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Foolproof. As defined by the dictionary, it can mean “effective,” “infallible,” “not liable to failure,” or “guaranteed to succeed. ”The bottom line is: When something is foolproof, it works, and it works under a variety of different circumstances or conditions.
Like sauces, for example. Their use in food formulation might easily be considered a foolproof approach—one that can weather a harsh economy on the one hand or provide a vehicle for delivering exciting flavors from all around the world. That doesn’t mean that all sauces work in a particular formulation. But as a strategy, sauces play an indispensible role in food development and can frequently determine the success of a food product in the marketplace. And that’s pure gravy from a formulator’s point of view.
Saucy talk, you might say. Well, according to a new report by Global Industry, the market for food accompaniments such as sauces and condiments is expected to reach more than $69 billion by 2012. The United States is the largest market worldwide, worth an estimated $11.2 billion in 2008, with Europe the second-largest market, followed by Asia. A growing demand for convenience foods and an interest in ethnic cuisine is fueling the sales of food accompaniments of various types. The trend toward healthy living coupled with time-pressed busy lifestyles also contributes significantly toward the growing preference for ready-to-eat products.
The continued—and perhaps growing—popularity of sauces, as demonstrated by the above statistics, is obviously a major factor in their usage by food formulators. How ever, a second study—perhaps a little darker in nature—may also help explain the growing potential of sauces today. Research data from the Mintel Global New Products Database shows that the current economy has slowed the tide of new product launches in the marketplace. Total food and beverage product launches have been cut in half since last year. “Many companies face internal budget cuts that affect everything from new product ideation to development and marketing,” noted Mintel.
At first glance, this study seems to have very little to do with sauces or, for that matter, with the rationale in using them. But—and this is just my opinion—with the economy the way it is, the use of sauces may help create new opportunities for the manufacturer, especially one interested in trying to keep costs a little bit lower while still differentiating the product in the marketplace.
As the economy slows down, that can mean smaller portion sizes, cheaper cuts of meat, alternative ingredients, and more eating at home. In this scenario, flavorful sauces can add excitement and help transform traditional dishes, injecting a sense of innovation into them. In particular, sauces can improve the tenderness, juiciness, and overall flavor quality of lower-quality beef cuts or make possible the use of chicken thigh and other darker meats in a formulation.
In such an economy, sauces may help lift up the spirits of consumers. With mood foods becoming more popular, sauces can be developed to create a sense of fun, comfort, novelty, or even whimsy. And let’s not forget about addressing health. Sauces can be used to complement better-for-you foods such as those that are soy-based, fiber enriched, or reduced in fat. Familiar foods ranging from pizza to wraps can be made healthier and more flavorful with different varieties of sauces. Furthermore, with formulators focusing more and more on low-sodium alternatives, sauces are an excellent area that can benefit by these salt blends or flavor enhancers—adding an additional health dimension to them. Interestingly, with new sweetener alternatives emerging, such as stevia-based products, new sweet sauces may be developed as well.
This month’s article will look at some of the different ways that formulators can use sauces to differentiate their products in the marketplace, overcome functionality challenges, and address emerging trends. In its coverage, it will look at the important role that starches, spices, flavors, and other sweet and savory ingredients play in the creation of new sauce concepts.
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No Worries With Curries
As consumers continue to look for bolder, more authentic flavors from around the world, curry has become increasingly familiar and popular in all different types (green, red, yellow, mild, spicy, Indian, Thai, or combinations). To help formulators add curry to a variety of products, three new sauces from Kikkoman Sales USA Inc., San Francisco, Calif. (phone 415-229-3650, www.kikkoman.com), have been developed.
Tikka Masala Curry Sauce—a mild, yet flavorful blend of tomatoes and authentic Indian spices—may be used as a marinade and simmering sauce for the classic Chicken Tikka Masala. In addition, it can help transform meat, fish, vegetables, or tofu into tikka masala-style curry dishes. How about Tikka Taters (sauté cubed yellow potatoes, simmer in sauce, and garnish with cilantro and spiced yogurt)? Or Tikka Pizza (top pizza with grilled, sauce-marinated chicken, and add extra sauce)?
Thai Red Curry Sauce is made with kaffir lime leaves, garlic and lemongrass, balanced with the heat of Thai red chilies and the creaminess of coconut milk. Thai Yellow Curry Sauce contains the flavors of garlic, lemongrass, turmeric, and coriander, along with authentic Thai chilies. Either sauce may be used in a variety of formulations. Try, for example, Thai Curry Rice Bowl (stir-fry chicken, beef, pork, or seafood with bell pepper and onion; add baby corn, coconut milk, and curry sauce; and serve over rice with cilantro garnish). Or Creamy Squash Soup (simmer squash and onions in stock with curry sauce, puree, and enrich with cream or coconut milk).
