The Wrong Texture Can Be a Disaster

The wrong texture can completely change the perception of flavor and turn a winning formulation into a chalky or gummy mess.

By David Feder, Product Development Editor

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“We do a lot of unique and customized solutions for the food industry, but last year was particularly busy,” Andon said of the need for the new, 56,000-sq.-ft. TIC center.

Fiber approach

 

“Inulin has a remarkable capacity to replace fat and has remarkable bulking properties when replacing sugar,” says Joseph O’Neill, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Beneo-Orafti (www.orafti.com), Morris Plains, N.J. “The use of inulin or oligofructose as prebiotic fiber ingredients often results in improvements in taste and texture. When used in bakery products and breakfast cereals, this represents a major advantage in comparison to other, traditional dietary fibers.”

With new consumer interest in functional ingredients and rejection of nonfunction in added ingredients, inulin scores a big advantage healthwise. This dual nature of inulin makes its texture-enhancing properties all the more attractive.

“Inulin and oligofructose give more crispiness and expansion to extruded snacks and cereals, and they can also increase shelf life,” O’Neill explains further. “They also keep breads and cakes moist and fresh for longer. Their incorporation into baked goods allows for the replacement of sugar, fiber enrichment, and better moisture-retention properties.”

 

Risen baked goods make multiple demands on texturants beyond simple mouthfeel — for example, storage, moisture retention and shelf life abilities.

 

The company’s newer, highly soluble polydispersable inulin products, such as OraftiHSI, function as efficient binding agents in nutrition bar applications while helping maintain a softer texture throughout shelf life. Since inulin and oligofructose ingredients are polydispersable, they may be used to prevent the re-crystallization of sugars and prevent graininess in certain formulations.

Inulin’s gelling characteristic also helps the development of low-fat foods, such as table spreads, creamed cheeses and processed cheeses, without compromising taste or texture. It allows the replacement of significant amounts of fat and the stabilization of the emulsion, while providing a short, spreadable texture.

In low-fat dairy products such as milk drinks, creams, dips and dairy desserts, the addition of small amounts of inulin imparts a better-balanced, rounder flavor and a creamier mouthfeel. In dairy mousses and whipped or aerated desserts, inulin helps maintain the texture of the finished product, helping retain structure for longer periods. In frozen desserts, it allows for ease of processing, improved creamy mouthfeel and excellent melting properties as well as freeze-thaw stability.

Cargill Texturizing Solutions (www.cargilltexturizing.com), Wayzata, Minn., also focuses on different texturizing solutions for both nutritional and sensory profiles. The group’s broad product portfolio of hydrocolloids, including alginates, carrageenan, pectin, guar gum, locust bean gum and xanthan gum, as well as cultures and enzymes, starches and spray-dried products and lecithins.

“Cargill is able to develop customized texturizing solutions for all application areas and production processes,” says Cindy Palermo, marketing communications lead for the company. “Our ingredients are based on nature (from) renewable resources, such as corn, soy, seaweeds, apple pomace, citrus peel and seeds.”

Palermo explains that such a broad resource base provides Cargill an opportunity to “take the consumer view fully into account when developing new texturizing solutions.

Whey better texture

 

Whey proteins are versatile ingredients when it comes to texture modification. They can help to bind water and form non-reversible gels with a variety of characteristics.

According to Sharon Gerdes, senior account manager for Dairy Management Inc. (www.dairyinfo.com), Rosemont, Ill., the gelling properties of whey protein “help food manufacturers maintain moistness in both baked goods and meats, and improve mouthfeel in reduced-fat products.”

They will also help reduce syneresis in yogurts. Whey and other milk proteins can be used to increase viscosity in puddings and smoothies. They are particularly useful for food formulators developing foods higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates.

“Food formulators can either modify process parameters in their own plant or purchase whey ingredients that have been specially modified by the supplier to be more heat-stable or high-gelling,” Gerdes adds. "Because whey proteins have both hydrophilic (water-attracting) and hydrophobic (water-repelling) groups, they can partially unfold to form interfacial membranes around oil or water globules, thus preventing coalescence and oiling-off.

“Whey proteins even can be used in place of eggs in certain applications, such as mayonnaise-type dressings. Specialty whey phospholipids with even greater emulsification properties find wide application in bakery items, ice cream mixes, sauces and salad dressings,” Gerdes continues. To further enhance the stability of whey protein emulsions, formulators can add gums to the formula, or heat the product to create a protein gel.

Undenatured whey protein ingredients can function to stabilize the interface between air cells. Applications where whey proteins can be used to produce light airy foods include whipped toppings, marshmallow, nougat, icings and frozen desserts. Whey proteins can also be used to partially replace eggs in bakery products.

It’s clear both ingredient providers and processors recognize the new sophistication of texture requirements. Subtleties are in, as is ensuring healthful components are included into the texture modification mix. For the future of texture, a simple snap, crackle or pop will no longer do.

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