From Gluten-free to Whole Grain: Formulating On-trend Products

Posted on:March 21, 2017

March 22, 2017Global Food Forums, Inc.The following is an excerpt from the “2016 Protein Trends & Technology Report: Formulating with Proteins,” sponsored by Arla Foods Ingredients, Amco Proteins, Givaudan, Orochem Technologies, RiceBran Technologies and Synergy. 

Maskus provided formulas using fava beans as the source of pulse flour that they have worked with to produce non-gluten pan bread with higher levels of protein. [For larger PDF of chart, click on image.]

The year of 2016 has been designated the “International Year of Pulses,” stated Heather Maskus, Project Manager at the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi), in her opening remarks. Her presentation, “From Gluten-free to Whole Grain: Formulating On-trend Products,” focused upon using combinations of pulses and whole grains to formulate foods—such as cereals, snacks, pastas, noodles, pan bread and crackers—with higher levels of protein.

Maskus noted that pulses are defined as the dry, edible seeds of legume plants and include lentils, peas, chickpeas and beans [but excludes soybeans; soybeans are not a pulse, because their seed is not dry]. Pulses have applications in whole, ground, dehulled, flaked and fractionated forms; the latter is usually produced through air fractionation and wet extraction.

“Pulse flours are nutrient-dense ingredients,” Maskus stated. “They are a high source of dietary fiber (14-25% dry weight) and are a protein source at about 20-30% dry weight.” Pulses are high in lysine but low in methionine and cysteine, while cereal grains are typically the opposite. “Combining pulse and cereal grains is, therefore, of interest to create more complete protein profiles in products.”

Maskus described research that focused on the development of extruded breakfast cereal that use pulses. Pea fiber (6.5%) added to a blend of corn meal (31.5%), and whole pea and semolina flour (56.5%), enhanced extrusion due to its starch characteristics. “The goal for protein levels in pulsebased products is 5g of protein per 30g serving,” she stated.

“However, this blend would not be able to make a protein claim, because the protein digestibility of peas at 87.9 is not high enough.” Maskus indicated that Cigi is continuing this work, using oats and buckwheat as complementary amino acid sources to improve end-product protein quality.

Maskus presented data showing the effects of various milling methods to produce whole yellow pea flour and resulting quality parameters of extruded snacks. She noted that similar formulation principles exist for snacks and cereals. Maskus stated that “extrusion of whole yellow pea flours is more controlled than for the split yellow pea flours. The additional fiber in whole yellow pea flour acts as a nucleation agent and controls air cell size within the final product.”

Pasta was one of the first products investigated for fortification with pulses, due to characteristically low fiber and nutrient contents. Pulse flour milling was undertaken to produce low-, medium and high- (21, 24 and 26.4%) protein content flour and blended with durum semolina (30:70). The advantages of including pulses in pasta include enhanced protein content, quality and nutrient density.

As pulse protein increased, it was necessary to change processing parameters. The challenges, Maskus noted, include sticky dough crumb due to the soluble proteins present in pulses which affect extrusion. Drying cycles should be modified to low temperature-long time to minimize color changes. Maskus stated that a “2% reduction in water addition for yellow pea semolina and the use of a fine semolina pulse ingredient will help to improve the appearance and cooked pasta firmness.” Cooked firmness of the pasta was increased with increasing pulse addition.

Maskus also discussed their work with pulses in flour blends for the development of gluten-free breads. (See chart “Formulation for Gluten-free Pan Bread with Pulse Flours” for products with 30 and 50% fava bean flour that resulted in breads of 5 and 6g protein, respectively.) The breads were also eligible to carry dietary fiber nutrient content claims with 4 and 5g of fiber.

Maskus noted that the gluten-free breads formulated with fava bean flour showed similar loaf characteristics and resulted in breads with a firmer texture and smaller cell diameters compared to the control bread.

“Pulse-based products offer several advantages, including gluten-free potential, as well as a product with higher protein and fiber,” concluded Maskus. “Pulses offer a sustainable protein that is non-GMO with low allergenicity. They can meet many of the requirements for a clean label and have increasing global recognition.”

