Consideration of texture (or mouthfeel), plays a very important part in today’s food formulating. This is especially true with the present economy putting pressure on the food formulator as well as a continued emphasis on promoting better-for-you products that will succeed in the marketplace.
In fact, the quality—as well as acceptability—of food products is influenced greatly by the textural properties traditionally associated with them. As such, texture can serve as sort of a measuring yardstick for the kinds of raw materials and ingredients selected for a particular formulation.
And yet despite its benefits, texture, unlike flavor and other sensory attributes, frequently lags behind in its understanding and the subsequent exploitation of its properties. One reason for this may be the inherent complexity of texture—in particular, its underlying and inter-related factors and how those factors affect the other major attributes of food, such as flavor, appearance, and perceived health value.
Improved ways for capturing the sometimeselusive quality of texture may be needed. This might mean a better “mapping out,” if you will, of its different varieties (hardness, toughness, chewiness, brittleness, crunchiness, and a score of others that I suspect fall somewhere in between) and the potential impact that they might have on different marketing segments, including those defined by age, sex, and cultural heritage. Interestingly, while certain properties of texture—those that most likely provide the greatest influence on consumer acceptance—have been adequately measured, there are still many areas that remain yet undiscovered.
How we approach texture may be changing as formulators increasingly recognize the value of texture in transforming food products to meet a variety of today’s needs and emerging trends. For example, when making a food better-for-you—whether it’s lowering calories, adding fiber and other nutrients, or finding workable alternatives for other ingredients in the formula—texture considerations are of central importance. Maintaining texture associated with traditional formulations, replicating different kinds of texture found in international cuisines, adapting texture to meet mainstream interests, and even creating new textures can frequently mean the success or failure of the product in the marketplace.
One exciting area for textural improvement is in the development of gluten-free breads that resemble the texture—as well as flavor and color—of regular breads. Individuals dealing with celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities are expecting products to be as close as possible in texture, appearance, and taste to regular bread. While traditional gluten-free breads were often described as heavy, coarse, and too moist and crumbly, new texture developments may be changing that scenario.
Combining indulgence and health is also of increasing interest to food formulators. The possibility of meeting both goals in the same product would probably have seemed paradoxical a few years ago, but the development and application of new texture systems are helping to make this aspect of formulation more of a reality.
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Imagine some of today’s products that are now possible because of a refocusing on texture and the use of these systems to improve their quality and mouthfeel. These might include sugar-free products for weight management and diabetes control, non-gelatin formulations for vegetarians, snacks and desserts with more appeal for kids, reduced-fat cheese products that do not have the rubbery texture previously associated with them, and a variety of other products reformulated to meet specific needs.
The significance of texture in product development is clearly reflected by the growing number of food ingredient companies that have launched “texture centers” over the past couple of years—a point that resonates even further when considering the current state of the economy. These state-of-the-art facilities are designed to work with customers to solve various challenges related to texture and to do this in a shorter period of time, reducing overall costs.
When replacing certain ingredients because of economic or health reasons, the texture of the overall formulation can be compromised, and it is essential that texture is built back into the food system. Accomplishing this can still be challenging. This article will look at some of the changing concepts and approaches that food ingredient companies are taking toward texture, and how ingredients such as starches, gums, whole grains, and inclusions can help shape texture and overcome challenges.
Putting Some Starch into Texture’s Backbone
“While flavor and packaging concepts are advanced, texture virtually remains an unexplored territory for food formulators,” noted National Starch Food Innovation, Bridgewater, N.J. (phone 908-685-5000, www.foodinnovation.com), at the 2005 IFT Food Expo.®
Referring to texture as “the fourth dimension,” the company predicted that factors such as a demographic preference for a desired texture need to be taken into consideration when creating new products for tomorrow’s marketplace.
