Tate & Lyle eyes texture to maximize product likeability

Earlier this year, Tate & Lyle PLC introduced of its tapioca-based CLARIA Bliss starch to the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region, responding to growing demand from consumers for cleaner label products. An extension to the line of CLARIA functional clean label starches, the launch of CLARIA Bliss in EMEA follows its debut at the Institute of Food Technologists Food Expo in Chicago last year.

CLARIA Bliss has functionalities like modified tapioca starches and can help manufacturers develop high quality and great tasting products. With tolerance to shear, heat and acid, even under extreme conditions like ultra-high temperatures (UHT) and homogenization, CLARIA Bliss makes it easier than ever for food manufacturers to develop products with cleaner labels and differentiated texture.

Its launch follows market research from Innova Market Insights that shows the number of food products defined as clean label sharply increased in Europe in categories such as chilled desserts (+54 percent) or ready meals (+39 percent) between 2014 and 2016.

FoodIngredientsFirst caught up with Judy Whaley, Vice President of Texturants, New Product Development at Tate & Lyle, who discussed the latest trends and challenges in textures.

“Texture is the foundation of most food and beverage products. Because it is tied so closely to other attributes in formulations, such as flavor and sweetness, it is one of the most challenging attributes to optimize for food and beverage manufacturers,” she explains.

“Given that the textural profile of foods and beverages has a profound impact on consumer acceptance, it’s important to understand how to control texture to maximize product likeability. Formulators often start by formulating a product to specific textural criteria and then optimize attributes such as flavor and sweetness in later steps.”

“For example, when dairy formulators develop a yogurt, they may begin with the base or white mass,” notes Whaley. “This typically incorporates texturizing ingredients that provide functional benefits, such as starches. Once the texture of the base is correct and meets all label and nutritional requirements, formulators then optimize the fruit or flavor prep of the product. This step is necessary because flavors and sweetening ingredients can be impacted by the texture of the product.”

“The strong, underlying consumer trends we’re seeing right now are health and wellness, convenience and clean label,” she explains. “Specific to clean label, we know consumers are becoming more aware of food processing, product origin and ingredient labeling. Therefore, they are asking for products with simpler ingredient lists across a broad range of categories. In response, manufacturers are launching ‘cleaner-label’ products.”

Tate & Lyle’s mission is to understand texture on a fundamental level to lead innovation and advancement of texture science and its role in food innovation. Through their Texture Science and Education Outreach (SEO) Program, the company is leading the effort to stimulate collaboration between key opinion leaders (KOLs) and manufacturers to share and develop research that addresses critical gaps and challenges in food and ingredient innovation through texture.

In fact, as part of this ongoing initiative, Tate & Lyle had an open dialogue with KOLs and formulators to understand three areas of research that are inclusive of underlying sensory drivers that influence consumers’ likes and dislikes:

  • Awareness of how individual ingredients perform.
  • Understanding how this performance relates to other ingredients and the processing of the food overall.
  • Interpreting the relationship between food attributes and consumer acceptance.

As part of the Texture SEO program, Tate & Lyle created several tools to help us speed up the process of understanding what texture is required to achieve various needs in formulations, primarily for soups, sauces and dressings, and dairy products.

“Texture maps have helped SSD formulators predict the effects they’ll see when using specific starches, so this helps manufacturers with little time to get to market, ensuring they can focus on some of the other production factors that may take longer,” notes Whaley.

“In addition, sensory and consumer research is focused on identifying the individual differences as they relate to the mouthfeel. We are exploring how those effects begin to segment the consumer population. In turn, we can effectively determine how starches think differently in those products that need to be developed. Collectively, these tools and research help us rapidly innovate solutions, which in turn, helps manufacturers get to market faster.”

“We’ve taken a deeper look recently at emulsified sauces and dressings, including cheese sauces, which have a high level of fat or oil included in the liquid state. One key challenge to formulating effectively in this space is gaining a true understanding of the relationship between the oil and water phases,” she states.

Tate & Lyle has created state diagrams in order to help manufacturers predict when the emulsion could potentially flip in these sauces.

According to Whaley, a big issue here is often during the process of the emulsion. “Even in the pre-emulsion stage or during the processing through a colloid process, there is often a flipping of the emulsion. We’ve found that instead of trying to control the emulsifiers, it’s actually more important to understand the starch phase in that system to know how it’s thickening over time. Knowing where the product sits on that state diagram enables formulators to predict where the emulsion will flip.”

Tate & Lyle’s diverse portfolio of starches provides manufacturers with options from basic thickening to highly unique functionalities relevant to the dairy category. The company has a number of starches suitable to deliver benefits, including instant viscosity and avoid issues such as emulsion breakage, which is critical for dairy formulations.

“For example, our non-GMO thickening starch delivers stability under high processing conditions in applications like yogurt and processed cheese, while providing manufacturers the ability to make clean label claims. Additionally, an ingredient in our functional clean label starch line serves as a clean label replacement for gelatin in vegetarian-friendly dairy options,” Whaley notes.

“Our CLARIA clean label starches line is versatile across a broad range of applications and sophisticated processes, including soups and dry soup mixes, sauces, dressing, prepared meals, baby food and dairy products such as yogurt. In fact, we’ve been working with customers in the restaurant space who are reformulating soups to meet the demand for cleaner labels.”

Most recently, CLARIA clean label starches have been used as a replacement for other starches in systems where flavors were developed to correct an “off-taste.”

“We’ve received feedback from customers who have had to increase flavor levels when using other starches. With CLARIA clean label starches, they found that flavors aren’t impacted,” she finalized.

Source: Food Ingredients First

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