Maskus went on to note that “challenges include texture, color and flavor, and also meeting protein claims. However, the blending of grain ingredients and processing modifications can solve many of these.”

Heather Maskus, MSc, Project Manager, Canadian International Grains Institute,

Formulating with Proteins: Processing and Flavor Challenges

Posted on:February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017Global Food Forums, Inc.The following is an excerpt from the “2016 Protein Trends & Technology Report: Formulating with Proteins,” sponsored by Arla Foods Ingredients, Amco Proteins, Givaudan, Orochem Technologies, RiceBran Technologies and Synergy. 

The amount of protein has no impact on sweet taste perception in neutral pH, ready-to-mix protein beverages. However, changing from a liquid to a solid at the same protein load did increase the level of sweetener needed. Understanding the factors that influence protein flavor will allow the formulator to optimize flavor in the finished product. [For a larger PDF of the chart, click on image.]

Protein is in high demand by consumers, and the flavor of protein ingredients is vital to product success. A recent conjoint survey of 440 consumers at NCSU revealed the attributes consumers seek include the label claim, protein type, protein amount, sweetener and metabolic benefits. Different clusters of consumers are searching for different attributes.

In consumers who regularly consume protein beverages, whey protein is the most desired protein, followed by milk protein, said MaryAnne Drake, Ph.D., Professor of Food Science at North Carolina State University, in her 2016 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar presentation titled “Formulating with Proteins: Processing and Flavor Challenges.” These consumers seek products with 20 or 25g of protein. They are searching for naturally sweetened products, as well as products that offer satiety and great taste.

All protein sources do not taste the same. “Principal component biplot analysis by a trained panel reveals that [even] the same ingredient from different suppliers does not taste the same,” said Drake. This is true for all types of protein ingredients. As protein content increases, protein flavors increase in intensity. This is true for both dairy and soy proteins, and these protein ingredient flavors carry through into the finished product.

Proteins with the mildest flavor profile are preferred by consumers. Labeling that says a product contains higher levels of protein improves acceptability, but label claims are not as important as actual flavor.

Challenges differ, depending on the protein ingredient and application. Lipid oxidation and sulfur degradation products are Different lipid oxidation values translate to different flavor perception, as well as to different functional properties—including heat stability and foam stability. Longer storage increases lipid oxidation for both whey and milk proteins, said Drake. Maillard reactions also play a role in beverages and increase at higher storage temperature and with higher lactose content.

In whey obtained from cheese, the cheese-making process, the whey manufacturing process and the final product processing all impact shelf stability and flavor of the whey. When the manufacturer is aware of potential issues, they can control and minimize flavor impact.

Spray-drying influences flavor of high-protein dairy products. In the spray-drying of whey ingredients, both a lower pH and higher solids result in lower flavor intensities. Instantized protein ingredients have a shorter shelflife, because lecithin is readily oxidized. Storage time and temperature also impact functional properties, especially for milk protein ingredients.

Food and beverage manufacturers are under pressure from consumers to produce products with natural sweeteners as part of the demand for clean label products. The primary natural, non-nutritive sweeteners in use today are monk fruit and stevia. Increasing protein levels yielded little impact on sweet taste.

Drake and her group use various methods to evaluate sweet taste. Magnitude Estimation Scaling (MES) is used to determine iso-sweet concentrations of each sweetener to sucrose. The Time Intensity (TI) method is an assessment of the intensity of a single attribute, such as bitter or metallic, over time. In the method Temporal Dominance of Sensations (TDS), panelists evaluate multiple attributes at once and select the dominant attribute. TDS shows the sequence of dominant sensations rather than intensities. In the final method, Temporal Check-All-That-Apply (TCATA), panelists may select and deselect various attributes over a period of time. This allows one to track how a product’s sensory characteristics evolve.