All three sauces are versatile, and may be used for braising, marinating, stir-frying, dipping, or finishing. They can be used right from the bottle, providing rich, complex, authentic Indian and Thai flavors without the need to source or prep exotic ingredients. (If desired, the formulator can add fresh chilies, dried chilies, hot sauce, and fresh ginger for extra heat and flavor.) Because they are ready to use, they can function as labor-saving ingredients in a wide range of creative recipes.
In the Mood for Sauces?
A number of new sauce prototypes from Wixon Inc., St. Francis, Wis. (phone 414-769-3000, www.wixon.com), reflect the latest trends in flavors and flavor fusions, culinary and international cuisines, mood foods, and sodium reduction. These sauces help formulators to enhance or complement a wide range of dishes, as well as provide new ideas for product development.
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For example, a new line of exotic sauce flavors may be used for meats, pastas, side dishes, and other products. Arrabbiata, a zesty Italian-style blend that complements marinara sauce, is infused with spices, chili pepper, onion, and garlic. Baharat, a true Middle Eastern, spicy blend, can be added to any sauce base. Coq au Vin, reminiscent of the classic dish, can be combined with water and wine, and consists of such flavors as chicken broth, tomato powder, onion, and garlic. Kung Pao, a bold Asian blend of sherry wine powder, soy sauce, sesame, brown sugar, red bell pepper, and spices, may be mixed with a sauce base or mayonnaise. Sunny Citrus Ginger provides lemon, orange, pineapple, coconut, and soy notes; creates a sweet-and-sour sauce when added to water, sugar, and vinegar; and has a kick imparted by ginger, red bell peppers, and wasabi horseradish.
New marinades for pork and poultry are also available in different flavors and flavor combinations. These include Blackberry Chipotle (sweet blackberry notes with a light smoky chipotle background flavor); Citrus Chipotle (pineapple, orange, and lime flavors balanced with the smoky heat of chipotle); Whiskey Marinade (a smoky grill flavor with a hint of whiskey); and Sweet Apple (sweet apple flavor for barbecuing). “The innovative flavor fusions accentuate pork and poultry with sweet and smoky flavors with a hint of heat to kick up the taste,” said Jerry Moehn, Senior Meat Technologist for Wixon’s Protein Applications and Seasonings Laboratory.
The company’s corporate chef, Judson McLester, demonstrated the use of sauces in Texas Ethnic Style breakfasts at the Research Chefs Association 2009 Annual Conference and Culinology® Expo. A breakfast empanada was filled with zesty crumbled chicken chorizo, hearty scrambled eggs made with chimichurri seasoning and cheddar cheese, and held together with a black bean mole sauce. The entrée was also served with a mole sour cream sauce for dipping. A second breakfast item, lightly pan-fried pot stickers, were filled with crumbled chicken chorizo, scrambled eggs made with Fiesta jalapeno seasoning, crunchy pine nuts, jet black beans, and red jalapeno peppers. In this application, McLester also fused some Asian into the Texas cuisine by serving it with a savory Asian dipping sauce. “New bold seasonings and flavor profiles reflecting diverse ethnic cuisines are what consumers are expecting to have in their food choices,” he noted.
In the April 2008 Ingredients section, I discussed how Wixon is developing different flavors (and aromas) that can be used to create “mood foods.” Sauces, in particular, may prove to be a good vehicle to “connect” with consumers, helping them to recall a certain experience or trigger an emotion. According to the company’s flavor chemist Mindy Edwards, a cheerful sauce may consist of the sweetness of vanilla, brown sugar, and marshmallow flavor combined with spices of pumpkin pie. A sassy sauce (is that a scientific term?) might be a mixture of mustard powders, bacon flavors, and spices. And a relaxed sauce is a blend of citrus flavors, mint, and lavender. There are also nine other mood favors, including naughty, excited, angry, on vacation, blissful, content, playful, adventurous, and happy. See the April Ingredients section for a description of ingredients that went into these mood food flavor systems— while doing this, imagine the kinds of sauces that can be developed to evoke these different moods.
The sauce prototypes discussed here are seasoned with the company’s KCLean Salt™, a sodium alternative that cuts sodium content in half while matching salt’s taste, texture, and functionality. At the International Pizza Expo, Wixon served a pizza using ingredients made with the sodium alternative, including a 45% reduced-sodium Italian sauce.
