Food-System-Ingredion

Ingredion’s Full System Approach to Formulation

June 11, 2021
In this Special Bonus Episode, we talk about how Ingredion partners with food and beverage processors to help create a smoother formulation process.

As every food and beverage manufacturer knows, there are a lot of decisions that go into developing a new food or beverage product. Texture, mouthfeel, and taste, are only the beginning. From certifications to verifications, sometimes it helps to have a little guidance from ingredient experts.

In this special Bonus Episode, we’re talking with Corie Beyers and Kara Selgrade of Ingredion about new product innovation – including the influx of plant-based products – as well as how Ingredion is working with manufacturers to help them formulate better and faster.

Transcript

Food Processing: What do you think is driving the fast pace of new product innovation?

About Ingredion

Ingredion is a global ingredients solutions company. Based in Westchester, Illinois, they make sweeteners, starches, nutrition ingredients and biomaterials that are used by customers in everyday products from foods and beverages to paper and pharmaceuticals. Learn more at ingredion.com

Corie: There are a lot of factors that continually drive new product innovation. Health and wellness trends will continue to drive new products hitting the market shelf, and they really do span across all different kinds of categories. Consumers looking for plant-based products as an alternative to animal-containing counterparts has been very popular obviously these days. It's really prominent in alternative milks and yogurts and ice cream, but also within meat and poultry and seafood.

Food Processing: Speaking of plant-based ingredients; what are some of the attributes consumers are looking for when it comes to the plant-based beverages?

Corie: Consumers are really looking for something that tastes good, right? That's going to be the first experience they have with products like this. It also needs to have familiar attributes of their animal-based-containing counterparts—think things like overall mouthfeel and texture. If it's an alternative milk, does it feel like dairy milk when they're drinking it? Additional things like nutritional content. So, can consumers rely on the beverage for the same nutrients like protein and vitamins? And then overall general appeal. Is the cost right? Is the color okay? Does it look appealing when they're taking it down off the shelf? All of those things are happening simultaneously when a consumer is trying something new and determining whether or not they'll accept it.

Food Processing: What are some of the challenges that manufacturers are facing when they're working to create a plant-based beverage that is an alternative to dairy?

Kara: Manufacturers and product developers are faced with a wide variety of challenges when it comes to plant-based beverages. They're tasked with creating a good-tasting product that will deliver that same nutritional attributes as the dairy counterparts. This means they have to begin choosing the right base, whether that's soy, rice, oat, peas. From there, they have to build on top of that base with an added protein and vitamin and mineral fortification. This introduces the challenges of stability and shelf life and the texture and mouthfeel.

Proteins can contribute to texture defects like perceivable particulates in an RTD, otherwise known as grittiness. They can also have a strong astringency or an off-flavor. There's other ingredients, like cocoa and minerals, that can cause a beverage to separate, which contributes to instability and an inconsistent flavor throughout the beverage. To solve for these defects, developers have to choose the right stabilizer system. And that's one that is compatible with the base, one that's compatible with the protein, it has to provide the functional need such as viscosity, suspension, emulsification, and it has to stand up to the processing conditions. There are a variety of stabilizer options out there, and it's understanding all of those parameters around the formula that go into choosing the right stabilizer system.

Guest Profile: Kara Selgrade

Kara Selgrade is the Business Development Manager for the Food Systems business unit at Ingredion Inc. with an experienced background in Sales and Marketing. She is currently responsible for maximizing Food System specialty sales and related commercial business activity by delivering solutions to customers with new products and technologies, developing and executing commercial launch plans, and identifying new growth segments in the marketplace. 

In addition to that, finding an ingredient with the right functional properties, formulators have to also consider what the label claims will be. Is this going to be a 100% organic product? Will it be vegan? Is it going to be Non-GMO Project verified? That will also help to guide the ingredient selection. And then lastly, it's understanding the processing conditions that the beverage will go under to make sure that it will hold up and be stable in the commercialization process.

Food Processing: It sounds like it would be beneficial to have some sort of ingredient system in place that helps marry consumer concerns with processor challenges. I've heard that Ingredion is working on something along those lines. Can you elaborate on that?