“Formulating with Proteins: Processing and Flavor Challenges,” MaryAnne Drake, Ph.D., Professor of Food Science at North Carolina State University, 

Breaking New Ground in Organic & Non-GMO Markets

Posted on:February 16, 2017

February 16, 2017–Global Food Forums, Inc.
The following is an excerpt from the “2016 Clean Label Conference Summary,”
sponsored by Givaudan, RiceBran Technologies, TIC Gums, Blue Pacific Flavors, World Technology Ingredients, Inc. and IOI Loders Croklaan.

Today, 0.6% of total U.S. acres are organic, with a strong organic share in fruits, nuts and vegetables. Currently, organic corn is grown on 235,000 American acres, but 75% of this is used for cows producing organic milk. Convincing U.S. farmers to switch to organic farming is tough, so manufacturers will need to find incentives, such as contracting for and finding uses for all of the rotation crops. [For full size PDF of chart, click on image.]

Grounding manufacturers’ expectations from the strained organic supply chain was the aim of Scott Shander, MSc, Economist, Mercaris, during this presentation. When considering organic product launches, securing supplies can be challenging, and the nuances need to be understood and appreciated.

In the “2014-2015 State of the Industry Report,” The Organic Trade Association showed $39 billion in organic sales, up from $10 billion in 2003. Data concerning organic acreage in the U.S. shows a massive expansion in organic food, compared with limited available acreage to grow organic.

Currently, 36% of organic sales are in fruit and vegetables; interestingly, the emerging organic market includes compound growth rates in snack foods, bread, meats and other packaged foods. “Looking at these categories, meeting this demand will require disproportionate growth in organic grains and oilseeds relative to other crops,” said Shander.

Organic crop rotation is important to manage soil health, pests and weeds. Organic farming requires a multi-year rotation period for growing corn, then alfalfa, soybeans, etc. A significant ramp-up in organic corn production, for example, will also require a ramp-up of other organic crops—including barley, oats, peas, lentils and hay (of which there is currently not much demand)—presenting a significant problem, if demand for these less common crops does not also increase.

“The industries’ short-term solution to supply shortages in the U.S. has been finding international suppliers. Over the last four years, organic corn and soy imports skyrocketed, but the U.S. needs a solution to develop these grains domestically,” noted Shander.

Conventional farmers can currently earn $129 per acre for corn, with organic corn bringing $552 per acre. “At these numbers, why is not every farmer taking action?” Shander asked rhetorically.

“Many reasons make this tough,” Shander went on to explain. “The average farmer in the U.S. is 58 years old; trying to convince them to completely change their business and hire third-party certifiers to tell them how to run the farm can be very difficult.” Furthermore, organic farming requires a 36-month transition period; a large investment to the land; and benefit will not be seen for several years. Many farmers may not have grown anything other than corn or soy. They have no knowledge of other crops—i.e., their uses and their buyers—and they would need to develop completely new relationships in order to farm successfully. Also, a very limited number of organic processing and storage facilities exist.

Currently, in Illinois alone, 74,300 farmers cover 27 million acres, compared with the entire U.S. organic market with 14,870 farmers covering only 2 million acres nationally. A current corn producer has many options to deliver grain from his farm to storage or processing facilities. However, when trying to market organic corn, a farmer is lucky to find even one processing facility, even far away. And, that processor might not be buying corn that day or prices are not competitive; so the farmer needs to try the next buyer, etc. Processers can take advantage of this situation by providing less market transparency and forcing organic farmers to sell crops as needed.

Many organic food manufacturers have moved to 100% imports, developing international relationships with more supply security. Some manufacturers are securing supplies for an entire year by contracting with growers. However, farmers willing to help big food companies with sustainability initiatives need to produce additional materials, like lentils and smaller grains. And there needs to be a home for these, so companies need to find creative uses for rotation crops.

Shander’s final takeaways were that the organic market will continue to grow; innovative manufacturers will take action; and competition will intensify. A competitive edge will exist for companies who can find uses for rotation crops, like the smaller grains and legumes. Organics can be daunting for procurement teams
who will need thoughtful leadership in order to deliver long-term security for these plans.