Since making those remarks four years ago, National Starch has demonstrated in a number of ways its commitment to a food development and marketing approach that has texture as its driving focus. And, of course, starch-based ingredients and systems play a major part in the company’s pioneering—and still evolving—philosophy.
“We consider starch to be the ‘backbone’ of texture,” emphasized James P. Zallie, the company’s CEO. This ingredient, which functions as a base viscosifier and texturizer, forms the “foundation for texture” in a variety of high- and low-moisture foods, such as dairy products, snacks, soups, sauces, and baked goods. The company—using its consumer insights, sensory knowledge, and applications expertise—can manipulate the shape, size, composition, and integrity of starch granules to produce differentiating textures that elicit a wide range of sensory feelings.
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Reaching a targeted texture is a complex process involving formulation, processing conditions, moisture level adjustments, and the selection of the right specialty starch. The base starch serves as a viscosifier, which establishes the food’s structure. Choosing the right base starch depends on the desired structure, as well as application and process parameters. Once the basic structure has been created, it becomes a process of fine-tuning to bring out subtle differences in texture that are experienced in the mouth while eating.
To support its expanding texture efforts, the starch supplier opened its state-of-the-art Texture Center of Excellence in 2008.The facility is designed to help the industry improve the texture dimension of processed foods through the use of starch-based solutions in combination with other functional ingredients. Its texture capabilities can provide accelerated innovation and new product development while enhancing creative collaboration with customers.
At the facility, opportunities for new products and improvements can be identified by analyzing the “textural spaces” occupied by current products. Consumer insights are enerated, mapped, and translated into new product concepts that provide tangible sensory experiences that are measured and evaluated. Sensory teams translate consumers’ basic descriptions of food textures (e.g., smooth, crunchy, creamy, and rich) into a comprehensive lexicon of technical terms that can be applied to guide food formulators. Teams of chefs and food scientists work to develop formulations for large-scale processing, using ingredient systems capable of delivering specific textures within that product category.
One of the capabilities offered at the facility was launched at the 2009 IFT Food Expo. Dial-In™ Texture Technology reportedly enables food and beverage manufacturers to target the precise texture they desire in their product. According to Joseph Light, Head of Global Development for the company, this proprietary, data-driven modeling approach—which integrates core capabilities in consumer insights, material science, sensory evaluation, and application and processing knowledge—makes possible the rapid optimization of a texture system in an application. This is done by the formulator selecting or “dialing-in” the appropriate level and intensity of the individual textural attributes desired. By identifying opportunities to fine-tune texture without reworking the customer’s manufacturing process and helping customers to understand exactly which ingredients will and will not work within their manufacturing process, the process minimizes trial and error, reduces development costs, and delivers a consistent eating experience.
Using this approach to texture development, the company created its Precisa™ Cling and Precisa Cream lines of texturizing systems to assist in texture transformation of new or reformulated products. These systems can assist food manufacturers in building back texture in formulations while reducing the use of costly ingredients and maintaining excellent eating qualities. Precisa Cling products have been targeted for soups, sauces, and dressings, while Precisa Cream are designed for dairy foods. Both starch-based systems made their debut at the 2009 IFT Food Expo, and more detailed information about their properties and how they were demonstrated can be found in the August 2009 issue of Food Technology.
National Starch also recently launched its new gluten-free solutions for baked goods. Initial tests indicated that the use of these ingredients dramatically improved the texture of gluten-free products, including cupcakes, cookies, and cakes. Textural attributes, such as smoothness, moistness, and chewiness, reportedly were similar to those of gluten-containing products.
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In the snacking area, a range of textures have been generated that are suitable for sheeted baked crackers and fabricated chips. These textures can be used in the development of such products as gourmet and indulgent, healthier and better for you, clean label, and functional. They range from tender and delicate crispy textures to “snapping” or “shattering” crunchy textures, as well as a new “in-between” region, which the company refers to as a “crinchy” texture. Crackers and chips that are crinchy can be described as crispy and crunchy, starting with a crunchy snap, thenbecoming crackly in the mouth.
