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Smart Protein Blending

Posted on:February 22, 2018

Feb. 22, 2018-– The Protein Trends & Technologies Seminars consists of a one-day Pre-conference program: Business Strategies and a one-day Technical Program: Formulating with Proteins. Attendees can register for either one alone or for both for a cost savings. The Technology Program: Formulating with Proteins focuses on the development of protein-enhanced foods, beverages and nutritional supplements. Core to the events are speakers presenting impartial information on protein food science, consumer and product trends, emerging nutritional benefits and regulatory issues.

This year’s conference took place on May 23-24, in Itasca, Illinois. The “2017 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar-Formulating with Proteins Summary” provides presentation highpoints and is available for download by clicking here.

Smart Protein Blending
Laurice Pouvreau, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, NIZO food research

Using a highly functional rather than a regular commercial pea protein in a sodium caseinate/pea protein blend will improve emulsion stability.

Food formulators can choose from a wide range of proteins from plant and animal sources, as well as novel sources—including algae, insects and hydrolysates. Both consumers and government agencies are demanding greater use of plant proteins, but blending different proteins can be challenging.

“Smart blending of plant and animal proteins enables industry to optimize nutritional value, sustainability and price,” said Laurice Pouvreau, Ph.D., Senior Scientist Protein Functionality, NIZO, in her presentation.

Protein blends can come from the same source (i.e., dairy casein and whey); from a mixture of proteins (i.e., whey and soy); or from a mixture of intact and hydrolyzed proteins. Processing conditions will affect final product properties, as will pH, temperature and the ratio of ingredients. The blended proteins may act synergistically or antagonistically. Pouvreau provided a number of examples.

Ovalbumin is the main protein in egg white, and the purity of this protein directly influences its functional properties. Increasing the salt concentration affects the elasticity and water-holding capacity of the gel and will also have a dramatic effect on the salty taste perception of the finished product.

In yogurt manufacturing, pre-heating the milk creates whey aggregates. The pH at which you apply pre-heating is extremely important, as is the casein/whey ratio. The ratio casein/whey and the pH at heating will depend on the firmness of the yogurt targeted.

Pouvreau also noted that infant formula is produced using a blend of skim milk powder and whey protein concentrate. Heat-loading these ingredients during manufacture can result in protein instability, leading to insolubility and white flecks. Research revealed that the heat stability of the mixture, rather than the heat stability of one ingredient, determines the final stability of the infant formula.

A model protein bar system was composed of roughly 45% carbohydrate syrup, 45% milk protein and 10% glycerol. Studies of these bars with combinations of sodium caseinate and whey protein isolate revealed a different hardening profile of caseinate vs. whey protein, Pouvreau said.

When a blend of whey and pea proteins is heated, a number of insoluble wet pellets develop. Increasing the ratio of whey in the blend will increase the amount of soluble matter vs. insoluble matter. Results showed that whey and pea proteins co-precipitate, but the least amount of insoluble matter was produced when the pH was increased from 7.1 to 7.4. Heating longer helps to solubilize the pea protein. A pH greater than 7.0 is critical for pea protein solubilization.

Pouvreau went on to say that in a mixture of sodium caseinate and soy protein, 30% of sodium caseinate was replaced with soy protein. Without heat treatment, there was a distinct change in the microstructure and firmness of the gel. To create a gel that was closer to sodium caseinate, a heat treatment was applied to the combined soy protein and sodium caseinate. By slightly changing the pH, it was possible to produce a gel with mechanical and taste properties similar to a 100% sodium caseinate gel.

Adding 1% of soy creates a huge change in microstructure and water-holding capacity of soy/whey gels. By gradually replacing whey protein with soy protein, the stiffness of the gel decreased exponentially, while the firmness decreased linearly. Research revealed that the soy and whey proteins were creating a network and aggregating together. Most commercial soy protein dissolves poorly, producing a weak gel with a large amount of insoluble matter in the gel. Homogenization of soy protein solutions at 400/50 pressure significantly decreases the amount of insoluble matter in the gel.

