross-sectional view of a tobacco bead including a coating.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Provided is an oral tobacco product including tobacco beads. The oral tobacco product may be a loose tobacco product or a pouched tobacco product.

In a preferred embodiment, the pouched tobacco product is sized and configured to fit comfortably in a user's mouth. Preferably, the pouched tobacco product has dimensions of less than about 2 inches.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, a pouched, oral tobacco product 50 includes an inner material. The inner material includes a portion of a tobacco material 12 and at least one tobacco bead 14 enclosed in a pouch 55. Preferably multiple tobacco beads 14 are dispersed throughout the tobacco material 12 to form the inner material that is enclosed within the porous membrane that forms the pouch.

In a preferred embodiment, the pouch 55 is formed from a porous, polymeric, organic, or food grade material. The pouch material may be a web of cellulose fiber of the sort used to form tea-bags.

In a preferred embodiment, the porous membrane maintains sufficient structural integrity during the time period that the pouch 55 is used so that the inner material is retained therein. In another embodiment, the porous membrane may be dissolvable or disintegrable and composed of soluble polymers. In an embodiment, flavorants may be added to the porous membrane to provide additional flavor to the user.

The pouch 55 may be sized and configured for comfortable placement in a user's mouth between the cheek and gum. The pouch 55 may have a square, rectangle, circular, moon, crescent, or oblong shape. Preferably, sharp corners are avoided as sharp corners may lead to oral discomfort. The pouch 55 is sealed around one or more edges to contain the inner material within the pouch material.

Preferably, the pores in the pouch material allow flavors to diffuse through the material and into the user's mouth.

Preferably, the tobacco beads 14 are solid tobacco beads made of an agglomeration of tobacco fines and water. In one embodiment, the tobacco beads 14 may also include one or more flavorants 16. In a preferred embodiment, the tobacco beads 14 include a binder 18. In another embodiment, the tobacco beads 14 do not include a binder.

The tobacco fines preferably have an average particle diameter suitable for forming a wet tobacco mixture which can be formed into tobacco beads. The tobacco fines are preferably sieved with mesh size less than about 60 to provide tobacco fines with a maximum particle size of about 0.5 mm. More preferably, the tobacco fines may be chosen within the range of about 60 mesh to about 400 mesh or higher mesh values.

Ground tobacco for inclusion in snus typically ranges from about 20 mesh to about 60 mesh. Particles of less than about 60 mesh tend to go airborne during pouching operations, thereby wasting tobacco and creating cleanliness issues during pouching operations. Thus, tobacco particles below 60 mesh are preferably separated out prior to pouching. These particles, which would otherwise be waste, can be formed into tobacco beads using the processes described herein.

All mesh values are reported herein as United States standard sieve and those values reflect the ability of more than 95% of the particles of a given size to pass through a screen of a given mesh value. In that connection, mesh values reflect the number of mesh holes for each inch of screen.

The tobacco beads 14 can be prepared using known extrusion and spheronization processes for producing pharmaceutical pellets and flavored beads such as the techniques described in commonly owned U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2007/0000505, filed on Feb. 22, 2006, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

For tobacco beads 14 including tobacco fines, water and optional flavorants, but not including added binder ingredients, one method of making the beads 14 includes mixing tobacco fines with water to form a uniform wet mass and adding optional flavorants. The wet mass is then forced through an extruder to form strands of extrudate. The extrudate is broken into short strands and spheronized to form wet spheres. The tobacco beads can be spheronized from the extrudate by using an LCI QJ-230T Marumerizer at a suitable rotation speed (e.g., 1200 RPM) for a suitable time (e.g., 10 minutes). Preferably, the beads are then dried to remove a portion of the liquid. Additionally flavorants and/or coatings can be added after drying.

In an embodiment, the tobacco beads contain binder ingredients. The mixing step includes mixing the tobacco particles with a dry and/or liquid binder, water and optional flavorants to form a wet mass. The wet mass is then extruded and the extrudate spheronized.

The resulting tobacco beads are preferably in the form of spheroids that are substantially round or oval in shape. Further, each spheroidal tobacco bead can have a diameter of about 0.1 mm to about 2.5 mm, preferably about 0.2 mm to about 1.2 mm, and more preferably about 0.3 mm to about 0.7 mm.

When a binder is not used, the ratio of the amount of the tobacco particles and water can be about 1:4 to about 4:1, preferably about 2:1.

In an embodiment, a first moisture content of the spheronized beads is preferably about 20 to 40% of a total weight of the moist tobacco beads. A moisture content of the dried tobacco beads is about 0.5% to about 25% of a total weight of the tobacco beads, and more preferably about 8% to about 25% (e.g., about 8% to about 10%, about 10% to about 15%, about 15% to about 20%, or about 20% to about 25%) of a total weight of the tobacco beads.

