Starches increasingly may provide assistance in formulating products with simplified ingredient lists or “clean labels” and aimed at the market for products that consumers perceive as natural. Innovations in starches sourced from corn, peas and potatoes have been shown to work in such applications as soups, sauces, baked foods and gluten-free items.

Two recent reports highlight how consumers shop for natural products.

According to a Technomic Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report released Jan. 3, 55% of consumers in 2012 ate natural foods at least once a week, which was up from 44% in 2010.

In December 2012, Leatherhead Food Research, based in the United Kingdom, identified global issues likely to impact the food and beverage industry in 2013. The natural trend made the list.

“The march to all things natural is likely to persist for some time to come as consumers increasingly buy into the perceived healthiness of the additive-free/natural proposition,” Leatherhead said. “Leatherhead believes that manufacturers will continue to adopt a natural/clean label policy wherever beneficial.”

Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., cited its own proprietary research when it launched Novation Endura functional native starches in 2012 in North America, Europe and Asia. Nearly 73% of consumers said a short, simple ingredient list is important or very important when considering their food and beverage purchases, according to the company’s 2012 proprietary research of 300 consumers in each of 11 countries. According to Ingredion proprietary research from 2011, 61% of consumers said they would be willing to pay more for frozen food with a natural label, which was followed by yogurt (59%), canned soup (58%) and salad dressing (46%).

Sourced from corn, Endura starches have been shown to work in such applications through what Ingredion calls their “next-generation process tolerance.” The processes include UHT and HTST pasteurization and high-shear homogenization. According to the company, when Endura starches are used, desirable textures withstand harsh temperatures and shear; stability lasts through shelf life, including ambient, chilled and frozen; and clean flavors
work in delicate flavor systems.

“Novation Endura functional native starch can replace modified starches and certain gums in food applications,” said Leaslie M. Carr, marketing manager, wholesome for Ingredion, Inc. and based in Bridgewater, N.J. “It is a clean label thickener/texturizer well-suited for high-moisture foods such as soups, sauces, dressings, gravies, cultured dairy.”

American Key Food Products, Closter, N.J., increased its presence in starches designed for simple ingredient lists in 2012. The company introduced the Empure line of potato-derived and pea-derived starches to the North American market. The Emsland Group, Emlichheim, Germany, develops and produces the starches. Potential applications include snacks, baked foods, fruit fillings, soup mixes, puddings and ketchup.

Potato starches are preferred ingredients in a number of applications because of such characteristics as viscosity and moisture retention, said Carter Foss, technical sales director for American Key Food Products.

“Native potato starches already exhibit excellent attributes in a variety of food applications,” he said. “However, newer, more complex applications require more sophisticated functionalities, which can be delivered by enhancing the capabilities of the native potato starch. The Empure starches, in cold-swelling and cook-up versions, approximate some of these enhanced qualities without need for chemical modification of the native starch, thus qualifying them as clean label starches.”

Native pea starch, because of its high-amylose level, provides excellent heat-, shear- and pH-stability, Mr. Foss said.

“Its gelatinization capacity and viscosity profile in native starch form matches the level of performance of some modified starches,” he said.

Mr. Foss said the Empure starches have been shown to work as texturizing/thickening agents. They may be labeled as native potato starch or native pea starch on ingredient lists.

Penford Food Ingredients, Centennial, Colo., last year introduced its PenPure portfolio of starches that are not chemically treated. They come in a variety of formulations. On the ingredient list, they may be called by their botanical source: potato starch, rice starch, tapioca starch or corn starch, said Ibrahim Abbas, senior R.&D. manager for Penford Food Ingredients.

“PenPure starches are ideal for foods targeting a simple, natural and clean label,” Dr. Abbas said.

Potential applications include soups, sauces, gravies, condiments, dips, spreads, dairy products, infant/baby foods, meats, snacks, pasta, fried coatings and gluten-free products.

The starches are suitable for food products that undergo moderate food processing conditions, Dr. Abbas said. The starch line is important for certain foods that are formulated without functional ingredients such as fat or gluten-containing flours that make certain claims.

“For instance, there are blends using PenPure 30 regular rice starch and PenPure 37 waxy rice starch that can be used to mimic fat/oil mouthfeel, provide low temperature stability and firmer gelling texture to reduce fat in spoon-able yogurts,” Dr. Abbas said.

Blends of cook-up and instant PenPure starches are used in gluten-free bakery products to enhance volume, retain moisture and improve shelf life. PenPure 37 may serve as a fat replacer and thickener in products such as ice cream, yogurt and sauces, Dr. Abbas said.

New starch works with coatings, baked foods

CENTENNIAL, COLO. – Penford Food Ingredients has launched PenNovo 00 starch for food coatings and bakery applications. To make the starch, the company used PenNovo, a new proprietary technology that creates enzyme-treated starches.

“The multifaceted PenNovo 00 is ideal for both food coatings and the bakery market,” said John Randall, president of Centennial-based Penford Food Ingredients. “Whether it makes the perfect crispy french fries, or gives baked goods extra moisture and gloss, this starch adds a new dimension to Penford’s vast portfolio.”

When used for food coatings, PenNovo 00 is recommended for potatoes, mushrooms, onions, bone-in poultry, formed poultry, shrimp and seafood. It provides crispy texture, extended hold time, a tender bite, high solubility, a bland flavor and low viscosity, according to Penford Food Ingredients.

In baked foods, PenNovo 00 has been shown to work as a replacement for egg whites in gluten-free products, a volume enhancer and an egg wash replacer. Recommended applications include bread, muffins, bagels, pancakes, waffles, cookies, cakes and gluten-free items. It has been shown to increase volume by up to 25% and to assist in moisture retention. As an egg wash replacer, PenNovo 00 provides benefits in glaze and a smooth and glossy appearance.