Increasing the amount of regular commercial pea protein in a sodium caseinate/pea protein emulsion increases the amount of insoluble matter and decreases the stability of the emulsion. However, if one uses a highly functional pea protein, the results are closer to those of a 100% sodium caseinate emulsion.

Pouvreau concluded with the point that protein blends can be synergistic or antagonistic. Smart blending can address common obstacles and produce a finished product with a complete nutritional profile, excellent texture, cost optimization and a clean taste.

“Smart Protein Blending,” Laurice Pouvreau, Ph.D., Senior Scientist Protein Functionality, NIZO, Laurice.Pouvreau@nizo.com


Protein Flavoring Problems: Whys, Wherefores & Possible Ways Out

Posted on:February 13, 2018

Feb. 15, 2018-– The Protein Trends & Technologies Seminars consists of a one-day Pre-conference program: Business Strategies and a one-day Technical Program: Formulating with Proteins. Attendees can register for either one alone or for both for a cost savings. The Technology Program: Formulating with Proteins focuses on the development of protein-enhanced foods, beverages and nutritional supplements. Core to the events are speakers presenting impartial information on protein food science, consumer and product trends, emerging nutritional benefits and regulatory issues.

This year’s conference took place on May 23-24, in Itasca, Illinois. The “2017 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar-Formulating with Proteins Summary” provides presentation highpoints and is available for download by clicking here.

Protein Flavoring Problems: The Whys, Wherefores & Possible Ways Out
Gary Reineccius, Ph.D., Professor and Past Department Head, Dept. of Food Science & Nutrition, University of Minnesota

Different proteins bond with different flavors differently. In this experiment, whey and soy quickly stripped volatile benzaldehyde (cherry or almond flavor) molecules from model protein bar system stored at very high temperatures. Thus no levels are shown in the graph above. Equivalent concentrations of rice or pea proteins allowed for better retention of this flavor, in this one case. [For larger PDF of chart, click on image.]

From a food or beverage product developer’s point of view, does it make more sense to match the flavor to the protein or the protein to the flavor? This is only one of the questions addressed by renowned University of Minnesota flavor expert, Gary Reineccius, Ph.D., during his discourse on the art and science of flavor.

“Flavor” is a holistic response to chemical stimuli contributed by specific combinations of selected and highly reactive aroma chemicals (ca.11,300 have been identified in nature); non-volatile tastants (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami); and chemesthetic signals (e.g., heat of peppers and cooling of menthol). These combined chemical stimuli provide a pattern of signals to the brain that then are perceived as flavor.

This same constellation of sensory signals must be rigorously managed throughout a food’s manufacturing, storage, handling and preparation processes to ensure that, in the end, “the balance of a product’s sensory inputs meets our expectations,” said Reineccius.

Proteins in food are very reactive systems, he continued. Proteins can trap flavors in multiple ways through hydrophobic, hydrophilic or ionic reactions; or through covalent bonding with amino acid side chains to prevent their volatilization and sensory detection in the nose and mouth.

Reineccius proceeded to catalog some of the reaction pathways whereby protein-flavor interactions impact product quality. For example, the oxidative decomposition of residual phospholipids resulting in grassy, beany flavor-notes in soy and other legumes is well-known. Phospholipids are especially difficult to separate from legume proteins during processing, but he noted that the University of Wisconsin had recently been granted a patent on the use of cyclodextrins to strip phospholipids from plant protein streams. Heat and oxidation create their own sensory off-notes for animal proteins, such as in Maillard browning reactions in milk proteins during storage.

So, what are good strategies for dealing with the challenges of protein-flavor binding or off-flavor development? Reineccius counseled a methodical approach. The first step is to identify the off-flavor notes. Next, try to link the identified off-flavors to specific processing steps. Ask oneself if there are practical fixes to the process, storage and/or handling conditions responsible for Maillard browning reactions, oxidation or protein hydrolysis.

If the creation of off-flavor compounds is unavoidable, can the solubility or volatility properties of the identified off-flavor compounds be used to remove them (e.g., solvent extraction, adsorption or heat-stripping)? “You don’t want to have to design a flavor system around the off-flavor notes, if you can avoid it,” said Reineccius. He was highly skeptical of flavor-masking agents. “There has been some progress with this approach for bitterness, but I have yet to see success in truly masking off-odors.”