The company has a broad portfolio of specialty starches derived from corn, tapioca, and potato sources that are used for specific functions in these snacking applications. For expansion and crispiness, starches are available that contribute to better volume control and uniform cell structure while reducing breakage in the final product. Other starches can provide key properties such as gelling, film forming, protective barrier, and opacifying. Starches can help nuts, fruits, and seasonings better adhere to snacks. Resistant starch and whole-grain corn flour can add important nutrients and health benefits to snacks that are enhanced nutritionally.
With these texturizers, a variety of possibilities can be explored in snack development, especially in the creation of reduced-fat, fiber-fortified, and whole-grain snack options. For example, a crisp, crunchy, or crinchy product can be fabricated without frying. A satisfying texture can be achieved in low-fat formulations. A tender cracker can be produced without fermentation. And a desired texture can be achieved while boosting nutritional content.
Prototypes developed at the texture facility demonstrate how far fiber has come, as well. In the past, fiber-containing foods have been coarser, denser, and generally less palatable compared with refined processed foods. But today, as the center shows, formulations can be created that combine fiber enrichment with indulgent tastes and textures.
In the development of soups, sauces, gravies, and other such products, National Starch recently developed Ultra Create, an instant texturizer that combines the best attributes of flour (opacity and taste) with those of premium instant starches (cold-water dispersibility, consistency, and freeze-thaw stability).
The ingredient provides excellent stabilization of fats, preventing the separation of lipids in these applications, and does not break down during processing or reheating. It disperses quickly and instantly thickens without lumping and does not gel upon cooling. Products made with the texturizer are freeze/thaw stable for refrigerated or freezer applications.
And in creamy dairy dessert applications, new starch-based systems, N-Dulge™ Co-Texturizers, can deliver dramatically different textures. These textures include thick, full mouthcoating and slow meltaway; slight mouthcoating and “slippery,” even meltaway; creamy, firm, even mouthcoating and meltaway; and clean, creamy, and slightly firm mouthcoating with rapid meltaway.
In 2009, the company received an IFT Food Expo Innovation award for its Novation low-pH and high-shear-tolerant functional native starches. The two cold-water-swelling starches, 4300 and 5300, produce a smooth, short, high-quality texture in salad dressings, sauces, and gravies, and in fillings for bars, turnovers, or pies. They are said to provide the instant thickening performance of premium modified starches with a simple “corn starch” declaration. They readily disperse in cold liquids for faster preparation time and can withstand downstream processing in a broad range of acidified products. According to the company, Novation 4300 is a finely powdered version for dry blending while Novation 5300 has a coarser granulation to blend into liquids without lumping.
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Texture Gets Grainy Makeovers
When ConAgra Mills, Omaha, Neb. (phone 402-595-5153, www.conagramills.com), introduced its Ultragrain® whole wheat flour in 2004, the company created a product that not only began positively changing the consumer perception of whole grains, but provided an ingredient that served as an early example of what might be called “Stealth Health.” With it, a product could be created that looks, smells, and feels like white bread but contains all the nutrients of whole grains.
The ingredient was developed from a proprietary variety of white wheat, grown to have a sweeter, milder taste and lighter color than conventional wheat. By applying a special milling technology to this wheat, the company was able to produce a whole-grain flour with the same particle size as refined white flour. While delivering the mild flavor, color, and texture of refined flour, the ingredient retains the fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients concentrated within the bran and germ. It is suitable for use in such formulations as breads, tortillas, pasta, pizza dough, snacks and cereal bars, pretzels, cookies, crackers, pastries, noodles, waffles, and French toast sticks. At the 2009 IFT Food Expo, the ingredient was highlighted in a prototype whole-grain breakfast croissant.
