'Leaning out' formulations
August 10, 2010
by Jeff Gelski
Lean may have at least two meanings that relate to cost-reduction efforts in grain-based foods. First, adding a multifunctional ingredient may allow formulators to take out multiple ingredients from a product, thus “leaning out” an ingredient list. Second, consumers interested in becoming leaner may seek baked foods with less fat, and using less fat in a product also might reduce costs in a product.
Steve Pierce, president of Ribus, St. Louis, said a difference exists between ingredient costs and reducing costs of a finished product. For examples, the choice of ingredients may play a role in the storage and transportation costs of a finished product.
He also gave an explanation for “leaning out.”
“Leaning out a formulation involves taking out some of those ingredients that were added in a specific year that may not be needed year in and year out,” Mr. Pierce said.
Ingredient lists may expand over time, he said. Since wheat crops change from year to year, companies modify formulations to use that year’s crop. The next year, they may keep in an ingredient they added the year before. A company may have added vital wheat gluten to a product in the 1990s, he said, and then added a dough softener and an enzyme in the 2000s.
“Over time the formulations get heavy and the number of ingredients gets bigger,” Mr. Pierce said.
The country’s recent economic problems may have led companies to re-examine the ingredient lists of their products.
To replace several ingredients, Ribus offers Nu-Bake, which is multifunctional in that it hydrates and emulsifies and works as a dough softener, Mr. Pierce said. While Nu-Bake works in baked foods, Nu-Rice works in extruded cereals, snacks and pastas. The ingredients may allow for the replacement of soy
lecithin, monoglycerides and diglycerides on the ingredient lists. Nu-Bake and Nu-Rice may be listed as rice extract.
“Our ingredients carry a premium price,” Mr. Price said. “We’re not going to be the cheapest emulsifier, and we’re not going to be the cheapest dough conditioner.”
The cost reduction comes in how the ingredient allows companies to take out multiple ingredients.
Cost reduction and fat reduction are both possible with Homecraft Create 765, according to National Starch Food Innovation, Bridgewater, N.J. The ingredient, which the company launched this year, is designed to help manufacturers improve the nutritional profile of their products by reducing total calories, calories from fat and grams of fat per serving. In a sample brownie formulation, a 25% reduction in fat to 6 grams from 8 grams led to a 20-calorie decrease in total calories and calories from fat in a 28-gram serving.
For processing benefits, Homecraft Create 765 reduces the fat fraction in the raw materials to improve transport and mixing. Since the ingredient allows for a wheat flour label declaration, grain-based food formulators do not have to modify the ingredient list of a product.
National Starch includes Homecraft Create 765 in its web site, www.valuematters2national.com, which is specific to cost reduction in North America. The site focuses on starch-based alternatives that have been shown to replace costly ingredients or improve processing while maintaining consumer appeal, product texture, processing performance and shelf life.
The site shows how using Homecraft Create 765 in ready-to-eat indulgent baked foods may lead to savings per unit of 4c and fat reduction of 25%. In a dry mix brownie, it may lead to savings per unit of 9c and fat reduction of 25%.
Other ingredients reduce costs by acting as extenders. For example, Grande Custom Ingredients, Lomira, Wis., offers Grande Bravo whey protein for use in cheesecakes, pies, cakes and cookies. Grande Bravo may extend specific ingredients such as cream cheese along with replacing or reducing such ingredients as milk solids, eggs and shortening/oil.
“This has been shown to improve shelf life and freeze-thaw stability, yield low-fat or reduced-fat products, produce products with an increased volume or reduce the need for fresh/refrigerated ingredient handling requirements,” Grande Custom Ingredients said.
J&K Ingredients, Paterson, N.J., offers the Vita-Ex egg extenders, which may reduce the cost of using eggs in sweet goods, Danish, rolls, donuts, cookies and cakes by 20% to 66%. Vita-Ex is made from such all-natural ingredients as egg yolks and whole egg solids.
Oats and rice generally cost less than some other ingredients used in grain-based foods.
“I may be biased, but in making granola clusters, having whole grain oats as the first ingredient makes granola cost-effective,” said Julie Medley, a food technologist for 21st Century Grain Processing, Kansas City. “Oats are cheap and nutritious. It contains at least 14% protein, 7% fat (good fat), 9% total dietary fiber, of which 4% is soluble (beta-glucan) and has an insignificant amount of sugar.”
J.R. Short Milling Co., Kankakee, Ill., promoted the use of rice in a ripple stick at I.F.T. 10, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food expo held July 18-20 in Chicago. Rice, the primary ingredient in the ripple stick, costs less than potatoes, but the potato starch and dehydrated potatoes provided flavor. The gluten-free ripple stick provided 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
Finally, an ingredient’s ability to increase shelf life may lead to reduced transportation costs.