Another approach is to select proteins based on their flavor reactivity. Different proteins absorb/chemically react with specific flavor compounds at different rates. Thus, there may be an opportunity to pair specific flavors with certain proteins.

“Often, one flavor compound characterizes, is absolutely key, to a product’s flavor profile (additional components round out or complete the flavor profile),” said Reineccius. Benzaldehyde, for example: “When tart, we perceive benzaldehyde as cherry; if not tart, it’s almond.” He described how one of his students used protein bars—fortified with whey, soy, pea and rice protein and stored at 45˚C—to document how benzaldehyde binding was significantly greater for pea and whey proteins than it was for rice or soy proteins. Hence, one might opt for rice instead of whey protein in cherry- or almond-flavored products. [See chart “Benzaldehyde (Cherry/Almond) Binding by Proteins.”]

“Here is my advice, said Reineccius: “When working on a project that involves protein and flavor interactions, work closely with people that have experience in this area, because it (flavor chemistry) is still an art. Otherwise, if we depend only on science to tell us what we need to know, we are in trouble. We have much to learn yet.”

“Protein Flavoring Problems: The Whys, Wherefores & Possible Ways Out,” Gary Reineccius, Ph.D., Professor and Past Department Head, Dept. of Food Science & Nutrition, University of Minnesota, greinecc@umn.edu

 


Clean Label for Gluten-free Bakery Products

Posted on:February 6, 2018

Feb. 8, 2018–The 2017 Clean Label Conference’s tagline, “Sophisticated Solutions for Simplified Products,” expresses the industry’s challenge of simplifying products and also our belief that food science will deliver solutions. To meet consumer expectations, products must not only have great taste, value and nutrition, but increasingly possess attributes covered by the term “clean label.”

This year’s conference on March 28-29, in Itasca, Ill., provided 10 general session speakers. This 2017 Clean Label Conference Summary provides presentation highpoints. Presentations are also available for download at www.GlobalFoodForums.com/2017-Clean-Label/Store.

 Be sure to also check out information on the upcoming 2018 Clean Label Conference

Clean Label for Gluten-free Bakery Products
Stevan Angalet, Ph.D., President, Angalet Group International

Leavening ingredients pose the biggest challenge to clean label baked products. Yeast poses no issue, but chemical leavenings, such as baking powder, do.

Can clean label baked goods rise even further by combining two of the hottest trends going? Stevan Angalet, Principal Consultant at Angalet Group International, detailed how to adjust gluten-free formulas to also deliver clean label claims.

Despite perennial proclamations of the gluten-free category’s imminent demise, it just keeps going and going. In 2014, the market research company Mintel projected the gluten-free market to grow from $10.5 billion in 2013 to $15 billion in 2016. Data from Food Specialty Magazine pegged the bakery product share of this market at 29.3% worldwide, said Angalet.

According to data pulled from a 2016 Natural Marketing Institute survey, the leading reasons cited by consumers for purchasing gluten-free product had nothing whatsoever to do with gluten-sensitivity: The top reason cited was “to eat healthier and/or improve overall health” (51%). Other reasons included “wanting to look or feel better” (38%), or simply because they tried and liked the product (24%). Celiac disease was cited by only 6% of respondents.

A 2016 Packaged Facts report noted that many of the consumer expectations of gluten-free foods and clean labels overlap. For example, both groups sought fewer and simpler ingredients; “free from” formulations; minimal processing with organic, sustainable product methods; and transparency in business practices.

Angalet surveyed retail, gluten-free Ready-to-Eat (RTE) and Readyto- Cook (RTC) products and measured them against clean label expectations, as defined by the website: https://gocleanlabel.com/ [Editor’s note: this is one of several clean label guide websites that offers clean label certification services. Not all sites use the same criteria].

“A major distinction between RTE and RTC is that RTE products, such as breads, cakes, pancakes and cookies, are almost totally within the control of the manufacturer, whereas RTC products must be robust to a considerable range of consumer-controlled variables during final preparation,” said Angalet.