“Breaking New Ground in Organic & Non-GMO Markets,” Scott Shander, Ph.D., Economist, Mercaris. To access Mercaris reports and analysis on organic and non-GMO markets, please contact Scott Shander,, 312-423-1877

Formulating Protein Beverages: Real World Challenges & Tactical Solutions

Posted on:January 23, 2017

January 23, 2017Global Food Forums, Inc.The following is an excerpt from the “2016 Protein Trends & Technology Report: Formulating with Proteins,” sponsored by Arla Foods Ingredients, Amco Proteins, Givaudan, Orochem Technologies, RiceBran Technologies and Synergy. 

Cline-imageCreating successful protein beverages was the topic of the presentation, “Formulating Protein Beverages: Real World Challenges & Tactical Solutions,” given by Justin Cline, Senior Beverage Scientist at Imbibe. Cline first reviewed protein chemistry and functionality basics.

Protein molecules are either hydrophobic, hydrophilic or electrically charged. When a protein molecule carries a charge, the molecules repel each other in solution. But, by adding acids or bases and bringing the proteins to a net 0 charge (isoelectric point), the molecules are attracted to each other; clump together into a solid mass; precipitate; and fall out of solution.

In beverages, the pH of the isoelectric point should be avoided, as precipitation is not desirable. “Protein properties can be harnessed to build viscosity or create emulsions, or these properties can be detrimental when causing clouding or grittiness in a beverage,” Cline explained.

He advised to determine early the desired protein level and source. The trend is toward packing as much protein into a beverage as possible, but too much can cause issues. “When suspending protein, gums are helpful; for a charge issue, adjusting pH can work. As carbohydrates increase, so does viscosity, and reducing sugars may cause browning. Homogenization can mechanically alter protein structure. These are all issues for consideration,” advised Cline.

Vitamins, minerals, salts, whole grains and other solids all have potential to negatively interact with proteins, especially at higher levels. During processing, order of addition and pH monitoring are key. Emulsions and physical stress on the protein can alter its functionality, and hydration of the protein is very important. Protein is very sensitive to heat, which causes denaturation; and upon cooling, gelling and thickening.

Cline offered several case studies for consideration. “In an average nutritional shake with 3-4% protein, neutral pH (6.6-7) and that uses casein, the protein’s isoelectric point is avoided,” Cline shared.

He recommended grouping ingredients according to their properties during processing. Protein and hydrocolloids should be left on their own to hydrate properly. Vitamins and minerals should be separated from other solids to avoid interactions. In addition, fractionating the water during production is important. Most of the water should be kept for hydration of the protein, for at least 20 minutes. The rest of the water is best retained for hydrating other ingredients, like hydrocolloids.

Each ingredient needs to hydrate separately and completely, so they do not compete for water. This ensures good ingredient functionality, proper stabilization and no grittiness. Cline recommended keeping 5-10% of the water to adjust total solids at the end of processing.

In higher solids beverages, the same rules apply, but interactions with protein are more likely. Commonly used whey proteins are prone to denaturation and thicken at higher temperatures/longer times. “Adjust pH lastly, after everything is added and total solids are adjusted,” Cline instructed. “The whole batch should then be allowed to come to equilibrium and then the pH checked again.It is  important to allow an acid or base to completely mingle with the protein.”

“In high-acid clear beverages with whey protein isolate,” advised Cline, “make sure the protein is completely hydrated, the pH is below 3.5 and few other ingredients, just sweeteners and flavors, are used.”

Beverage stability over time is heavily dependent on protein denaturation. The product may look great when first made, but over time, the denatured protein can build a very unpleasant web or haze that looks like mold.

To summarize a few points, Cline stressed understanding a processing plant’s capabilities. Know that heat processing and protein denaturation release cooked and sulfur notes that mellow over time, as protein reaches equilibrium in a few weeks. Therefore, he recommends refraining from formula changes until the product has properly aged. Also, ask suppliers for information on ingredients, and share as many product and processing details with them as possible—since that aids their understanding in how to help. Cline also urges that shelflife studies be completed before commercialization, as proteins change over time.