Finding a Whey in Sauces
Current and new product formulations can be improved using functional whey proteins with their special water-binding and texture enhancement properties. According to Grande Custom Ingredients Group, Lomira, Wis. (phone 920-269- 7188, www.grandecig.com), these dairy-derived ingredients have proven capabilities in many products including cheese and cream sauces.
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The company’s line of functional whey proteins, Grande Bravo, may be used to improve creaminess and mouthfeel in sauces, dressings, dips, spreads, soups, and other products. They also allow manufacturers to create healthier versions of these types of applications by replacing some of the higher-fat ingredients while maintaining—or even enhancing—product flavor and keeping costs manageable.
Grande Bravo 600, recently introduced by the company, is a kosher whey protein that has a mild, creamy, milky flavor that contributes a very heavy, creamy texture. Ideal for use in sauces and other applications, it may be used to reduce more expensive ingredients, improve texture, and extend shelf life. To demonstrate the functionality of this whey protein, food scientists at Grande Custom developed a prototype Alfredo sauce. The formulation, which contained Grande Bravo 600, Grande Bravo 510, and additional water, was able to replace 100% of the heavy cream typically used in the sauce.
“The new product formulation maintains the product’s creamy texture and natural dairy flavor while introducing a significant cost reduction,” said Michelle Ludtke, the company’s Senior Food Technologist. “This could be a smart approach for food companies looking to cut costs on their cream products without sacrificing taste.”
A Chicken in Every Sauce
Creating authentic, natural chicken flavors for use in sauces, gravies, and other applications has been the focus of several flavor companies in recent months. These flavors, based on gold standard culinary benchmarks and consumer research, are helping to raise the bar when it comes to formulating savory recipes.
International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. developed a new range of natural chicken flavor profiles that are said to capture the “true essence of chicken” without the addition of herbs and spices. According to Jos Muilwijk, IFF’s Head of Global Savory Category Management, “Our extensive consumer research conducted in major markets across the globe told us that chicken is a nearly universal comfort food and that consumers want authentic, familiar chicken tastes and aromas created by cooking techniques they know and love. Spices and herbs add inter-est and regional character, but the true essence of chicken should shine through.”
Muilwijk noted that the new products provide a toolkit of key chicken profiles including boiled white meat, boiled dark meat, skin, roasted, and grilled, which can be combined and augmented to create a wide number of results for such applications as soups, sauces, bouillons, gravies, and marinades. “These chicken profiles can be easily blended with ingredients specific to any locality or cuisine, enabling the creation of signature notes for specific product brands,” he added.
The company’s research in key markets around the world provided insights into needs, preferences, cooking, and consumption habits. Based on these insights, a global team of research chefs led by Certified Master Chef Florian Webhofer prepared gold-standard chicken dishes, the flavor profiles of which were then duplicated by research and development. “We brought in a selection of the world’s finest chickens, raised on different diets and in a variety of habitats, and cooked them open pan, slow cook, high-pressure pan, and more—using nothing but a pinch of salt as a seasoning—and found the best flavor profiles to guide the creative team in the design of this new range,” said Chef Webhofer.
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Givaudan also unveiled the creation of its TasteEssentials™ Chicken Program—a new approach to chicken flavor creation that allows customers from around the world to identify the precise chicken essence, signature, and aroma they require. The company surveyed approximately 7,300 consumers in 14 countries and observed home-cooking first-hand, translating their needs and preferences into a sensory language to help guide the company’s flavor creation activity. Givaudan teams also observed chefs cooking chicken dishes (noting chicken meat types, preparations, ingredients, cooking techniques, and methods, as well as tasting and analyzing the dishes) in 40 fine-dining, quick-serving, and traditional restaurants in 10 countries. Results obtained from these studies revealed a comprehensive picture of how chicken is perceived, purchased, and prepared globally, as well as the recipes and cooking styles with which it is most closely associated. Leading chefs from four continents also contributed their insights and inspiration.
“We know the experience of flavor is more than just sensory, it is also deeply cultural,” noted Andreas Haenni, Givaudan’s Global Head of Savory. “Givaudan’s experts literally sat in the kitchens of Russian, Spanish, French, Brazilian, Mexican, Colombian, American, Indonesian, and Chinese households watching how authentic chicken dishes were prepared.”
Haenni emphasized, “Consumers used products bought locally, in recipes handed down through generations, and created dishes native to that region. Using this unique insight into flavor creation, we have created a captivating range of distinctive, innovative, and authentic chicken flavors which will enhance consumers’ enjoyment of chicken dishes around the world.”
