Leading Hydrocolloid Suppliers Discuss Ingredient Trends and Innovation
March 16, 2022 — Stabilizers are ubiquitous in food applications, valued for their rheological properties such as thickening and gelling, as well as shelf-life extending properties of ambient products. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with experts from Palsgaard, CP Kelco, Hydrosol and Alland & Robert to explore the latest formulation advances and hydrocolloid market developments.
Given the volatility of the market and the evolution of inflation, the exchange of raw materials is currently a central issue for global producers. “An example is locust bean gum, which is used in many stabilization systems. According to the current situation, prices here have risen eight times,” reveals Katharina Schäfer, Product Manager Hydrosol.
“To compensate for this increase, our R&D is looking for alternative solutions. These should also achieve the same functionality without or with a significantly reduced proportion of locust bean gum.
To achieve this, several hydrocolloids may need to be combined. The exact ratios, which we determine in numerous application tests for the various applications, are decisive here. Also, you have to keep an eye on the price again,” she says.
Another example of a stabilizer losing its grip on the market is carrageenan, an algae-based ingredient that some scientists believe can contribute to chronic inflammation. “In various markets, customers want alternatives to carrageenan. This is the case, for example, in the United States, Western Europe and Latin America,” explains Schäfer.
Concoct dairy and vegetable formulas
The inherent functionality of stabilizers enables the development of healthier products due to the possibility of fat reduction. One example is Palsgaard CreamWhip 412, a stabilizing solution that can reduce non-dairy whipping cream fat by up to 12% without compromising taste and functionality.
Palsgaard recently launched three new stabilizer products: Palsgaard CreamWhip 412, Palsgaard RecMilk 146 and Palsgaard AcidMilk 310.
“Palsgaard CreamWhip 412 is a tailor-made stabilizing blend for non-dairy low fat whipping cream with dairy or vegetable fat and with a fat content as low as 12%. It offers considerable savings in addition to good storage stability, excellent whipping properties and longer whipped cream shelf life/setting time,” says Haydee Carlos, Global Application Manager at Palsgaard.
On the other hand, Palsgaard RecMilk 146 is a gellan gum-based emulsifier designed to improve the shelf life of calcium-rich milk and plant-based beverages. It provides a suspension of particles at high temperature, prevents the separation of fats and imparts a creamier and richer mouthfeel.
“Working with vegetable proteins is a challenge due to the presence of insoluble particles which are not easily suspended and can easily precipitate, which of course will affect the shelf life of the product,” Carlos points out.
In Palsgaard’s 2021 survey of 1,307 consumers, people were particularly sensitive to sedimentation in plant-based drinks, with 70% noticing it and 34% choosing to avoid sedimentation in their top three when were asked how to improve plant-based drinks.
Improve yogurt rheology
Stabilizers are particularly well suited to help manufacturers overcome some of the challenges associated with producing plant-based beverages and dairy-alternative yogurts.
Palsgaard AcidMilk 310 is Palsgaard’s Clean Label solution for stabilizing dairy-based yoghurts and plant-based yoghurts. It is a mixture of starch and vegetable fibers applicable in stirred yoghurts, to drink and stirred at room temperature.
“The main function of Palsgaard AcidMilk 310 is to protect proteins against heat denaturation at low pH values, imparting a creamy consistency, improving the appearance of stirred-type yogurts by providing smoothness and shine, and preventing water separation during distribution and storage.
In upcoming developments, Palsgaard will soon launch a new ice cream solution that will solve the current problem of cost and availability of LBG.
“In addition to that, our team is busy developing new and exciting concepts of plant-based dairy alternatives that will present the solutions for this product category,” Carlos points out.
Citrus Vegan Innovation
Today, many consumers steer clear of ingredients that appear chemically based, especially if they are not typical pantry items. Modified celluloses such as hypromellose, methylcellulose and cellulose gum are under pressure due to this consumer perception. Plant-based ingredients fill this gap.
In dairy alternatives, CP Kelco offers new stabilizer offerings for plant-based yogurts, beverages and cheese alternatives using gellan gum, pectin and citrus fiber.
“For meat substitutes, we want to provide product developers with a toolkit of cleaner label options that can improve texture and juiciness, as well as help reduce methylcellulose and starch usage” , says Robert Dunn, Senior Director of Marketing and Program Manager Alternative Proteins. .
“We are excited about the possibilities offered by Nutrava Citrus Fiber, which addresses the need for ingredients that are clean, easy to identify and easily recognizable. It is made from used and recycled citrus peel from the juice industry. Nutrava Citrus Fiber supports dietary fiber intake, provides unique texturizing, water-binding and stabilizing abilities and may help reduce starch usage. As a real food ingredient, it carries no E number.”
With more than 30 patents for its discoveries, CP Kelco oversees an expert team of researchers and food scientists working on new stabilizer solutions at its global innovation centers – from its fermentation lab in Atlanta, USA, prototypes and customer testing in Skensved, Denmark.
Versatility of acacia gum
Acacia gum – also known as gum arabic – is a natural stabilizer that retains its marketability due to its versatility and the role it can play as a texturizing agent and stabilizer. Dr. Isabelle Jaouen, R&D director at Alland & Robert, reports that many of the company’s customers seek out this ingredient to stabilize sugar-reduced, sugar-free, and plant-based products.
“But in addition to being a natural and safe additive, acacia gum is a source of prebiotic fiber and improves the nutritional profile of recipes, which means additional benefits for consumers,” she points out.
“Last December, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved acacia gum dietary fiber, which means that acacia gum is known to have beneficial physiological effects on human health and can be classified as a fiber for nutrition labeling purposes in the United States.”
Last month, Alland & Robert launched its ethically produced acacia gum for online consumers in France. Acacia gum comes from the variety of acacia trees in Senegal and is intended for home cooks, who can use it as an emulsifier, vegan stabilizer or to add fiber to their diet.
Highly functional vegetable fibers
The functionalities of herbal stabilizers range from water retention and emulsification to viscosity and gel formation. Additionally, these natural ingredients can contribute to certain claims like “rich in protein” or “contains dietary fiber.”
“Some more recent research involves investigating underutilized feedstocks such as sunflower, hemp or rapeseed meal,” notes Dr. Jurgen Fischer, Technical Sales Manager – Europe, at Fiberstar.
“For example, certain proteins, when separated into different fractions, can provide multiple benefits such as gel formation, emulsification and/or improved nutrient profile while maintaining a neutral taste. Accordingly, these protein fractions can be used as the basis for dairy alternatives that require many of these features.
Just like with CP Kelco, Fiberstar’s R&D team is investigating the applications of citrus fiber in multiple food and beverage applications. The team recently launched a textured citrus fiber called Citri-Fi TX. This new ingredient, when used with Citri-Fi’s standard citrus fiber line, is part of the solution to creating clean-label meat alternatives.
Citri-Fi TX also works synergistically with functional proteins such as potato protein to create a warm bite and a firm texture thanks to the gelling properties of potato protein. It can also be used in hybrid meats as well as meats of animal origin.
The fibrous surface of Citri-Fi TX expands under shear conditions, such as homogenization, allowing it to replace gellan gum while maintaining full mouthfeel in herbal beverages. And in meats of animal origin, Citri-Fi works synergistically with other natural ingredients to replace phosphates.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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