“Formulating Protein Beverages: Real World Challenges & Tactical Solutions,” Justin Cline, Senior Beverage Scientist, Imbibe, 847-324-4411, 

Conventional to Emerging Natural Sweeteners: Key Properties for Product Applications

Posted on:January 6, 2017

January 6, 2017–Global Food Forums, Inc.
The following is an excerpt from the “2016 Clean Label Conference Summary,”
sponsored by Givaudan, RiceBran Technologies, TIC Gums, Blue Pacific Flavors, World Technology Ingredients, Inc. and IOI Loders Croklaan.


Synergy was documented among several sweeteners, which can be cost-beneficial and lessen impact of any detrimental attributes. For example, Reb A exhibits synergy with sugar and with the FEMA GRAS ingredient monatin. [For larger PDF of chart, click on image.]

“Some say clean label is food industry’s response to the lack of a clear definition for ‘natural,’” began Catalin Moraru, International Food Network/Covance Food Solutions, at the 2016 Clean Label Conference.

Sweeteners are among the top strategies for cleaning up labels; this strategy is being employed by the industry, as over the past four years the use of the “natural” sweetener stevia has increased more than 30%. The FDA’s new labeling rule to include the amount of added sugars on a product’s Nutrition Facts panel will focus
even more attention on sweeteners.

Most nutritive sweeteners have similar or lower sweetness compared to sugar. In contrast, high-potency sweeteners are significantly sweeter than sugar; therefore, they are used in much smaller quantities. The natural high-potency sweeteners approved in the U.S. are stevia and monk fruit extracts. Some others are FEMA GRAS, so they can be used and labeled as flavors, but may enhance sweetness. Flavor houses use some of them as sweetness modulators.

Among the criteria to keep in mind when selecting a sweetener, the primary is obviously the sweetness potency and quality. Sucrose has a clean flavor, while other natural sweeteners may have a specific taste, aroma and/or color. For example, barley malt syrup has a slightly malty, barley aroma and darker color; sweet potato concentrate has a sweet potato flavor, etc. These attributes may be beneficial or detrimental, depending on the application. Blends of sweeteners may address quality issues and help reach the potency desired, while reducing detrimental levels of off-notes or colors. Synergies among blend constituents can also make blends more cost-effective.

Another consideration related to sweetness quality is the temporal profile: how quickly is sweetness perceived from the moment the sweetener is on the tongue, and then how long until the sweetness sensation dissipates. Sugar has a relatively fast onset, but it dissipates quickly, too. In contrast, stevia extract’s onset is slower, and it lingers longer.

“Most consumers do not like remnant sweetness lingering in the mouth,” Moraru stated. “This is yet another reason to consider using sweetener blends, as their components can address the onset and later perception or lingering, respectively.”

Other physical attributes of interest depend on the application. For instance, heat stability is key in baked applications; pH stability is important in carbonated beverages; and color may be detrimental in clear beverages.

When replacing sugar, its other functionalities in the application will need to be
addressed. Some sweeteners contribute color through Maillard browning or caramelization, which can be desirable in baked goods but detrimental in other applications. Sugar and certain other sweeteners are also humectants; they help retain desirable moisture in a product. Sugar contributes body, texture and volume, and may act as a preservative, because it lowers water activity. The choice of sweeteners for a specific application will thus be driven by the functional aspects which are to be provided.

Sugar is a cost-efficient sweetener compared to most others; however, the cost-in-use should be considered when comparing options. When replacing sugar, cost may be controlled using a blend of high-potency and bulk sweeteners.

Fine-tuning sweetness can be done with modifiers that address specific issues, such as off-flavors or slow onset and lingering flavors. Flavor houses now offer a large number of modifiers, sweetness potentiators and enhancers, as well as various blockers and maskers.

In summary, a fair number of natural sweeteners are currently available, and their selection will be based on their functionality, attributes and cost, while understanding specific consumers wants. Much research is underway to better understand sweetness receptors and how this knowledge can be utilized.

“Conventional to Emerging Natural Sweeteners: Key Properties for Product Applications,” Catalin Moraru, Ph.D., Technical Manager, Covance Food Solutions,, 607-257-5129

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