By mixing the ingredient with other flours, effective strategies can be developed for formulating traditional or emerging whole-grain applications. Products made with Ultragrain or Ultragrain blends include Papa John’s whole-wheat blends include whole-wheat pizza; Sara Lee Soft & Smooth bread, buns, and bagels; Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Healthy Choice® Cinnamon Bakes; and many others. School cafeterias and restaurants also include products formulated with Ultragrain on their menus.
Recently, the company began promoting its line of Ancient Grains, discussed in last month’s article on “Ingredients of Antiquity.” These grains, including amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, and teff, provide novel, hearty textures compared to those of refined products. (For example, quinoa, when cooked, is said to have a soft and airy grain texture juxtaposed by a nutty crunch derived from the thin germ circlet; millet has a crunchy texture; and amaranth has a somewhat sticky nature.)
A variety of multigrain flours are also available, including a six-grain one (amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff, Ultragrain, and a refined wheat flour) and a nine-grain one (amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff, rye, oats, Ultragrain, and Sustagrain barley, blended with a refined wheat flour). A coarse, eight-whole-grain-and-seed mixture—made with crushed wheat, chopped rye, millet, Sustagrain barley flakes, cornmeal, chopped oats, flax, and sunflower seeds—is also offered. It can be added to dough or used topically to provide an eye-catching texture. At the 2009 IFT Food Expo, a Lobster Mac pasta dish featured a nine-grain blend, combining a textural indulgence with potential health value.
An interest in different ethnic cuisines is also providing new opportunities for distinctive textures to appear in the mainstream. For example, the company recently introduced Mumbai Gold Fresh Chakki Atta, which is milled from specially selected durum wheat to traditional Indian specifications for texture, taste, and functionality. According to the company, the product is suitable for delivering authentic flatbreads on a national scale. Traditional Indian flatbreads made with the ingredient include Chapatti/Roti (flatbreads made by rolling dough into discs, which are cooked on a griddle and then held over a flame where the steam causes them to puff); Paratha (flakier than chapatti, it is made by folding and re-rolling dough for a pastry-like flatbread); and Puri (soft flatbreads that are finished in hot oil to make them puff for scooping curries and vegetables).
One of the most dramatic areas of growth in the food industry has been in the gluten-free segment. Frequently, the texture of gluten-free breads suffers compared with regular versions. To address this problem, ConAgra Mills developed Eagle Mills Gluten-Free All-Purpose Multigrain Flour. This whole-grain flour, a proprietary blend of Ancient Grains and tapioca starch, is formulated to achieve optimal functionality with whole-grain nutrition, fiber, texture, appearance, and flavors that consumers desire. It may be used in a range of products, including pan bread, tortillas, muffins, snacks, coatings, and extruded cereals.
In a study with focus groups, competitor breads were compared with those made with the new flour. While competitor breads were criticized for being dense, crumbly, and having non-bread characteristics, breads made with ConAgra’s gluten-free flour were described as more moist, more bread-like, and flavorful. The company claimed that formulators, using the new gluten-free flour, can successfully create products with texture resembling regular breads. These breads will not be crumbly but contain whole pieces, will be moist with the ability to thinly slice, and have a good crust for easy-to-make sandwiches.
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How Gums Solve Textural Challenges
As part of its 100th anniversary, TIC Gums Inc., Belcamp, Md. (phone 800-899-3953, www.ticgums.com), recently opened its Texture Innovation Center—a 56,000-sq.-ft. facility that expands the company’s capability to provide custom solutions and develop technologies in the field of texture stabilization. The center, which includes a state-of-the-art pilot plant, a commercial-grade testing kitchen, and sensory testing rooms, demonstrates the company’s sophisticated approach in the utilization of hydrocolloid systems to solve textural challenges.