Gluten-free bread formulation requires that one be able to replace gluten with a viscoelastic dough that entraps gas and rises. One must accommodate a batter; a mixing step; the addition of batter to fill pans; a fermentation or leavening period; a baking step to develop flavor and set the structure; followed by de-panning,

In the first example provided, the 17 ingredients listed for a gluten-free white sandwich bread included modified food starch and sodium alginate. “According to the GoCleanLabel website, any modified alginates are a ‘no-no,’” said Angalet. Neither can one use modified food starch,” he continued. However, the website does not distinguish between starches that have been chemically modified vs. those physically modified (as by heat, shear and/or moisture, for example).

Leavening ingredients pose the biggest challenge to clean label baked products. Yeast poses no issue, but chemical leavenings do (i.e., baking powder). If baking powder is to be replaced, Angalet suggested a number of possible solutions:
• Creaming fat and sugars under chilled conditions, to increase air incorporation into a dough or batter. Butter, especially, will incorporate more air into a product as the water in the emulsion turns to steam cooling and packaging.

• Whipping air into dry ingredients, especially sweeteners, to aid incorporation into fat and water
• Increasing levels of free water for conversion to steam during baking
• Using carbonated water as a gas source
• Creating egg and fat emulsions
• Dropping mix temperatures and extending whipping time to increase air incorporation

Said Angalet, “Whatever the proposed approach to leavening, the most important variable is the level of free water in the formulation.” Even if alkaline sodium bicarbonate is acceptable, baking powder acidulants can be problematic. Angalet suggested experimenting with various natural acidulants: Cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) is a byproduct of wine making, so it might be acceptable. Sodium aluminum pyrophosphate most definitely is not.

Angalet proceeded to forensically review a variety of additional RTE and RTC bread, leavened cake, cookie (biscuit) and pancake clean label formulation options.

“Clean Label for Gluten-free Bakery Products,” Stevan Angalet, Ph.D., Principal, Angalet Group International, sangalet@angaletgroup.com


Disruptive Ingredient Technologies: Characterizing Plant Proteins

Posted on:January 31, 2018

Feb. 1, 2018— The Protein Trends & Technologies Seminars consists of a one-day Pre-conference program: Business Strategies and a one-day Technical Program: Formulating with Proteins. Attendees can register for either one alone or for both for a cost savings. The Technology Program: Formulating with Proteins focuses on the development of protein-enhanced foods, beverages and nutritional supplements. Core to the events are speakers presenting impartial information on protein food science, consumer and product trends, emerging nutritional benefits and regulatory issues.

This year’s conference took place on May 23-24, in Itasca, Illinois. The “2017 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar-Formulating with Proteins Summary” provides presentation highpoints and is available for download by clicking here.

Disruptive Ingredient Technologies: Characterizing Plant Proteins to Predict Optimal Food Matrix Use

Nutritional value, functional properties, organoleptic quality, and labeling and health-claims compliance are the four key elements by which to characterize proteins. For example, solubility is an important functional property. [For larger PDF of chart, click on image.]

Both wet- or dry-process pathways are used to industrially concentrate and purify (“refine”) proteins to desired-quality parameters. The ideal is to provide the highest degree of purity and quality for the lowest possible cost. The tradeoff is that the purer and more undenatured a protein, the more expensive it is.

Denis Chéreau, Ph.D., CEO of IMPROVE SAS (Dury, France), reviewed emergent technologies that promise to significantly improve the purity, quality and economics of protein processing in his presentation titled “Disruptive Ingredient Technologies: Characterizing Plant Proteins to Predict Optimal Food Matrix Use.”  IMPROVE SAS is a private R&D laboratory focused on food, feed, cosmetic and agro-material technologies.

“There are four key elements whereby to characterize proteins,” said Chéreau, “nutritional value, functional properties, organoleptic quality, and labeling and health-claims compliance.” Nutritional value depends upon the presence, integrity and bio-availability of amino acids. Functional properties depend upon the interfacial properties of native protein structures. Organoleptic properties rely on the matrix surrounding the protein and the raw material. Health claims and labeling compliance provide the interface whereby a protein meets consumer expectations and stays aligned with regulation.