Companies exhibiting at the 2009 IFT Food Expo will bring their own “chicken” ideas to the formulating of sauces and gravies. For example, Savory Creations International, San Mateo, Calif. (phone 650-638-1024, www.savory-creations.com), will highlight a number of broth concentrates including Chicken Flavor and Chicken Broth (no yeast extract). These concentrates are available in paste and powder form. Because of their 100 times strength, they have a suggested use level of 0.5-1.0%. A shelf-stable bag-in-box liquid chicken broth concentrate is offered as well. And International Dehydrated Foods Inc., Springfield, Mo. (phone 417-881-7820, www.idf.com), will feature several poultry-based ingredients such as Chicken Broth that provides a savory profile to sauces, gravies, marinades, and other products; Agglomerated Powdered Chicken Broth, which offers optimum dispersal with the flavor and aroma of typical cooked chicken; and a liquid shelf-stable chicken extract.
Southern Exposure to Sauces
In its latest issue of Food & FlavorCast, a quarterly update designed to bring insights and ideas on the trends shaping the way Americans eat today, Gilroy Foods & Flavors, Omaha, Neb. (phone 800-921-7502; www.gilroyfoodsandflavors.com), explored different ways that sauces can enhance menus with South American flair.
“In our kitchens, we’ve been having fun with robust barbecue cooking from Brazil to Argentina,” said Liz Olson, the company’s Sous Chef. “The simple grilled meats provide the perfect canvas for fresh, flavorful seasonings and sauces.” One example she gave is a versatile chimichurri sauce that can top a steak or fries, or be blended in a dressing.
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A blend of parsley, garlic, oil, lemon, and vinegar, chimichurri makes a suitable addition to basting sauces, marinades, dips, and compound butters that add a last-minute flavor blast to quick-grilled meats. Olson provided several menu ideas using flank steak. These included Chimichurri Salad (lettuce, jicama, tomatoes, watercress, carrots, and red bell peppers, topped with chimichurri flank steak); Argentine Steak Wrap (chimichurri flank steak, tomatoes, avocado, arugula, and shredded carrot, all in a spinach wrap); Steak & Fries (chimichurri flank steak with parsley-dusted fries); and South American Skillet (grilled chimichurri flank steak with eggs, potatoes, and red bell peppers.
Because Americans are such meat eaters, South American restaurants are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. These Brazilian steakhouses, or “churrascaria,” owe their origins to the fireside roasts of the gaucho (cowboy) culture centuries ago. For product developers, South America—particularly Brazil and Argentina—are becoming hot destinations for exploring Latin American flavors.
In an earlier report, Gilroy Foods & Flavors turned its attention to Mexican-style sauces, such as salsa, picante, and taco. The company developed several prototypes using its ingredients. For example, Chipotle Gazpacho Salsa is made with fire-roasted grilled poblano peppers and tomatoes, diced cucumbers, chipotle-seasoned red bell peppers, and Gilroy’s Gazpacho Seasoning, a blend of tomato, cucumber, onion, celery, cilantro, green pepper, and jalapeno and chipotle. Margarita Salsa contains fire-roasted grilled red onions, tomatoes, and pineapple blended with the company’s Margarita Seasoning, a zesty blend of lime, salt, and tequila. And Fire-Roasted Tomato and Onion Salsa uses Gilroy’s Raspberry-Chipotle Seasoning..
Gilroy also recently hosted an event, Savor the New Southwest. Chef Stephen Pyles created a Millenium Southwest cuisine that combined the company’s flavors, seasoning blends, and line of Controlled Moisture Vegetables. Recipes included Coriander-Cured Lamb Loin with Ecuadorian Potato Cakes and Cranberry Mojo, and Sea Scallop Ceviche with Golden Tomato Cocktail and Chile Amarillo Mirasol. The Golden Tomato Cocktail Sauce consisted of yellow tomatoes, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, Amarillo peppers, mango, lemon juice and yellow tomato ketchup made with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The Cranberry Mojo featured cranberries, sugar, olive oil, garlic, cumin, habanero peppers, orange juice, Spanish sherry vinegar salt, and chopped cilantro.
Formulating with Dry Sauces
Savory application ideas from French’s Flavor Ingredients, Springfield, Mo. (phone 417-837-1865, www.frenchsflavoringredients.com), highlight the company’s dry sauce and seasoning systems. These sauces can include Yellow Mustard, Dijon Mustard, Cattlemen’s Gold, RedHot Buffalo Wing, Original RedHot, Cattlemen’s Classic BBQ, Cattlemen’s Sweet and Bold BBQ, French’s Worcestershire, and RedHot Chile ‘n Lime.