One of the latest texture innovations, Ticaloid® Tortilla, is a combination of water-binding hydrocolloids that can improve strength and moisture control in the finished tortilla, as well as control ice crystal formation in frozen tortilla applications. “The biggest shift in the tortilla market has been toward healthy, whole-grain, and multi-grain tortillas,” noted Dan Grazaitis, a food technologist for the company. “This tortilla-specific stabilizer adds strengthening properties needed in these new products. Moreover, it can bolster the fiber content of tortilla products, since gums inherently contain important soluble fiber.”
A new gum system, TicaPan Coating System, functions as a gum Arabic replacer in chewing gum and confectionery applications. The system, suitable for all panning applications, may be used to seal nuts, polish confections, strengthen shells, and create edible glitters. Studies have shown that it dries equal to or better than gum Arabic, providing a comparable texture profile.
Two new gum blends have been developed for baked goods such as cupcakes. Ticaloid® Lite HF, a water-soluble gum system, lends moisture and boosts fiber content, improving the eating quality of the product. Ticaloid Icing Max, a blend of modified gum Arabic and other hydrocolloids, lends viscosity and water-binding properties to icings and glazes.
Dairyblend YG HF Drink-2, a synergistic blend of hydrocolloids, functions as a stabilizer for use in yogurt beverages. The gum system is said to provide a smooth, creamy texture, adding fiber and mouthfeel to the application.
And at a time when the economy is a high priority, the company offers Action Gum 10000 EC, a versatile gum blend that is said to provide users with “more bang for the buck.” It was developed as a cost-effective thickener at low usage levels and across a broad pH range. It can be used at higher levels to impart a gel-like texture, and although it is cold water soluble, it performs well in hot processed systems. As a stabilizer, thickener, and suspending agent, this gum blend is suitable for use in sauces, gravies, soups, and dressings. It can also be incorporated into bakery products to enhance moisture retention and batter viscosity.
The Many Textures of Chocolate
A number of ingredient innovations developed by Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut (phone 41 43 204 04 04, www.barry-callebaut.com), demonstrate how important of an attribute texture is in chocolate, as well as the wide variety of textures that chocolate ingredients can offer in a formulation. These different textures can help create new opportunities in the marketplace and broaden application use in products that provide a balance between health, indulgence, and new taste experiences.
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A newly developed chocolate, Volcano, has a crispy, crunchy texture (rather than creamy) because it is aerated, containing little air bubbles. As a result, its density is said to be approximately 90% less than that of standard chocolate, and its high volume means that less is needed in a formulation. Consequently, the ingredient has potential to reduce calories in the finished product. The final caloric count will, of course, depend on the recipe and how it is used. According to the company, the chocolate’s light consistency, like that of an airy foam, makes it well suited as a foamy, crunchy center for biscuits and inclusions, and it can be molded into any shape.
Interestingly, Volcano is also heat resistant, having a much higher melting point (131oF) than that of regular chocolate. The company was able to raise the melting point by introducing a special step in the production process. While the chocolate is designed not to melt in the hands and can withstand warmer climates, it does melt in the mouth upon contact with enzymes in saliva.
The new product is described as having a rich chocolate taste and aroma, and is available in dark, milk, white, and fruity versions. It is reported to contain less cocoa butter than regular chocolate, helping to reduce the calorie content and increase the melting point.
In 2007, Barry Callebaut launched an aerated chocolate product line that provided a light, almost fluffy texture. Because it was one-third the weight of standard chocolate, the ingredient could float in liquid, making it especially suitable for use in cereals, as well as baking and dairy applications. Food manufacturers could use the aerated chocolate chunks to increase the total number of chocolate pieces in a product while maintaining the total chocolate mass. This provided the manufacturer with added value and cost efficiencies.
To add flavor and texture to bakery and confectionery products, the company offers a full range of innovative inclusions that come in different sizes, shapes, tastes, and, of course, textures. The line, which includes caramelized cocoa nibs (roasted kernels of cocoa beans), is specifically designed to add flavor, crunch, or texture to a variety of custom-formulated foods.