Kara: In many cases for plant-based applications, it's going to take a variety of ingredients to achieve the texture and the stability and the nutritional profile of the dairy counterpart. With texturizers like hydrocolloids and starches, these are utilized to provide emulsification, viscosity, suspension, and they contribute to the overall mouthfeel and sensory of the product. Plant proteins are going to offer nutritional value, emulsification and texture, and ideally, they want to have mild flavor, a neutral color, and good solubility. Each ingredient has to have its own unique purpose and its own functional value and it's chosen accordingly.

Leveraging the right texturizers with the right proteins, and even a sweetener, is how Ingredion goes about creating a food system. Ingredion recently launched the Simplistica Ingredient Systems line, and this line provides product formulators with a way to solve their complex formulating challenges with one simple solution. The Simplistica systems, they deliver an optimized solution by combining ingredients such as hydrocolloids and starches, plant proteins and even sweeteners, and more depending on the need for the application.

Guest Profile: Corie Beyers

Corie Beyers is the Strategic Marketing Manager for the Food Systems platform at Ingredion Incorporated with various marketing experience across the organization. She is responsible for  driving marketing and communication efforts for the Food Systems business unit though strategic program development and implementation by leveraging market research programs to guide technical and innovation development with R&D, develop and execute complete launch plans for new products and support progress in the marketplace. 

Using an Ingredion system makes it easier and quicker for formulators to meet that optimal ingredient functionality with less troubleshooting. The Simplistica ingredient systems leverage the synergies between different ingredients and help to offer ideal ratios of ingredients for that optimal functionality. They help to meet the labeling goals like non-GMO and organic all this with one product.

Food Processing: How do you know if an ingredient systems approach is right for you and what's the benefit of an ingredient system in getting to market faster?

Corie: All food manufacturers can benefit from a systems approach, whether you're a larger manufacturer looking to be first to market with a new innovation, or a smaller startup that needs a little additional formulation support. Food systems will help cut down the formulation time and ultimately get formulators from the whiteboards reality faster.

What do you need when you're working with systems? First and foremost is end-to-end expertise. To formulate these in-demand and on-trend products, it's important to have an ingredient partner with holistic expertise and understanding. From proprietary insights that'll help reveal the best opportunities within the marketplace, to application-specific formulation knowledge, which will ultimately bring these concepts to life, and even problem-solving abilities that will help mitigate challenges that come up and keep you moving smoothly to a successful launch. Next is a really expansive portfolio of ingredients. That'll help create the system solution with the best synergies and functionalities that are unique to a particular formulation. With more options and flexibility and sourcing, you can achieve these top results within your products.

Having an agile, high-touch partnership ensures a speed-to-market edge by making customization to your precise needs a little bit quicker. Having a supplier that's in tune with your needs and is willing to deliver the best solution will speed up your formulation process and help you get to your solution, whatever that solution is going to be, a lot faster.

Food Processing: When in the process should a processor engage the food system team? And why is it better to engage with the Ingredion food systems team early in the process?

Kara: We suggest as early as possible because it's really a smoother formulation process when you can start from the ground up with those clear expectations around labeling, and functionality, and your processing conditions versus jumping during in the middle of formulating. However, with that said, that certainly doesn't mean that formulators shouldn't come to talk to us during their challenging moments. Our solution gurus are trained and ready to work through those issues no matter what stage of the formulation you may be in.

Food Processing: Once a processor decides to engage with Ingredion's food systems team, how can they prepare for that next step? Are there questions they should be prepared to answer from one of the solutions gurus?

Kara: We ask a lot of questions but that really is to help us understand the basic formulation information. We're going to ask about what ingredients are being used and what's the usage level range? What are your processing conditions? What label claims are you looking to meet? And most importantly, what are your texture targets and texture challenges? Are they instability or separation, syneresis or moisture migration, things like that? And all of these parameters will dictate which solution will work best in the application and then help us to make the best recommendation for you.

Food Processing: If a listener wanted to learn more about Ingredion's food systems, how could they go about doing so?

Corie: The best place to start is actually on our website, ingredion.com. And on the website, there's a chat functionality that you can chat in real-time with one of our solution gurus, and you can ask questions there, or if you need to order samples or get a project started, that's the best place to go.

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