Oui by Yopliat yogurt
New oui by Yoplait, from General Mills Inc., Minneapolis, is made using an artisanal process of pouring ingredients into the individual glass pots where they set for about eight hours to develop a unique, thick texture. Further, the yogurt boasts a non-G.M.O. claim.

Solutions to consider

What are some clean label solutions dairy foods formulators should consider in their product development efforts?

Christine Addington, senior dairy technical service specialist, Cargill: Dairy processors rely on emulsifiers to help hold fat and water portions of a system in place. Mono- and diglycerides often filled this role, but increasingly, these chemical-sounding ingredients are no longer welcome on product labels.

Sunflower and canola lecithin are a clean label alternative. They are non-G.M.O. options and do not have to be declared as major food allergens.

Jon Peters
Jon Peters, president of Beneo 

Jon Peters, president, Beneo Inc., Parsippany, N.J.: Next-generation functional native starches often perform similar to modified starches and can assist with cleaning up labels. For example, native rice starches provide stability during shelf life, freeze-thaw stability and a very delicate texture. They are also known for their hypoallergenic and gluten-free properties and easy digestibility. Rice starch is also unique in its structure, as its small granule size may benefit mouthfeel by functioning as a fat replacer. It creates a fat-like texture in the product that is indulgent, palatable, creamy, process stable, spreadable and has no off-taste. 

Mr. Gonzales: We have a new native potato starch that replaces cellulose as an anticaking on shredded cheeses and new functional tapioca flours and starches that can replace modified corn starch. The latter provides excellent mouthfeel and body in regular yogurts as well as texture stability during shelf life. Functional tapioca starches can also replace carrageenan and xanthan gum in ice cream applications.

Ms. Whaley: Non-G.M.O. thickening starch delivers stability under high processing conditions in applications like yogurt and processed cheese, while providing manufacturers the ability to make clean label claims.

Lara Niemann
Lara Niemann, marketing director of Americas for Gelita

Lara Niemann, marketing director-Americas, Gelita, Sioux City, Iowa: Gelatin acts as a gelling and binding agent, as well as a builder and stabilizer for foams and emulsions. These are the most important features for dairy processors. Using a rather simple hydrolysis process, gelatin is derived from native collagen that occurs in large amounts in animal skin and bones.

Commercial gelatin is a dry, pale yellow, highly purified protein powder that is free from fat, cholesterol, purines and additives. Dosed in typical quantities, it exerts no negative impact on taste and even though it is a protein, it has low allergenic potential. Due to its foam-building properties, gelatin can also be used to reduce fat in certain dairy applications. Further, the texture and consistency of yogurt can be set from firm to creamy with the help of different gelatins.

Thom King
Thom King, president and c.e.o. of Icon Foods

Thom King, president and chief executive officer, Icon Foods, Portland, Ore.: Carrageenan has long been the go-to hydrocolloid in frozen dairy as well as yogurt and flavored milk. The tide has turned because of consumer sentiment regarding the safety of carrageenan. Finding suitable hydrocolloids presents a challenge.

Additionally, sugar remains a challenge to replace. We have found, for example, in a high-protein, low-sugar frozen dairy dessert, erythritol, stevia and monk fruit together address clean label sugar reduction. Further, the use of allulose addresses the increase depression point level that the polyols may cause. And to create mouthfeel, tara gum and locust bean gum are helpful.

Ms. Knutzon: Pectin is one of the most consumer-friendly hydrocolloids on the market. It stabilizes to extend shelf life, helps provide consistent appearance, protects proteins to make them smoother to consume and pectin is considered label-friendly for consumers.

Mr. Verderber: Sweet potato juice concentrate has the benefit of being a naturally orange or amber color, which is the same color as many cheese spreads. Whether it’s a cheddar, pimento or other variety of cheese spread, sweet potato juice concentrate is a nutritious replacement for up to 25% of the cheese in the formulation, creating an end product that is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol. It’s a versatile and viscous ingredient that complements — or enhances — the flavor and consistency of cheese spreads.

Additionally, clarified sweet potato juice concentrate adds natural sweetness and nutritive benefits to formulations, but doesn’t impact color. So, for color-sensitive dairy products such as certain fluid milk formulations, smoothies and ice creams, it is an excellent ingredient for formulators to consider.

Mr. Rainey: Our dairy flavor and taste ingredients, blends and systems are made from real milk, cream, cheese and butter. They allow for “dairy only” labeling. When it comes to sweeteners, consider fruit-derived ingredients. There are options made using physical extraction without the use of enzymes or chemical additives. The resulting ingredients deliver sweet taste and neutral flavor, making it easier for developers to sweeten their products, reduce added sugar and round out overall flavor and mouthfeel.

Ms. Wilson: Alternative sweeteners can help inclusions have a cleaner ingredient deck. We can use maple sugar or agave nectar to supplant corn syrup or conventional sweeteners in coated nuts and seeds or granola clusters. Puffed quinoa coated with agave nectar adds a pleasing crunch to ice cream while maintaining a clean label.

We also make many different premium granolas using ancient grains and alternative sweeteners, which can be used as a sidecar inclusion for premium yogurts. Some of our recent flavors include sea salted toasted coconut granola, peach granola, and honey and spice granola.

Ms. Su: Dairy ingredients, namely protein, may effectively replace functional ingredients in dairy products. Dairy proteins are usually accepted by the consumer and are well perceived on the label. Also, nutritionally speaking, dairy proteins are far more superior to other proteins due to containing the essential amino acid profile. Milk and whey proteins have a wide range of functional properties such as whipping, emulsification, browning, water binding and more.