When marrying health and indulgence, attributes such as texture cannot be compromised. Over the past several months, Barry Callebaut has introduced several “rebalanced” chocolate products that contain more fiber, less sugar, less fat, and even no sugar—without altering their taste, texture, or mouthfeel. The company applies its understanding of market evolutions, product composition, and processing technology to improve existing products or develop entirely new concepts for its customers.
And what about other new textural experiences? Some of these are being studied and developed at Barry Callebaut’s chocolate academies located throughout the world. A year ago, the company opened its twelfth academy—this one in Chicago—and the first in the United States. The state-of-the art facility provides a hands-on training center for professional users of chocolate and creates a fertile ground for further opportunities in texture transformation.
Adding ‘Structure’ to the Economy?
Today’s global economic downturn and raw material price increases are creating a number of challenges for all sectors of the food and beverage industry, according to Darrin Peterson, Dairy Category Marketing Manager for Cargill Texturizing Solutions, Wayzata, Minn. (phone 952-742-5928, www.cargill.com). The good news is that with texturizing options, product manufacturers can beat the downturn and deliver on texture, mouthfeel quality, and other quality attributes while keeping a tight handle on costs, he emphasized.
--- PAGE BREAK ---Today’s global economic downturn and raw material price increases are creating a number of challenges for all sectors of the food and beverage industry, according to Darrin Peterson, Dairy Category Marketing Manager for Cargill Texturizing Solutions, Wayzata, Minn. (phone 952-742-5928, ). The good news is that with texturizing options, product manufacturers can beat the downturn and deliver on texture, mouthfeel quality, and other quality attributes while keeping a tight handle on costs, he emphasized.
By working in close relationships with their ingredient supplier, especially one that offers a broad portfolio of texturizing ingredients, manufacturers can find cost-effective and innovative solutions that will help them manage through these difficult times. Some of these solutions might be single ingredients, such as xanthan gum, pectins, carrageenans, alginates, locust bean gum, soy flours, starches, lecithins, cultures, and enzymes. Others are complete functional systems based on specific combinations of hydrocolloids and other texturizing ingredients.
“This broad-based approach makes sense, particularly when internal resources are stretched and less time is available for market scanning and innovation,” said Peterson. “With such a palette of ingredients and expertise on tap, innovative, tailor-made solutions are easily accessible and are unconstrained by issues of raw materials supply or availability of processing facilities,” he noted.
For example, gum Arabic has traditionally been used by confectioners for making fruit gums and other panned confections. Cargill’s starches, ClearSet™ and AraSet™, can provide an alternative, working most efficiently in applications such as gummies, jellies, and confectionery coatings. These starches—used alone or in combination with other gelling agents such as pectins and carrageenans—are able to create a wide range of innovative confectionery textures.
The company’s HiForm™ 12754, a quick-dispersing cold-water-swelling starch, imparts creaminess and smooth texture in dry mix soups, sauces, gravies, cold-processed salad dressings, fruit pie fillings, and puddings. It offers a slight, coarse granulation; a smooth, short texture; and a bland flavor profile. The starch also addresses dispersion issues, providing less dusting than other similar products.
The use of Cargill’s Gelogen™ GSG 7171 functional system in cakes and muffins reportedly allows for up to one-third egg replacement without any loss of volume and provides excellent crumb structure, moisture, and flavor in the finished product. For sponge cakes, EmTex™ 06328 starch allows for 25% egg replacement, creating a light, fluffy sponge texture.
Accubind™—a blend of starch, soy protein, alginates, and phosphates—can be used to replace soy concentrate in meatballs and other ground beef applications. The system maintains texture and water management and adds a light color that is suitable for poultry, pork, and beef.
These are just a few examples of texturizing options from Cargill which can help reduce both development and processing overheads for manufacturers seeking creative and reliable ingredient solutions. “Sometimes it is more beneficial to process several ingredients together in order to optimize their properties and use,” added Peterson. “These benefits result from interactions that may occur during processing or in the end product. The integration of hydrocolloids and emulsifiers, for example, allows the use of both ingredients at the same time and gives the ability to handle products that are not in the same state, such as liquids and solids.”
