Successful formulations of dairy products may depend on a smooth, creamy texture. For example, it’s called ice cream.
Trouble may arise in low-fat formulations since fat has such an effect on texture. Solutions may arrive in recent gum and hydrocolloid innovations.
“Hydrocolloids are great for providing a smooth and creamy texture while combatting large ice crystal formation,” said Janae Kuc, senior research and development scientist for Gum Technology Corp., Tucson, Ariz. “They function to bind and hold moisture, which in turn controls ice crystal size, which translates to a smoother texture in the mouth.”
Gum Technology Corp. recently worked with Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, Wis., to develop the Hydro-Fi line of ingredients. The line pairs hydrocolloid stabilizers, including gums, from Gum Technology Corp. with Citri-Fi citrus fibers from Fiberstar. Gums such as tara gum, guar, locust bean and carrageenan often are used in ice cream applications to provide texture and mouthfeel, promote creaminess, and provide smaller ice crystals, Ms. Kuc said.
“If the fat content is reduced, one major issue to combat is the fact that a creamy note has been omitted from the formula,” she said. “Large ice crystal formation can also be an issue in reduced fat formulas. In order to build back texture and a fatty mouthfeel, gums are a great candidate. By incorporating a synergistic combination of tara gum and citrus fiber, the formulator can build back viscosity of the ice cream solution, provide a creamy note and promote aeration that may be lacking with the reduction of fat.”
Nexira, based in France, offers Equacia, a processed ingredient made of soluble acacia gum fibers and insoluble wheat fibers. The ingredient is designed specifically to mimic fat texture and to reduce sugar content while fortifying food products with fiber.
Formulators also may choose systems that include microcrystalline cellulose (M.C.C.) in combination with other hydrocolloids, such as cellulose gum and guar gum, to add mouthfeel, said Joe Klemaszewski, texture design lab manager for Cargill, Minneapolis. In addition to viscosity, locust bean gum helps to delay the melting of reduced fat ice creams.
Low-temperature extrusion may change the properties of a fat to give it a creamier taste, he added, and emulsifiers may provide some creaminess.
“The hardest thing to replace in reduced-fat ice cream is the creaminess you get in the full-fat product,” he said.
DuPont Nutrition & Health on April 16 said it is expanding its microcrystalline cellulose offering through an extended agreement with Mingtai, an M.C.C. manufacturer based in Taiwan. The agreement includes development, production, distribution, marketing and sale of the hydrocolloid to the global food industries. DuPont entered a strategic partnership with Mingtai in 2009.
“M.C.C. is one of the fastest growing hydrocolloids, and this expansion allows DuPont to continue growing with our customers,” said Jean-Baptiste Dufeu, cellulosics business manager for DuPont Nutrition & Health.
M.C.C., which is of wood pulp origin, provides a fat-like mouthfeel and replaces fat in a number of emulsified products such as mayonnaise, creamy dressings, process cheese and desserts, according to DuPont Nutrition & Health.
Linda Dunning, product manager — systems, DuPont Nutrition & Health, and based in New Century, Kas., said the company takes several factors into account when helping a dairy customer build a texturant system. Fat and sugar reduction targets, a desire to stay within a product’s standard of identity, and methods of processing and packaging are some of the factors.
“Dairy products are nearly the most complicated of all the food types when building texture because they have a fairly delicately balanced protein system,” she said. “There’s no real single go-to texture ingredient we can use. It’s often a combination of ingredients. We may use starches, pectins, hydrocolloids, proteins and/or emulsifiers to meet processing tolerances and reach the desired final product characteristics.”
Products in the yogurt category, including Greek yogurt launches, depend on texture, too.
Yogurt already is a low-fat product, but the fat that is there provides mouthfeel and creaminess, said Bob Loesel, texture manager of dairy applications for Cargill. Formulating non-fat yogurt thus may bring challenges. Formulators may use systems that combine starches with hydrocolloids to bring back mouthfeel and creaminess in non-fat yogurt. Locust bean gum, carrageenan, gelatin and pectin are some of the hydrocolloids used in yogurt, he said.
Gum Technology Corp. offers a GumPlete line that combines gums and starches, Ms. Kuc said. The type of yogurt will have an effect on texture, she said.
“Greek yogurt has a higher protein content than standard yogurts and is known for its creamy, dense and fatty texture,” Ms. Kuc said. “A common problem with multiple variations of yogurt is syneresis as well as protein degradation and separation. Gums such as pectin are great options to help combat this and provide a creamy and ‘cuttable’ texture.
“Pectins help to protect the proteins by creating a protective layer on the surface of the proteins, which in turn will prevent aggregation and precipitation of the proteins. This also functions to help combat the gritty or sandy texture that can sometimes occur when a protein is acidified, which is the case in yogurt.”
In all dairy products, creaminess may be a complex issue.
“Although creaminess is a commonly used term to describe food products, especially dairy products, at TIC Gums we break down this integrated term into several textural attributes,” said Donna Klockeman, Ph.D., dairy food scientist at TIC Gums, White Marsh, Md.
Examples of the attributes are cohesiveness, mouth coating, mouth clearing, degree of dissolving and oral viscosity, she said.
“The total solids, protein, sweetener and fat components of foods influence the formation of a thin film inside the mouth when you eat them,” Dr. Klockeman said. “They work in combination to affect the viscosity of the liquid, how it dissolves in saliva and remains after swallowing.
“The stabilizer systems used in dairy products combine individual hydrocolloids to manipulate these attributes. Locust bean gum and carrageenan add to viscosity and influence how the product dissolves. Cellulose gum and pectin are used to enhance film forming to influence mouth coating, mouth clearing and cohesiveness.”
Satiety expectations increase in thicker, creamier drinks
Subtle manipulations of texture and creamy flavor may increase expectations that a fruit yogurt drink will be filling and suppress hunger, regardless of the drink’s energy/calorie content, according to results of two studies in the United Kingdom that appeared in Flavour on Oct. 31, 2012.
The researchers examined the concept a food is expected to be more filling when it is perceived to be heavier or thicker in texture. Since beverages may have a weak satiety value because of their fluid texture, the researchers wanted to see if satiety expectations changed when the texture of beverages became thicker.
The first study had people rate the sensory characteristics of 16 fruit yogurt drinks of increasing viscosity. Twenty-four people from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom volunteered. People perceived small changes in drink viscosity that were related strongly to the actual viscosity of the drinks.
Viscosity was manipulated by tara gum additions, ranging from 0 grams per 100 grams of the drink to 0.47 grams per 100 grams of the drink. People in the study rated how thick, creamy, fruity, sticky, sweet and sour each sample was.
The second study had people evaluate eight versions of a fruit yogurt drink for sensory and hedonistic characteristics and satiety expectations. Twenty-five people from the University of Sussex volunteered. The drinks varied in texture, creamy flavor and energy/calorie content. People expected the thick versions of the drink to be more filling and have a greater expected satiety value, no matter what the drink’s actual energy/calorie content was.