13 Jul 2022 — With contested artificial ingredients increasingly losing traction with health-conscious consumers, industry players at large are pressed to find similarly performing clean label solutions to maintain ideal color, taste and freshness. But that is not the only reason for switching out ingredients – manufacturers are also piloting reformulation strategies to raise the economical standard of recipes.
FoodIngredientsFirst explores the latest ingredient R&D rollouts of the year targeting these demands.
No to nitrates in meats
Food preservatives are necessary and offer multiple benefits, playing an important role in shelf-life, but met with an increased scrutiny around the health risk of nitrates as well as synthetic preservatives like BHA and BHT, conventionally found in processed meats.
Notably, Innova Market Insights reports that three out of five consumers in the meat category consider “free-from” claims and “clean-label” important.
Earlier this year, France led the charge in approving a new bill with targets to gradually cut down the use of nitrates in cured meats. Taste and nutrition giant Kerry previously evidenced nitrates are increasingly viewed as “no-no” ingredients.
“High nitrate diets are associated to certain risk cancers. According to a 2021 survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), 48% of those surveyed are attempting to avoid artificial preservatives at least some of the time while shopping,” David Tetzlaf, marketing director at Blue California, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
Last September, a UK study found that resveratrol taken from Japanese knotweed holds potential for replacing the nitrate preservative in cured meats. The botanical is a fast-growing plant often feared by homeowners for its ability to invade and take over gardens. The researchers used an extract produced by Italy-based Nutraceutica.
Healthy dose of preservation
Botanical antioxidants widely advantageous in acting as a preservative for food and beverages, notably for their potential health benefits, such as immune support.
Blue California’s Rosavel Rosmarinic Acid is a 95% high-purity rosmarinic acid produced with proprietary bioconversion manufacturing process. “Rosmarinic acid is a natural antioxidant found in rosemary. Compatible with clean-label and non-GMO and free-from the color, odor and taste associated with rosemary extract,” details Tetzlaf.
“Rosmarinic acid is a naturally occurring polyphenol in the rosemary plant,” he continues. “Rosmarinic acid demonstrates enhanced shelf life by preventing the oxidation of oils, browning of fruit and baked goods, as well as inhibiting microbial growth and the discoloration of raw meat.”
Blue California’s OataViaTM p-coumaric acid is a natural antioxidant and anti-microbial found in nature. p-Coumaric acid is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in wine, vinegar, honey, tomatoes, basil, garlic, several edible plants, many fruits, and cereal grains like oats.
“p-Coumaric is a potent antioxidant that can inhibit lipid peroxidation and radical scavenging. OataVia is 95% high-purity, produced with a proprietary fermentation process. It is compatible with clean-label ingredients and non-GMO. Like our rosmarinic acid, p-coumaric acid is neutral in taste, odor and color, making formulation easy,” Tetzlaf highlights.
Among its other offerings, Blue California created Taxifolin BC-DHQ as a potent antioxidant for food preservation.
“Taxifolin, also known as dihydroquercetin (DHQ), is a potent lipid-soluble antioxidant found in onions, apples, and larch trees. Emerging research shows that it has an antioxidant activity similar to Trolox, α-tocopherol, BHT, and BHA, and can be used to extend shelf life, prevent oxidation and preserve color in ground meats or colored fish like salmon,” says Tetzlaf.
“Our Taxifolin BC-DHQ is sustainably produced with bioconversion manufacturing which results in a clean, reliable and scalable production methods. It is self-affirmed GRAS, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher.”
Cleaner shade of white
Another “free-from” consumer trend is seeking food and beverages with a more natural position, and less synthetic. An ideal example is the replacement for the intense whitening synthetic, titanium dioxide (E171/TiO2).
The European Food and Safey Authority recently banned its use in foods and beverages this year, and consumers are increasingly understanding the importance of its elimination.
ADM recently unveiled its new line of PearlEdge proprietary white color solutions, filling a “vital white space” in the market. The solutions are derived from natural sources, including native corn starch, and delivers brilliant, stable and uniform white coloring for a variety of food and beverage applications.
Blue California also launched its own clean label whitening agents as an alternative to the potentially carcinogenic colorant, while Lonza unveiled its Vcaps Plus White Opal as the first commercially-available titanium dioxide-free semi-opaque capsule for food supplements.
Other solutions, such as Norevo’s Quick White, function by physically manipulating an ingredient’s crystal structure to reflect light in a special way that creates the color white effect.
Reformulating economical recipes
High inflation, exploding energy costs and volatile market and price developments in the raw materials markets have greatly aggravated consumer purchasing power.
According to Innova Market Insights, 40% of consumers around the world say that their disposable income has declined during the pandemic. Higher inflation will continue to burden household budgets, so the costs and affordability of food products will remain a growing problem.
It can also be the case that ingredients are switched out, not for health reasons, but more to sustain an economical approach to formulating a food product. Stabilizing specialist Hydrosol develops various solutions to meet this end, focusing on replacing raw materials and developing cost efficient recipes.
“Raw material substitution is a core topic right now,” explains Hydrosol product manager Katharina Schäfer. “Locust bean gum, which is used in many stabilizing systems, is one example.”
“As of today it has gone up in price by a factor of eight. In order to compensate for this increase, our R&D department has been researching alternative solutions intensively for some time now.”
Through the smart combination of various hydrocolloids, expensive raw materials can be reduced or even entirely replaced, the company highlights. Technical and technological changes also result in new recipes for the production of affordable foods, be they dairy and deli or meat and sausage products.
“We’ve identified the cost drivers in many recipes, and replaced them with more economical alternatives. This is the case both for functional ingredients and for individual ingredients,” reports Schäfer.
“For example, in particularly economical processed cheese preparations the cheese content is reduced and the butter replaced by vegetable fat. In milk drinks, we replace the milk with whey. Our goal is to create products of good quality with the right value for money.”
Among Hydrosol’s other solutions specifically designed for economical products is Stabisol JOC 2 for making fermented whey-based desserts. The combination of ingredients gives final products the same creamy texture as yogurt. Thanks to the flexible system, the amount and type of whey can be varied, since both sweet and acid whey – both byproducts of cheese and quark manufacturing – can be used.
Another concept is the Hydrobest Drink range of all-in compounds, which simplify the production of delicious milk mixed beverages. There are also economical formulations for quark, cream cheese and processed cheese preparations, cooking cream and vegetable-based whipping creams in various flavors.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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