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Jammin’ With Texture
A new range of pectin products from CP Kelco, a Huber Company, Atlanta, Ga. (phone 678-247-7413, www.cpkelco.com), is designed to create new textures in reduced-sugar and sugar-free jams, jellies, and fruit spreads. Marketed under the Genu® Explorer brand, these pectin types are said to be produced by a process that significantly maintains the pectin’s properties, making them more like those found in the native fruit.
According to Poul Larsen, the company’s Technical Support & Development Manager for Food, the pectin range offers jams and fruit spreads with more smooth and creamy textures. In addition, the jams have improved visual appeal because of a significant reduction in syneresis and an improved fruit distribution. Larsen added that several of these pectin types can be used to formulate consumer products labeled organic or natural.
In 2009, Kelco also introduced Genu® Beta pectin as a stabilizer alternative to propylene glycol alginates (PGA) in salad dressings. The ingredient, a polysaccharide derived from naturally occurring structural components in sugar beets, was found to provide the same or better emulsion stability at similar use levels as PGA, a standard for providing emulsion stability in full- and low-fat dressings.
The Whey to Texture
Whey protein crisps from Grande Custom Ingredients, Lomira, Wis. (phone 920-269-7188, www.grandecig.com), provide a crunchy texture to bars, cereals, granola, ice creams, yogurts, snacks, and a variety of other products. The ingredient, WPCrisps, is made by combining whey protein with natural carbohydrates in a patented extrusion process.
In the present economy, these crisps provide a convenient way for food formulators to add innovative features to their products, while helping to cut costs by replacing more expensive ingredients. For example, new toppings for yogurt canbe created, helping to differentiate the product in the marketplace while providing nutritional value. Whey protein crisps can be easily customized with protein levels ranging from 25% to 70%. In addition, they are available in different flavors, color, shapes, sizes, and, of course, textures.
Formulations can also be improved by using functional whey proteins with special water-binding and textural enhancement properties. In soups, dressings, sauces, dips, and spreads, Grande Bravo functional whey proteins can improve creaminess and mouthfeel while helping to replace some of the higher-fat ingredients. In meatball and sausage applications, these proteins retain moistness and provide a natural, meat-like texture. Their broad spectrum of viscosity and gelation properties makes these ingredients effective in a wide range of food applications, especially in terms of creating different textures. The newest addition to the line is said to create an important, difficult-to-mimic mouthfeel attribute in cheese sauces, cheesecakes, and some Alfredo-type sauces.
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Enhancing Bakery Texture
A technology from Puratos USA, Cherry Hill, N.J. (phone 800-654-0036, www.puratos.us), combines enzymes, emulsifiers, oxidants, sugars, and fats to optimize the texture of soft bakery products. The resulting systems, named Soft’r Intens, are said to make use of synergies between the ingredients to express each desired texture.
The company provides the necessary capability to help customers define the desired texture characteristics of soft breads and rolls, as well as to refine and differentiate products in the marketplace. Optitool, a surface response technology developed by the company, translates the desired texture characteristics into the optimal combination of bakery ingredients.
The systems offer a variety of advantages. They can differentiate the texture of the product in terms of resilience, short bite, moist crumb, and meltability. They can be used to influence one specific characteristic in the dough or bread without reformulating the entire recipe. And they can optimize a wide range of bakery applications, including sliced breads, buns, brioches, and others.
Texture à la Future
A couple of decades ago, it seemed hat texture was primarily defined using negative descriptors. Words such as “mushiness,” “hard as rock,” or “mealiness” usually indicated that something had gone wrong with the food and it should be avoided.