In an embodiment, the binder 18 is a cellulosic material and/or a fiber based material. A preferred cellulosic material is microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). A preferred fiber based material is sugar beet fibers such as Fibrex®. Additional dry and liquid binders 18 may be present in the beads 14 as well as additional flavorants 16 and fillers. In another embodiment, the binder may be a suitable dry binder, an extrusion and spheronization aiding composition and reagent, a water swellable polymer, polymer binders, or mixtures of these reagents.

Preferably, the materials of extrusion and spheronization aiding reagents are those which are capable of holding liquid like a sponge. These reagents also further restrict the separation of the liquid from the solid that can occur during extrusion and spheronization processes. The extrusion and spheronization aiding reagents include but are not limited to microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), pectinic acid, lactose, and glyceryl monostearate, and combinations thereof.

Suitable water-swellable polymers include, without limitation, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), low substituted hydroxypropyl cellulose (L-HPC), and hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC).

Suitable polymer binders include, without limitation, polyvinyl pyrolidone (PVP), EUDRAGIT®, and cellulose ethers.

In another embodiment, as seen in FIG. 2, the tobacco beads 14 include one or more coatings 120 over the agglomerated fines 100. Preferably, flavorants 16 can also be added to the coatings 120 of the beads 14. Such coatings are not necessary to hold the tobacco beads together, but can be added to provide additional textures and/or flavorants.

In a preferred embodiment, the flavorants are added to the tobacco beads 14 during manufacture. Alternatively, the flavorants may be added to the beads after formation. The optional flavorant includes flavor materials that are practically unlimited, although water-soluble, alcohol-soluble and oil-soluble flavors are preferable.

Suitable flavorants include, without limitation, lavender, cinnamon, cardamom, apium graveolens, fenugreek, cascarilla, sandalwood, bergamot, geranium, honey essence, rose oil, vanilla, lemon oil, orange oil, mint oils, cassia, caraway, cognac, jasmine, chamomile, menthol, cassia, ylang-ylang, sage, spearmint, ginger, coriander, and coffee. Each of the flavors can be used singly or mixed with others. If desired, diluent agents can be added to the tobacco beads. Diluent agents which can be used for this purpose include powdered starch, such as but not limited to corn starch and potato starch, rice powder, calcium carbonate, diatomaceous earth, talc, acetate powder, and pulp flock. The optional flavorant can also be in the form of a solid matrix (liquid flavorants spray dried with a starch). The optional flavorant can also be in the form of solids, liquids or gels. The optional flavorant can be present in the tobacco beads in an amount of up to 50% by weight (e.g., 0.1 to 5%, 5 to 10%, 10 to 15%, 15 to 20%, 20 to 25%, 25 to 30%, 30 to 35%, 35 to 40%, 40 to 45% or 45 to 50%).

In one embodiment, the tobacco beads can be tailored to have controlled-delivery release of active compounds. For example, diffusion of the flavors from the beads can be adjusted by bead porosity and density as well as by any controlled-release coating added to the beads. In an embodiment, the beads can also be coated with polymeric coatings of different functionalities and or compositions (e.g., single or multiple overcoats depending on the application) to control the delivery and release of the active compounds.

Preferred active compounds include, without limitation, vitamins, minerals, nutraceuticals, energizing agents, soothing agents, sweeteners, coloring agents, amino acids, antioxidants, preservatives and/or combinations thereof.

In another embodiment, the tobacco beads can act as a delivery system for delivering flavors naturally occurring in the components of the bead formulation. Alternatively, the tobacco beads can act as a medium for creating and/or enhancing naturally occurring flavors through Mailard, enzymatic, or other types of reactions.

In another embodiment, the beads 14 can be altered or enhanced by thermal treatment of the beads 14 after formation, which can cause reactions that alter the flavors of the beads 14. For example, the beads can be treated by heating at a temperature from about 40° C. to about 300° C. for a period of about 5 minutes to several hours.

In one embodiment, the tobacco fines can be gathered from dust and fines that are too small for inclusion in a tobacco pouch product. Alternatively, the tobacco dust and fines can be formed by taking parts of the tobacco plant (leaf, stem, and the like) and grinding the dried portions into a fine powder or dust.

The tobacco parts used to make the tobacco fines, which form the beads, can be from any type of tobacco used to prepare oral tobacco products such as but not limited to Burley, Bright, Oriental, or blends thereof, as well as genetically altered, chemically altered, or mechanically altered tobacco plants and blends thereof. The type of tobacco is preferably selected from the group consisting of Burley, Bright, and Oriental. The blend of ground tobacco fines can include up to 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 35%, 40%, 45%, 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, or 100% by weight of Burley; up to 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 35%, 40%, 45%, 50%, 550%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, or 100% by weight of Bright; and/or up to 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 35%, 40%, 45%, 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, or 100% by weight of Oriental.

The blend of the tobacco fines used, the formulation of the optional dry or liquid binder, the concentration of liquid in the tobacco beads, and the size of the tobacco beads are all elements which can be altered alone or in combination with each other to achieve a desired taste.