In today’s consumer market, “one has to consider protein allergenicity, anti-nutritional factors, peptide bioactivity, clean label perceptions, GMO status, ‘organic’ compliance, plant origin and protein purity,” said Chéreau. All of these factors enter into processing considerations.

Chéreau catalogued some potentially “disruptive” technologies that promise to further enhance protein quality, consumer expectations and processing efficiencies. Some examples:

Dry refining. An advantage to dry processing is its compatibility with clean and organic labeling expectations, explained Chéreau. “It also helps to preserve a protein’s native nutritional value and functional properties.” Milling techniques optimized to yield ultra-fine seed flours, when combined with high-speed air classification, yield high-protein fractions. “Using an air classifier at 16,000rpm, we have been able to yield faba bean fractions with up to 70% purity,” said Chéreau. There is a tradeoff, however, between purity and yield. One promising method being investigated to enhance yield is to apply a “coronal discharge” to the flour and then separate the high-protein fractions based on their surface electrical charges.

Wet refining. Ultra-fine, milled dry plant-protein fractions can be further solubilized and purified through heat coagulation, isoelectric precipitation or membrane filtration. Efficient protein solubilization begins with very finemilled particles. “We have been able to achieve close to 100% protein solubility in faba beans at pH 9-10, using 300 micrometer (micron)-sized particles, with 88.3% extraction efficiency,” said Chéreau.

The structures of the dry particles are also important. Each technique can yield protein isolates in the 80-92% concentration range with 70% yields. However, both heat coagulation and isoelectric precipitation can yield protein denaturation or organoleptic shortcomings, while conventional membrane filtration remains expensive.

Chéreau reviewed a number of “disruptive” technologies that could enhance the economic efficiencies of these processes.

A few examples:
Forward osmosis uses semi-permeable membranes and a proprietary draw solution comprised of a “food-grade GRAS liquid” that can “easily be regenerated at very low cost.” The operating temperatures for this step are between 10-50°C, optimizing protein integrity. However, work is still underway to identify membranes able to operate at the pH 9-10 range for optimum solubilization. “The process requires very little energy; is easy to scale-up; and integrates easily into existing processing lines,” said Chéreau.

Dynamic cross-flow filtration uses rotating ceramic disks to generate turbulent flow across membranes, resulting in significant energy savings… “as much as five times less than conventional systems,” claimed Chéreau. “This system works well with high viscosity fluids.” The researchers are still working to resolve issues with high-viscosity by-product stream utilizations.

Electrostatic spray-drying shows promise for highly sensitive proteins, such as egg or milk proteins. The process electrically charges solvent particles, causing them to migrate to the exterior of the particles in a nitrogen environment, yielding enhanced drying efficiencies while minimizing energy costs. Drying temperatures for this process are 80°C vs. 180°C for more conventional spray-drying.

In sum, the presentation offered an encouraging and creative view of how next-generation, “disruptive” protein technologies could be mixed and matched to enhance quality and functionality with significant cost-savings.

“Disruptive Ingredient Technologies: Characterizing Plant Proteins to Predict Optimal Food Matrix Use,” Denis Chéreau Ph.D., General Manager, IMPROVE SAS, denis.chereau@improve-innov.com

 


Consumer Restaurant & Menu Trends: The Clean Label Influence

Posted on:January 25, 2018

January 25, 2018–The 2017 Clean Label Conference’s tagline, “Sophisticated Solutions for Simplified Products,” expresses the industry’s challenge of simplifying products and also our belief that food science will deliver solutions. To meet consumer expectations, products must not only have great taste, value and nutrition, but increasingly possess attributes covered by the term “clean label.”

This year’s conference on March 28-29, in Itasca, Ill., provided 10 general session speakers. This 2017 Clean Label Conference Summary provides presentation highpoints. Presentations are also available for download at www.GlobalFoodForums.com/2017-Clean-Label/Store.

Be sure to also check out information on the upcoming 2018 Clean Label Conference!