Application ideas developed by the company cover a broad range such as instant rice and risotto, sous-vide products, chips and nuts, dips and soups, meat products, and many others. For example, Instant Rice and Risotto can take advantage of such flavors as Mushroom Risotto, Rosemary Dijon, Smoky BBQ Bacon, and Southwest Gold. Or chips and nuts can take advantage of gourmet mustard profiles such as Rosemary Dijon Herb and Spicy Honey Mustard.
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Dry sauces can be used in any application where taste is needed without added moisture. They are easily reconstituted with water, providing multiple options with one product. Their addition to wet systems can intensify flavor and they have a fine, smooth texture which is suitable for topical applications. Dry sauces have a higher pH, and are suitable for marinades, and emulsified or structured meat products.
Ingredient Pairings Take Sauces in New Directions
To see some of the exotic directions that sauces can take, all one has to do is look at the 2009 Flavor Forecast, released by McCormick & Co., Hunt Valley, Md. (phone 410-527-8753, www.mccormick.com).
For example, how about Spicy Pulled Pork in Tart Cherry Sauce? This formulation combines the warm intensity of cayenne with the distinctive taste of tart cherries. The upfront tang of tartcherry is said to slowly surrender to the slow-building heat of the cayenne pepper. An additional advantage is that both ingredients are rich in antioxidants, creating a potentially healthier sauce.
Or Dill-Infused Avocado Oil? This oil, which combines dill with avocado, may be used as a light finishing sauce for applications ranging from seafood products to salad dishes. Clean, minty dill brings a vibrant green color and a refreshing taste to olive oil. Avocado oil has a high content of monounsaturated fats, is very versatile, and unlike olive oil, can be used for high-temperature cooking.
Or Smoked Paprika Shrimp with Poblano Polenta and Red Pepper-Agave Sauce? This formulation infuses the intense, natural sweetness of agave nectar with the toasty notes of smoked paprika. Sweet red chile peppers are transformed when naturally smoked over wood planks. A distinctive departure from traditional mild paprika, the flavor of smoked paprika invokes the culinary spirit of Spain. Agave nectar is derived from the same cactus-like plant from Mexico that is the source of tequila. Varieties of light, amber, or dark syrups span from pure sweetness to muted hints of caramel.
McCormick teamed up with some of today’s most innovative cutting edge chefs to explore the ingredient pairings used to make these flavorful and innovative sauces. The sauces demonstrate how ingredients can be reimagined in original ways.
Okonomiyaki is basically a savory pancake popular in Japan. Made from egg and flour base, the batter is completed with the addition of finely chopped cabbage. Traditionally, it is served with okonomiyaki sauce, which is a sweet and sour Japanese Worcestershire sauce.
The word okonomi translates in English to “as you like” or “what you want,” suggesting that the dish is meant to be customized, and that western versions of the concept can be created. Because the batter itself is so lightly flavored, it is the additions themselves, such as the sauce and toppings, which are the source of its flavor.
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At its 2008 Innovation Roadshow, David Michael, Philadelphia, Pa (phone 215-632-3100, www.dmflavors.com), highlighted the classic pancake in two ways:
The classic style featured the pancake with pork (DM Choice® Natural Pork Flavor WONF Powder), served with traditional okonomiyaki sauce (Natural Flavor Japanese Worcestershire Spice Type, Natural & Artificial Prune Flavor, and Natural Tamarind Flavor WONF ) and Japanese-Style Mayonnaise (Natural Flavor “Egg Type” and Natural Flavor “Soy Sauce Type” powder).
A Westernized version featured basil-flavored drizzle (Natural Red Wine Vinegar Toner, Natural Onion Flavor WONF “Grilled Type,” and Natural Basil Flavor) and parmesan cheese.
Of course this dish may be further customized “as you like.” Imagine the possibilities for appetizers, lunch, dessert, and bite-sized convenience types. Westernized versions of okonomiyaki can include Philly Cheesesteak, Buffalo Blue Cheese, and Taco.
Getting to the Thick of it—Part 1
Starches can play a key role in the formulation of sauces. New developments from National Starch Food Innovation, Bridgewater, N.J. (phone 908-685-5000, www.foodinnovation.com), can help manufacturers improve the texture and taste of their product while possibly reducing fat and caloric content.
For example, a new instant texturizer, Ultra Create, combines the desired attributes of flour—opacity, appearance, and taste—with the cold-water dispersibility, consistency, and freeze/thaw stability of premium instant starches. The one-step solution allows food processors to create products such as sauces, gravies, soups, ready meals, and dry mixes with less effort.
