June 09th 2021
Simplified ingredient lists and traceable origins increasingly prioritized.
Traceable, fair-trade and simplified labels and other claims are stealing the spotlight in Food & Beverage innovation, and texturizing ingredients are no exception to the trend. The plant-based space, in particular, is seeing new label-friendly texturizers come to market.
Alternatives to meat and dairy not only rely on hydrocolloids for texture and mouthfeel, these products are driven by a demographic already seeking ethical and sustainable claims on the foods they eat.
Reflecting the focus on clean label claims, Innova Market Insights reports the top positioning in Food & Beverage containing hydrocolloids is No Additives/Preservatives, accounting for 15 percent of product launches globally in 2020. This is followed by Gluten-Free (14 percent), High/Source of Protein (9 percent), Vegetarian (9 percent) and Vegan (7).
Furthermore, the use of hydrocolloids in F&B is decreasing globally, featuring a -1 percent year-over-year decline when comparing 2019 and 2020 launches, notes the market researcher.
This may demonstrate brands’ efforts to shorten the ingredient list with multifunctional texturizers, in-situ hydrocolloids or other clean label alternatives.
FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with industry experts on the latest hydrocolloid ingredients and technologies, which are sharpening the focus on clean and clear labeling in their latest texture developments.
Cargill and CP Kelco are two companies making strides in ingredients that can shorten the ingredient list for improved texture.
“From our 2021 IngredienTracker consumer research, we know that today’s shoppers have a keen interest in how their food is made,” says Matthias Bourdeau, marketing manager at Cargill Starches, Sweeteners and Texturizers Europe.
“They seek out products made with recognizable ingredients that they view as ‘minimally processed.’”
Cargill’s recently unveiled WavePure ADG powder ingredient, for instance, is sourced from red Gracilaria seaweed. As a traditional food ingredient in the EU, this gelling and thickening ingredient is suitable for dairy desserts and does not require an E-number.
For CP Kelco, a key strategy to reducing the total number of ingredients is finding one ingredient that can help accomplish multiple tasks. This could be a dual-function gellan gum for suspension and mouthfeel, or a new pectin that simplifies the process of making fruited yogurt drinks, explains Adeline Saadi, senior manager, business development at the company.
CP Kelco’s latest innovation, Nutrava Citrus Fiber, for example, is both a nutritional and functional ingredient with sustainable credentials.
“Our process allows us to convert the peels into a citrus fiber that is suitable for a broad range of food and beverage products,” she says.
The typical content of dietary fiber in Nutrava Citrus Fiber is a minimum of 80 percent with an approximately balanced amount of soluble and insoluble fiber.
The “close to nature” ingredient is touted for being able to help formulators meet their clean label goals while supporting dietary fiber intake and key requirements for texture and taste.
For dairy and dairy alternative beverages, new grades of KelcoGel Gellan Gum offer dual functionality by providing both long-lasting suspension and mouthfeel. It can represent cost savings for formulators and a way to achieve fewer ingredients on the label.
CP Kelco also offers grades to help meet organic-compliant, reduced-sugar, non-GMO and other clean label goals, she adds.
For Dennis Seisun, founder of hydrocolloids consultancy IMR International: “The battle for consumers has transitioned from inside the container to outside.”
In other words, traditionally, it has been the best product inside the container which won consumers’ minds and dollars: Good texture, mouthfeel, little syneresis, good flavor release, and suspension.
“But over the last few decades,” he says, “the importance of label declaration has gained importance, which could not have been imagined.”
As a result of intensified demand for clean label, Seisun explains, consumers have driven food companies to innovate in a way that achieves functionality with “a bit of an optical illusion.”
The best of example of this are in-situ ingredients, he details.
“Tomatoes with a higher pectin content are grown so as to avoid having to add any pectin; a higher dose of stabilizer is added to a yogurt fruit filling, which is then added to a yogurt which itself cannot contain a stabilizer.”
He explains that in the past, xanthomonas bacteria was fermented in whey extract, and the resulting xanthan gum was not recovered. The product was declared as “fermented whey extract” when, in essence, xanthan gum was providing the functionality.
“We expect to see more of the in-situ technologies used to please consumers while providing the needed functionalities.”
In a bid to support label-friendly formulation, Cargill added tapioca-based starches to its existing lines of corn- and potato-based SimPure starches earlier this year.
The SimPure functional native starches are obtained without chemical modification. Instead, the starch granules are stabilized through heat and moisture treatment.
This gives SimPure starches process stability similar to conventional modified starches while allowing for a reference to the botanical source (i.e., potato, corn or tapioca) on the ingredient label.
These process tolerant starches bring sensory and functional attributes together, offering a creamy mouthfeel, while delivering good water-binding properties and cold-storage stability.
The newly introduced tapioca-based SimPure solutions have a neutral flavor profile and targeted product applications that vary depending on the product range.
For example, the SimPure 996 series of tapioca starches create soft gel textures for applications such as firm-but-succulent meat alternatives.
New technologies in processing are also helping companies innovate to meet the growing demand for plant-based products with meat- or dairy-like mouthfeel.
Steve Matzke, senior manager, pioneering innovation at CP Kelco notes that, while fermentation is not new per se, more companies are inquiring about fermentation as a technique to sustainably produce ingredients and even alternative proteins.
“Fermentation provides a consistent approach to ingredient technology that is less reliant on climate and the volatility that can be associated with harvesting raw materials,” he says.
“Fermentation can be used to produce specific functional ingredients which can be enablers for improved sensory and textural properties of plant-based products.”
CP Kelco’s “go-to” ingredient for texture, KelcoGel Gellan Gum, is derived with fermentation.
It leverages the fast growth of microorganisms to efficiently scale up and produce large quantities for market, Matzke adds.
Taking on the tech challenge for a scalable plant-forward future, Cargill has invested in the start-up Bflike to enable affordable, plant-based alternatives that are “virtually indistinguishable from their animal-based counterparts.”
“Bflike is poised to be a new technology leader in the rapidly evolving meat and fish alternatives categories, which can really cover all these fronts,” says Belgin Köse, segment director proteins, Cargill Starches, Sweeteners and Texturizers Europe.
Bflike will license its proprietary technology and premix ingredient solutions to food manufacturers and retailers, supporting them to commercialize their own meat and fish alternative products.
A key feature to Bflike’s technology, notes Köse, is its patent-pending vegan fat and blood platforms and its ability to utilize machinery commonly used for meat products.
“This means that their licensees will not need to buy expensive equipment or use energy-intensive technologies. Finally, the technology allows customers to move seamlessly from pilot to commercialization, scaling up quickly using their own production processes and machinery, while supported by Cargill’s secure supply of critical ingredients.”