Yoplait Dippers yogurt
Yoplait Dippers include sweet or savory nonfat Greek yogurt in one part and crunchy dippers in the other.

Adding to the formulator’s tool chest

Ingredient suppliers are rolling out tools to assist yogurt product developers with their differentiation endeavors. Opportunities exist to develop products designed for the palates and lifestyles of the myriad consumers who embrace yogurt as a health-and-wellness food but are looking for more options in the marketplace. This includes targeting specific dayparts and consumer segments, as well as creative and convenient packaging, most notably pouches, dual-compartments and single-serve bottles. When product developers explore the addition of flavors, nutrients and varied packaging, texture also needs to be addressed.

Research from Ingredion Inc., Westchester, Ill., shows that yogurt texture is a leading influencer of product preference scores. This means that developing and maintaining consistent texture throughout the shelf life of yogurt is paramount to new product development. Marketers must identify the target consumer early in the innovation stage, formulate to deliver the texture the target consumer prefers and use effective language to communicate the expected texture of the finished product.

“The texture landscape for yogurt is complex and vast, with a variety of sensorial properties on the market,” said Ivan Gonzales, marketing director for dairy at Ingredion. “This makes it challenging for product developers to formulate products that drive consumer liking.”

Chobani Whole Milk Yogurt Flip
Chobani also offers a whole milk yogurt option.

Chr. Hansen, Milwaukee, recently developed a culture system with pH stability to assist with obtaining optimal texture in yogurt. It reduces costs, as the culture builds texture during fermentation, so less stabilizing and texturizing ingredients are needed. This is achieved by using a gentler yogurt processing method where the yogurt stays warm until filled in the cup to avoid shear and mechanical stress.

When it comes to creating indulgent yogurts, scientists at TIC Gums Inc., White Marsh, Md., have developed gum blends that produce a creamy, smooth, full-body texture. When a yogurt contains fruit preparation, gum blends also may assist with stabilization and prevention of syneresis. For clean label and natural formulations, TIC now offers an organic, non-G.M.O. hydrocolloid system for use in indulgent yogurt applications.

Premium Ingredients, Murcia, Spain, recently launched a new stabilizer based on dairy protein for the production of Greek-style yogurt. It was developed in order to optimize the final product in terms of cost, texture, level of protein and syneresis control.

Noosa Yoghurt
Noosa Yoghurt added new globally-inspired flavors to its lineup.

“While traditional yogurt options rely on modified food starch and gelatin to give yogurt its distinctive thick, creamy texture, those ingredients may not fit consumers’ clean label definition,” said Drew Kleven, product line manager-functional systems and hydrocolloids, Cargill, Minneapolis. “In response to consumer demand, Cargill has developed high-performing, label-friendly systems made from ingredients consumers know and trust. For example, we now offer a system based on two simple ingredients: functional native starch and pectin. This stabilizer system stands up to the processing challenges of yogurt and delivers the creamy texture consumers expect. There’s also an organic option.”

ICL Food Specialties, St. Louis, is introducing a new clean label ingredient system for protein-enriched yogurt. The system is added to the pasteurized milk before fermentation, and doesn’t interfere with other production steps. The end result is a creamy and indulgent yogurt with desirable mouthfeel.

“When it comes to high-quality protein enrichment, there is no one-size-fits-all approach,” said Andrea Maurer, global lead market-dairy segment for ICL based in Ladenburg, Germany. “Yogurt manufacturers who want to grow in saturated markets need to provide additional value.”