The ingredient disperses quickly, instantly thickens without lumping, and does not gel upon cooling. It provides excellent stabilization of fats, preventing the separation of lipids in soups, sauces, and gravies. Products made with the ingredient are freeze/thaw stable, allowing foodservice establishments to prepare formulations in advance without concern about them breaking down or gelling during processing or reheating. The modified starch provides excellent mouthfeel and does not mask the flavor of other ingredients.
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Another new development, Novation® 4300 and 5300, instantly thickens dressings, and sauces in harsh processing conditions. The two functional native waxy maize starches disperse readily in cold liquids for faster preparation time and produce a smooth, short, high-quality texture in salad dressings, sauces, and gravies, as well as in fillings for bars, turnovers, or pies.
Novation 4300 is a finely powdered is a finely powdered version for dry blending, while Novation 5300 has a coarser granulation to blend into liquids without lumping. The two cold water swelling products withstand downstream processing—heat, shear, and recycling—in a broad range of acidified foods, combining the instant thickening performance of premium modified starches with a simple “corn starch” declaration.
Withstanding high shear, heat, and recycling, these starches provide sauces and dressings with appropriate body at efficient usage levels. They may be used to produce a smooth, heavy-bodied dressing, with a rich, creamy texture and mouthfeel as well as excellent sheen. Because of their heat tolerance, they yield superior results in foods intended for microwaving and steam-table use. In addition, they have good clarity, reduced spread in high-solids fillings, and will not set to a gel when cooled.
“Unlike traditional modified starches, Novation 4300 and 5300 achieve their superior properties without chemical modification,” said Joseph M. Light, National Starch’s Senior Director of Customer Solutions and Product Innovation. “Because of their patented technology, these ingredients deliver the performance the industry expects from premium instant starches.”
Getting to the Thick of It—Part 2
A quick-dispersing cold water swelling starch, HiForm™ 12754, is the latest addition to a portfolio of starches offered by Cargill Texturizing Solutions, Minneapolis, Minn. (phone 952-742-6557, www.cargilltexturizing.com). In dry soup mixes, sauces, gravies, dressings, and fillings, the new starch has numerous benefits, including easier dispersion and reduced mixed time, while providing these applications with the same smooth texture and clean flavor properties that would typically require lengthy preparation and cooking times.
The new starch development, launched in the Americas, is said to deliver performance not only superior to finely granulated cold-water-swelling starches, but also comparable to agglomerated versions. With its creaminess and smooth texture, it is a versatile option for many retail and foodservice applications.
The starch addresses dispersion issues and provides less dusting than other starches in its category. Other benefits it offers includes a slight, coarse granulation; a smooth, short texture; and a bland flavor profile that won’t mask flavors in food systems. The starch is heat, shear, acid, and freeze-thaw stable, which translates to a stable viscosity in abusive or acidic storage conditions and a smooth texture even after freezer or refrigerator storage.
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According to Dorothy Peterson, Cargill’s Starch Applications Technical Lead, “New cold-water-swelling starches such as this one open up new choices for texture, dispersion, viscosity development, hydration rate, and process resistance, making this ingredient a valuable offering for our customers.”
New Bases for Sauces
A new line of dry, shelf-stable bases from Advanced Food Systems, Somerset, N.J. (phone 732-873-6776, www.afsnj.com), may be used to produce retorted sauces, soups, and ready-to-eat meals for foodservice or retail. Chef-Ready® Retortable Bases® are specially formulated to maintain excellent flavor, color, and texture through the heat and pressure of retort processing and final preparation. In fact, according to the company, in many cases flavor is enhanced during retorting because of the development of reaction flavors.
The bases are available in a wide range of varieties such as marinara sauce, cheddar cheese sauce, butter sauce, and demi-glace, as well as chicken, beef, vegetable, and seafood stocks. Custom bases are also offered. The dry bases are easy to work with and quickly hydrate using water at ambient or warm temperatures. They can be easily combined with meat, pasta, or other ingredients prior to retort processing.
Creating Less-Salty Sauces
Sodium-reduced sauces can be produced using a new generation of SymLife Salt™, a line of natural savory and salt enhancers. The cost-effective salt alternative developed by Symrise Inc., Teterboro, N.J. (phone 201-288-3200, www.symrise.com), can provide up to 50% sodium reduction while maintaining the salty perception.
“In our applications laboratories, Sym-Life Salt has achieved high performance in a range of formulations, including soups, sauces, meat and poultry, and snack seasonings,” said Eileen Simons, Applications Director of Symrise’s Savory Business Unit, Flavor & Nutrition Division, North America. “It is retort, freeze thaw, and shelf stable, and performs well, even under rigorous processing conditions.”