But today, we’re exploring texture as a positive driving force of product development, one that can lead to formulations with desirable and possibly novel attributes. Such an approach can help differentiate a product in the marketplace, meet consumer satisfaction, and even lead to cost-effective benefits for the manufacturer.
Targeting texture to meet the needs of specific demographics is becoming increasingly important today. For example, Ellison Bakery Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind., recently introduced a line of premium cookies that are said to cater to female consumers, age 35+. The company claims that because of an extremely high moisture content, these new cookies provide distinctive, soft, rich, chewy textures. As our understanding of texture increases, the possibilities for new textures and texture combinations become more likely, as well, along with a varied number of new applications, especially those that bridge health with indulgence. Expect to see additional ingredient developments make these texture possibilities a reality.
For example, a transparent hydrogel developed by researchers from India is said to offer “very promising” texture properties. The hydrogel, made from xyloglucan and chitosan, can function like a sponge, absorbing water or other liquids, and may be used as an innovative thickener. According to the researchers, the gel is strong, with good thermal stability, and possesses distinctive textural characteristics.
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A new rice-based batter product, developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service, can enhance the sensory qualities of fried foods while absorbing up to 50% less cooking oil than traditional batters. The batter is now being marketed by a Maryland-based company, CrispTek, and may be used for grilling and frying.
And many other ingredient developments will be coming out of “texture centers” discussed in this article. Also, the global influence of texture can be easily seen by a number of texture developments launched at this year’s Food Ingredients Europe.
You may remember a hit tune from a few decades ago titled “Hooked on a Feeling.” Well, I think it might be more accurate to say that food formulators today are becoming hooked on a mouthfeeling. If so, then the developments discussed in this article, as well as the innovative approaches they suggest, may help them to explore some of the unchartered territories of texture, creating new avenues of passage for the pioneering food formulator.
Next month’s Ingredients section will serve up a number of concepts utilizing fruits and vegetables and the benefits they bring, including color, flavor and potential health value.
FI Europe 2009 Highlights Texture
The influence that texture has on global product development can easily be seen at this year’s Food Ingredients Europe expo. Here are just a few examples:
• A modified starch recently launched in Europe by Tate & Lyle reduces fat content by up to 30% while delivering creaminess and texture. The new ingredient, named Creamiz, has application in dairy and convenience foods, and will be part of the company’s Optimize™ platform. Low-fat dessert prototypes made with the ingredient will be available for sampling.
According to Clotilde Feuillade, Product Manager for Texturizers at Tate & Lyle Food Ingredients Europe, the starch will not affect the creaminess of products it is used in, but instead will complement and enhance their existing texture. “Feedback from our customers has shown that consumers really value the creamy mouthfeel of traditional dairy products, and with Creamiz, they’ll be able to experience it in low-fat foods,” commented Feuillade. In addition to its functionality benefits, the ingredient is expected to help customers reduce their costs while optimizing their processes. More information can be obtained from Tate & Lyle, Decatur, Ill. (phone 217-423-4411, www.tateandlyle.com).
• New patent-pending technologies from Ashland Aqualon Functional Ingredients, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc., Covington, Ky. (phone 859-815-3333, www.ashland.com), provide easy dispersion and rapid hydration of cellulosic polymers. The unit, the result of the company’s acquisition of Hercules Inc., showcased ingredients designed to improve mouthfeel, dairy protein stabilization, and thermal gelation. These included cellulose gum, methylcellulose, guar gum, a variety of specialty whipping agents, and other textural systems.
• A gelatin-based ingredient, Optice®, opens up new possibilities in achieving the required texture and mouthfeel in fat- and sugar-free ice cream. The ingredient, developed by Germany-based Gelita (+496271 84 2190, www.gelita.com ), is said to provide desirable melting properties, excellent smoothness, and a convincing mouthfeel. Ice cream prototypes will be offered that demonstrate the effectiveness of this new ingredient.
by Donald E. Pszczola
Senior Associate Editor