“Vitamin E, BHT, rosemary extract, citric acid and ascorbic acid are examples of antioxidants that help increase shelf life,” Ms. Medley said.
Mr. Pierce of Ribus said a grocery store chain switched to using Nu-Bake in one of its frozen baked foods. The shelf life increased to 90 days from 30 to 45 days.
Since emulsifiers hold moisture, they extend shelf life, he said. Also, allowing for more water and oil in a formulation may save on costs, such as by making more cakes per 50-lb cake mix, Mr. Pierce said.
“I tell people water is free and oil is cheap,” he said.
Sweet savings still possible despite cocoa, sugar prices
Markets for cocoa and sugar in recent years have made it more difficult to keep costs down when creating indulgent baked foods. London cocoa bean futures have neared 33-year highs (see Milling & Baking News of Aug. 3, Page 1) while beet and cane sugar prices in late July were running 20c a lb higher than in July of the year before.
Ingredient suppliers are offering ways to soften the costs associated with creating indulgent treats in today’s economy.
Comax Flavors, Melville, N.Y., has developed a range of cocoa extenders and replacers. The customized flavors take into consideration both the type of cocoa and the total percentage of cocoa. They are available in both powdered and liquid form. Depending on which cocoa ingredient is used, several natural and artificial options are available.
The flavors have been shown to replace anywhere from 10 parts to 75 parts Dutched cocoa in the finished product with one part Comax flavor. The results may range from rich chocolate taste with deep, complex notes to a light caramel-type cocoa flavor.
Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., Chilton, Wis., now offers a Briess black cocoa replacer. The 100% pure dark roasted malted barley flour mimics the color and functionality of black cocoa. It is best suited for use as a partial replacement in chocolate wafer-style cookies, breakfast pastries and other baked foods. A typical beginning substitution rate is 5%. The substitution rate may increase in 5% increments until the maximum cost-savings are realized.
The Briess cocoa replacers may appear as “malt” on the ingredient declaration. They contain no artificial colors, flavors, additives or preservatives. They are available in conventional or certified organic through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program.
Caramel colors may serve as components in cost-saving alternatives for cocoa powder, according to Sethness Caramel Color, Lincolnwood, Ill. Sethness RT 175, a light, red tone powdered caramel color, has been used in blends to reduce cocoa use by as much as 40% while Sethness 858, the darkest powdered caramel color, may be used in blends to reduce the need for alkalized (Dutched) cocoa powder by about 50%.
Cocoa extenders from D.D. Williamson, Louisville, Ky., may replace up to 50% of the cocoa powder when used as a color in baked foods as well as confectionery items and chocolate drinks. When used alone, caramel color may replace about 10% of cocoa powder. Adding flour, milk powder and chocolate flavor along with the caramel color will create a D.D. Williamson cocoa extender that has been shown to replace up to 50% of cocoa powder.
Minneapolis-based Cargill showcased its Wilbur Chocolate Duet powdered mix at I.F.T. 10, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food expo held July 18-20 in Chicago. Formulators may use the mix to create indulgent treats.
Chocolate liquor may be difficult to use in baking, said Katy Cole, technical service national accounts manager for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate North America.
“Chocolate liquor requires kettles to hold it in liquid form or processing equipment to melt if it is solid,” Ms. Cole said. “Wilbur Chocolate Duet powdered mix, which is a proprietary blend of chocolate liquor and cocoa mixed into a powder form, offers versatility and gives bakers an easier way to formulate with chocolate liquor.”
For potential cost savings, the mix requires no melting, processing or special storage. Because the ingredient is made with chocolate liquor, products that contain it may be labeled as “made with real chocolate.”
Ms. Cole said, “Wilbur Chocolate Duet powdered mix also adds a rich, indulgent chocolate flavor experience that you can’t achieve with cocoa powder alone. With its ease of use, great flavor and support for label claims, this product is inspiring some innovative new applications for chocolate in delicious comfort foods.”
In relation to high sugar prices, Tate & Lyle is highlighting the advantages of fructose and sucralose as part of a consumer education campaign focusing on sweeteners. Fructose is sweeter than sucrose, which means manufacturers may use less of it than sucrose to achieve the same sweetness level in a product, said Stacey Walton, senior food scientist for Tate & Lyle, which has a U.S. office in Decatur, Ill.
Manufacturers also may use sucralose, a high-intensity sweetener, to reduce calories and costs in products. For example, Tate & Lyle worked with one customer to replace 15% of the high-fructose corn syrup with sucralose in a frozen pie formula. Along with calorie reduction, the switch achieved an 18% cost savings.