Consumer Restaurant & Menu Trends: The Clean Label Influence

One interesting development is that certain restaurant and other foodservice outlets have recognized that consumers are associating certain “clean label” fats and sweeteners as healthy, such as butter, coconut oil, duck fat, honey, maple sugar and agave syrup. [For larger PDF of chart, click on image.]

Approximately 50% of U.S. consumers’ food expenditures are allocated to food eaten away from the home. The foodservice and restaurant industries also function as important trend leaders.

Lizzy Freier and Aimee Harvey, Managing Editors at Technomic, Inc., a foodservice research and consulting firm, discussed the impact of consumer clean label concerns on this important industry segment.

“Clean food is a topic that we are always talking about,” said Freier. Technomic regularly polls consumers and foodservice operators, and tracks menu trends “from field to fork,” she explained. Here are some research results.

Definitions of “healthy” are always changing, especially for younger consumers. And six out of 10 consumers equate “clean labels” with healthfulness.

“It’s not just physical, but also mental wellness…a sense of well-being tied to feeling good” that consumers associate with their food choices, Harvey continued. How do consumers define clean labels? Primarily, “clean” equates with a lack of preservatives and other additives, or food that is raw and natural. Other “clean” claims include “fresh,” “non-GMO” and “hormone-free.”

But are consumers willing to pay more for clean label foods?

On this question, they are split. Harvey cited Technomic’s “2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report,” saying, “43% said that they would be willing to pay more for ‘natural,’ but 37% would not. 39% would pay more for unprocessed foods, but 34% would not. 40% would pay more for ‘clean label,’ 29% would not.” Importantly, 53% believed that “natural” equated with being tastier, up from 45% that indicated the same in 2014.

Technomic polled foodservice operators on their perceptions of clean label expectations. “89% of operators acknowledged that ‘health and wellness’ was a leading trend, but definitions thereof were extremely broad and fuzzy,” said Lizzy Freier. “However, eight or more out of 10 agreed that clean labels will impact their purchase decisions in the future, taken to mean buying more locally produced foods that are chemical- or pesticide-free; produced under sustainable conditions; free of hormones or antibiotics; and the product of humane animal treatment.”

As result, many operators have been adding clean label designations to their menus: Clean label menu statements tracked by Technomic increased 19%, from 1,191 in 2015 to 1,419 in 2016. “Such claims are showing up in every menu category,” said Freier.

While “natural” and “organic” claims still predominate on menus, “the fastest growing clean menu claims between 2015- 2017 related to animal products, such as ‘sustainability caught’ (+1,100%), ‘no steroids’ (+250%); ‘humanely raised’ (+159%),
‘GMO-free’ (+138.7%) and ‘cage free’ (+32.3%),” said Freier. “Many people want to hear narratives about the animal products they eat.”

Even as restaurants and lodging venues experienced steadily increasing penetration of clean label claims, the prevalence of such claims actually decreased at university outlets. Freier suggested that for these venues, “clean label” claims have become mainstreamed expectations, an insight that could prove a leading indicator for other foodservice and food industry venues.

Harvey reviewed a list of major American restaurant chains that have recently emphasized clean label policies: “Panera finished its goal of creating a ‘100% clean menu;’ McDonald’s has removed some artificial preservatives; Pizza Hut has removed preservatives from meat and cheese; and Papa Murphy’s has begun serving antibiotic- free chicken,” she noted.

Others have announced plans for major clean label initiatives. Organic has pretty much gone mainstream, which puts the industry on notice to identify the next wave of clean label buzzwords that will bring customers to their doors. However, Harvey counseled caution: “Chipotle’s new Tasty Made venture sought to differentiate itself from the competition with responsibly raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, only to discover that consumers were not willing to pay the premiums that such claims entailed.”

The presentation concluded with the notion that “you build trust through transparency,” and you do it by being open about providing compelling whole food and clean label narratives about your food, beverage and ingredient histories. “Most consumers say a number of clean label claims actually taste better,” said Harvey. Such should define the bottom line for any food-related business.

“Consumer & Restaurant Menu Trends: The Clean Label Influence,” Lizzy Freier and Aimee Harvey, Managing Editors at Technomic, Inc., lfreier@technomic.com and aharvey@technomic.com


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