ICL Performance Products LP

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By Kantha Shelke, Ph.D.

Many Americans are still not getting sufficient calcium in their diet. Calcium status has been strongly linked to better bone health and, recently, to heart health as well. Levona is the new leavening agent from ICL Performance Products LP designed specifically to help food manufacturers formulate low-sodium bakery products that can carry the health message “good source of calcium" without compromising taste or texture. Levona is novel in that it offers comparable controlled release to current agents in the market, for example sodium aluminum phosphate or sodium acid pyrophosphate.

At June’s 65th meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists in Orlando, Fla., ICL Performance Products spotlighted Levona in blueberry muffins. The samples were light and airy, not to mention delicious. The muffins illustrated how Levona aerates batter-based products such as muffins without negatively affecting taste or volume. It was particularly impressive to note the sample baked products had a markedly clean taste without the notorious lingering metallic tones most leavening agents leave.

The last part of its name — ‘ona.’ — is a playful pun on zero sodium: 0-Na. Food manufacturers are in a rush to find new ways to formulate healthy products targeting today’s aging-but-health-conscious population, as well as children and teens, and Levona scores even better as an agent for enriching baked goods with much-needed calcium. This allows manufacturers to formulate appealing bakery products that can also carry health messages.

What the new phosphate-based leavening does is critical — especially for bakers focused on meeting consumer demands for healthier versions of their favorite bakery products. It provides calcium and reduces sodium while it helps leaven delicately flavored bakery products without negatively affecting its taste or texture.

That an ingredient can function as a leavening agent while also contributing a health claim merits serious consideration by makers of healthful bakery products.

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