The improved line of natural savory and salt enhancers is said to effectively overcome the sodium-reduction challenges of potassium chloride, masking agents, and flavor-enhancing technologies. It provides a clean label, non-intrusive flavor solution that delivers the desired amount of saltiness. With this ingredient, “we overcame technological challenges to create a flavor solution that delivers the upfront bite, mouthfeel, and lingering effects that makes the tastes of savory products so appealing,” noted Simons. “We were able to balance total flavor, potentiate saltiness, and provide the salivation that is associated with savory foods that consumers crave.”
Will Sauces Give Legumes a Leg Up?
A symposium at the 2009 IFT Annual Meeting is exploring new applications for beans and other legumes in processed foods. A second symposium is focusing on the marama bean from Southern Africa and how it can offer potential quality and health-promoting properties in a number of food applications. And in the March 2009 Ingredients Section I explored how the benefits of beans are reaching a new generation of consumers.
--- PAGE BREAK ---A symposium at the 2009 IFT Annual Meeting is exploring new applications for beans and other legumes in processed foods. A second symposium is focusing on the marama bean from Southern Africa and how it can offer potential quality and health-promoting properties in a number of food applications. And in the March 2009 Ingredients Section I explored how the benefits of beans are reaching a new generation of consumers.
Of course, the use of beans in sauces is not totally unfamiliar. There are refried bean dips, black bean sauces, bean soups, hummus-style spreads, and even chili on pasta. But there is still a lot of room left to explore for the legume, especially in sauces. As noted in a symposium (Session 43), beans offer nutritional benefits as well as texturizing and color properties—good reasons for adding them to sauces. Beans can find use in vegetarian spreads and sauces, or in the development of new salad dressings or condiments. Or beans can be used in exotic sauces from around the world, which can then be used to transform traditional formulations and help differentiate them in the marketplace. Take, for example, a Black Bean Burger with Sweet Cascabel Java spread, a prototype developed by Gilroy Foods and Flavors. Burgers never tasted like this before.
Furthermore, ingredient suppliers such as ADM, Decatur, Ill. (phone 217-451-5200, www.admworld.com), are making it easier to use the bean in a wider array of applications. Available from the company is a line of pre-cooked, ready-to-use bean ingredients, VegeFull™, which increases their convenience for food processors. The wide range of products include pinto, black, red, navy, and other beans in such forms as powders, grits, pieces, and whole.
Proof Is in the Sauce
So what’s in store for sauces? This article has looked at a number of ways that sauces can exhance a food product. The use of curry sauce can create bolder, more authentic flavors. Sauces can be developed that evoke a certain mood. Sauces from South America can add a new dimension to the steak experience. And East Meets West in the development of some new sauce concepts. These were just a few examples looked at in this article that might influence future directions for sauces.
And there are so many others. The April 2008 Ingredients Section looked at a number of new developments in the condiments area. (This article could serve as a good complement to that one.) Different condiments such as horseradish and mayonnaise can be combined to create unique sauces and dressings. Barbecue sauces are pairing with flavors from different regions of the world. Yogurt-based sauces are being fueled by international cuisines. And fruit sauces are being made with exotic fruits—some of them promoted for their “superfruit” properties.
This article has suggested different benefits that a sauce can offer during this economy. But as a historian knows, recessions come and go. And hopefully the same will be said about this one. And my guess is when times are better and product development becomes more stimulated, sauces will continue to play a major role in delivering bolder, more exotic flavors; helping to reformulate or revitalize existing products; and making healthier or better-for-you products more appealing and tasty.
As can be seen, sauces are very flexible. Which is why, a little earlier, I called them foolproof. They can work well when times are good and the marketplace sees many new product launches. Or when times aren’t so good. These products provide a spirit or a sense of “sauciness” that formulators will always find critical, no matter what the circumstances are. To paraphrase an old axiom, “The proof is in the…sauce.”
Next month’s Ingredients section will provide its annual installment of emerging ingredients and the benefits they offer in functionality, health, convenience, and overall formulation.
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IFT Food Expo Serves Up the Sauces
Looking for a particular sauce that might enhance your formulation? Or help differentiate it in the marketplace? Or make a traditional or mainstream application more exotic and appealing to the consumer? This year’s IFT Food Expo will showcase a number of sauce prototypes that might just accomplish those objectives.
Here are a few examples of what might turn out to be “pure gravy” for the formulator.