In an embodiment, the quantity and the blend of the optional powdered binder used can be selected so as to achieve the desired mechanical strength and roundness of the resulting tobacco beads. The strength and roundness of the beads depends in part on the starting materials. For example, the tobacco beads can optionally comprise a cellulosic and/or fiber based binder material as well as the tobacco fines.

The drying of the tobacco beads consisting essentially of tobacco particles but without added binder ingredients can be carried out under vacuum to the second moisture content of about 8% to about 25% of a total weight of the tobacco beads.

Preferably, the second moisture content is about 8 to 20%, and most preferably about 8% to about 12% of a total weight of the tobacco beads. As an alternative, the drying of the tobacco beads can be carried out in other drying equipment such as a conventional fluidized bed dryer, in a conventional oven dryer, or in a vacuum oven.

Not wishing to be bound by theory, it is believed that vacuum drying minimizes loss of organic compounds providing desired organoleptic properties and promotes migration of flavor compounds to the surface of the tobacco beads. Accordingly, a preferred tobacco bead comprises a bead of tobacco fines in a condition of having been vacuum dried to a predetermined moisture content of about 0.5% to about 25% of a total weight of the tobacco beads, and more preferably about 8% to about 25%

For tobacco particles containing additive binder such as a non-tobacco cellulosic material, microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is the preferred cellulosic material in combination with tobacco particles. More preferably, the additive binder is a fiber-based material such as sugar beet fibers.

The optional flavor additives for the tobacco beads can be incorporated for example using a solvent mixture. Using a solvent mixture, it is possible to incorporate the optional flavor constituents into the cellulosic or fiber-based binder containing tobacco beads in minute amounts, on the order of parts per million.

In an embodiment, other binder materials which can be used include carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), and more amorphous forms of cellulose (e.g., powdered cellulose) as well as combinations of crystalline, and modified cellulose (e.g., hydroxypropyl cellulose and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose), and amorphous cellulose. Other natural polysaccharides and their derivatives are also contemplated for use in the tobacco beads.

The wet mass can be prepared in a mixer such as a planetary mixer. The extrusion can be carried out using extruders such as the screw, sieve and basket, roll and ram type extruders. Spheronization can be carried out using a spinning friction plate that effects rounding of extrudate particles. Water is preferably used to provide the wet mass with desired rheological characteristics. For example, the water content can be adjusted to achieve the desired plasticity, e.g., the water content may range from 20% to 150% (preferably 40 to 60%) by weight or at least about in a proportion of one-to-four to four-to-one of liquid to dry material. With use of liquid flavorants, the liquid content of the wet mass is preferably adjusted to account for the effect of the liquid flavorant on the rheological characteristics of the wet mass.

The wet mass is extruded through suitably sized pierced screens and spheronized using a rotating disk having a grooved surface. The spheres are then dried in a fluidized bed or conventional convection oven or vacuum oven to a moisture level of about 0.5% to about 25%.

For tobacco beads containing a dry binder additive, it should be noted that the weight percent of dry binder and weight percent of tobacco fines appear to have conflicting effects: an increase in tobacco content increases the impact on the taste but decreases the mechanical properties (i.e., hardness, attrition resistance) of the tobacco beads. On the other hand, an increase in the dry binder (e.g., MCC or sugar beet fibers) appears to decrease the impact on the taste but increases the mechanical strength. The mechanical strength and uniformity in size distribution are also affected by the liquid content in the wet mass, size of the opening on the extrusion die, and processing parameters such as extrusion speed, rotation speed, and duration of spheronization. For a given blend of tobacco fines, the optimal formulation and processing conditions are empirically determined.

The beaded form of the tobacco fines facilitates high-speed pouch filling operations during the manufacture of pouched products. Beads tend to more consistently and cleanly flow into and out of metering feed machinery, with less scatter and dusting than loose, irregular tobacco particles.

As taught hereinabove, provided is a method of improving utilization of tobacco feed stock in a process of making an oral pouched tobacco product or the like that requires grinding the tobacco feedstock to a desired range of tobacco particle size for the product, for example, to a desired range of approximately 20 to approximately 60 mesh (more preferably 20 mesh to 40 mesh). Tobacco utilization is improved by separating the tobacco particles of finer size (finer than 60 mesh or finer than 40 mesh) from those of the desired range of particle size (i.e., larger than 60 mesh or larger than 40 mesh), forming the finer-sized tobacco into agglomerated tobacco fines as taught hereinabove, and recombining the agglomerates and the tobacco particles in the oral pouched tobacco products. By such practices, the tobacco fines may be utilized instead of being discarded, and the difficulties associated with tobacco fines, such as their tendency to escape from pouches during feeding operations or otherwise causing dusting, impact on product appearance and/or impact on cleanliness during manufacturing operations, are abated.

While the foregoing has been described in detail with reference to specific embodiments thereof, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made, and equivalents thereof employed, without departing from the scope of the claims.





 
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