• Hispanic-inspired prototype, Pork Carnitas Taco, features UltraClean Natural Braised Pork Flavor from Innova, a Griffith Laboratories Company, Lombard, Ill. (phone 620-928-4800, www.innovaflavors.com). Served on a warm white corn tortilla, it is drizzled with a choice of three sauces—Red Pepper & Lime Mole, Cilantro Jalapeno Cream, and Cascabel Citrus Corn Sauce.
• Apples demonstrate their versatility in sweet and savory sauce prototypes highlighted by Knouse Foods Coop Inc., Peach Glen, Pa. (phone 717-677-8181, www.knousefoodservice.com). Caramel Apple Sauce captures the flavor of a caramel apple. Green Summer Salsa uses apples to add a bit of sweetness to the heat of chili peppers and the savory flavors of other ingredients.
• Ponzu is a tangy, lemony seasoned soy sauce popular in Japan. Described as soy with a twist, Kikkoman Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Dressing can be used as a dipping sauce, on salads, or as a flavor-boosting ingredient in recipes ranging from Asian to Latin to mainstream American. The new product from Kikkoman Sales USA, San Francisco, Calif. (phone 415-229-3650, www.kikkomanusa.com), consists of soy sauce, natural lemon flavors, vinegar, and seasonings, blended to provide savory, sweet, tangy, tart, and umami tastes.
• A prototype/dressing dip, Yogurt Ranch, will be highlighted by Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont, Ill. (phone 847-803-2000, www.innovatewithdairy.com). The product, formulated with value-added dairy ingredients, was developed to meet consumer demands for convenient and healthier food choices. The natural dressing/dip is reduced in fat and has a clean ingredient label that consumers should find appealing.
• Sweet and savory dishes will illustrate how Tabasco sauces from McIlhenney Co., Avery Island, La. (phone 337-373-6105, www.tabascoingredients.com), can be used to provide different levels of heat. Tabasco, the quintessential pepper sauce made from red chili peppers that are aged in white oak barrels, is available in different versions, ranging from Habanero to Green Pepper Sauce. The line of sauces can be used to provide a hot kick to a sweet dessert such as ice cream or to enhance the flavor profiles of savory dishes such as seafood or poultry.
• An Alfredo sauce prototype demonstrates the functionality of whey proteins. The formulation, developed by Grande Custom Ingredients Group, Lomira, Wis. (phone 920-269-7188, www.grandecig.com), was able to replace 100% of the heavy cream typically used in the application while maintaining its creamy texture and natural dairy flavor. The sauce is made with Grande Bravo 600, a new whey protein that contributes a very heavy, creamy texture; Bravo 510; and additional water. According to the company, the creamy, flavorful sauce can be produced at a significant cost reduction.
• Dry sauces ranging from Dijon mustard to barbecue will be highlighted in prototype applications developed by French’s Flavor Ingredients, Springfield, Mo. (phone 417-837-1865, www.frenchsflavoringredients.com). Products include French’s dry and prepared mustards, Worcestershire sauces, Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce line, and Cattlemen’s BBQ line.
• Manufacturing authentic Asian sauces and seasonings for more than 120 years, Lee Kum Kee (USA) Inc., City of Industry, Calif. (phone 626-709-1888, www.LKK.com), can provide a number of ingredient bases, including oyster-flavored sauce, Hoisin sauce, chili sauces, pure sesame oil, and mandarin orange chicken sauce. The company recently launched its “Chef Select” soy sauce.
• A variety of new sauces launched in 2009 will be highlighted by Wan Ja Shan/Mandarin Soy Sauce Inc., Middleton, N.Y. (phone 845-343-1505, www.wanjashan.com). These products include Organic Worcestershire Sauce, Organic Ponzu (Citrus Seasoned Soy Sauce), Mirin, and Bonito Soy Sauce.
• A full line of hot-fill sauces from Gamay, New Berlin, Wis. (phone 262-789-5104, www.gamayflavors.com), can be customized to meet customer’s needs. These shelf-stable sauces include Cheddar, Szechuan, Jerk, Parmesan Alfredo, Mango Chutney, and a variety of others.
• A new line of sautéed, ready-to-use mushrooms from Phillips Gourmet Inc., Kennett Square, Pa. (phone 610-925-0520, www.phillipsgourmet.com), may be used in sauces, spreads, dips, and toppings. The mushrooms are available in a number of cuts and varieties to suit customer’s needs. A proprietary process allows the mushrooms to go through a freeze/thaw cycle without destroying their cell structure. This helps to maintain a flavor and texture very close to fresh mushrooms.
Donald E. Pszczola,
Senior Associate Editor