Clean Label Solutions for Lipid Oxidation Control

Posted on:November 2, 2018
2018 CLC/Eric Decker - Clean Label Solutions for Lipid Oxidation Control

Reducing sugars can inhibit lipid oxidation and thus extend shelf life.

The chemistry of lipid oxidation is as complex as the means of defense. “You can get literally hundreds of products that are formed from oxidative reactions,” explained Eric Decker, Ph.D., Professor and Head of the Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amhurst. Rancidity, off- flavors and loss of nutrients are consequences. Formation of toxic products, such as acrolein, is driving food safety concerns. Oxidation may be controlled by removing oxygen, using metal chelators, adding antioxidants or utilizing physical properties.

One of the most important questions to ask is where do reactions occur in the food? In a bottle of oil, instinct might suggest the addition of a lipid-soluble antioxidant would be most effective. “It [is] the opposite. A polar water-soluble form [is] most effective,” said Decker. This “Antioxidant Paradox” occurs because even refined bulk oils have nano-droplets of water (e.g., 200-250ppm), as well as surfactants that associate into colloids. Oxidation reactions occur at the surface of the water droplets, like water-in-oil emulsions. Polar antioxidants are concentrated inside the water phase, where they are most effective.

“In an oil/water emulsion, the opposite is true. You want a nonpolar antioxidant. The reason for this is where the antioxidant ends up in the food product.” If a water-soluble antioxidant is put in emulsified oil, a large amount of antioxidant will go to the water portion—where it won’t be in a place that it can react with the lipid. Thus, its antioxidant activity is lost.

Tocopherols are nonpolar antioxidants that will degrade as they scavenge free radicals. Mixed tocopherols, a combination of different tocopherol homologs, “[place] antioxidants in a lot of different places in the food matrix, so they can be where the free radicals are produced,” Decker said. The downside is that there isn’t consensus as to whether tocopherols are part of a clean label solution, because of their chemical name.
Rosemary extracts are popular free-radical fighters. Different extraction technologies minimize strongly flavored terpenes and increase the amount of carnosic acid and carnosol, the main antioxidants. These extracts are versatile, because there are many molecules that have antioxidant activity and different polarity

Green tea antioxidants are in the catechin family. They are extremely water-soluble. These work in bulk oils and frying oils, but the challenge is getting them into the oil through dispersion. Some green tea extracts contain chlorophyll, a pro-oxidant. If they are used in a food that is exposed to light, it can promote oxidation. Decker recommends choosing a green tea extract in which the chlorophyll has been removed or protecting the product from light. Lipid-soluble derivatives are also available, he added.

Because they seek out different physical locations, combinations of antioxidants may be most efficacious. In some cases, an antioxidant that works very well can be re- generated by another antioxidant. Unfortunately, blends complicate the ingredient deck with multiple ingredients.

Manipulating physical properties of the food is a potent deterrent. Lipid oxidation is strongly influenced by water activity, although it’s important to find the sweet spot between limiting molecule mobility and exposing peroxides. “While there are many cases where you want to be at low water activity, this can promote oxidation,” Decker explained.

Adding sugar drops the water activity. In a cookie example, two formulations were compared, one with 1.6% glucose and one with an equal percentage of sucrose. The glucose increased the shelflife compared to the sucrose. “Because glucose is a reducing sugar, it can potentially donate a proton to the free radical and inactivate it,” said Decker. “Compared to synthetic antioxidants, such as TBHQ, BHT and propyl gallate, glucose performs close to TBHQ—the optimum antioxidant for many food products.”

Glucose is also effective in a cracker system but increased sweet- ness may not be desired. Maltose and maltodextrin also work, while contributing less sweetness. In going from a monosaccharide to a disaccharide, twice as much of the disaccharide is needed to have the same reducing equivalent. The big takeaway? “Glucose is an overlooked potential means of controlling oxidation,” added Decker. “I think glucose is an interesting antioxidant that I don’t think anyone considers.”

“Clean Label Solutions to Controlling Lipid Oxidation,” Eric Decker, Ph.D., Professor and Head of the Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amhurst

This presentation was given at the 2018 Clean Label Conference. To download free presentations and the Post-conference summary of this event, go to

Posted November 2, 2018

Ingredient Labeling, Regulatory Risk & Consumer Confidence

Posted on:
2018 CLC/Lauren Swann - Ingredient Labeling, Regulatory Risk & Consumer Confidence

When fruit and vegetable juice is used as a color additive in food, it
may be declared as “Artificial Color,” “Artificial Color Added” or “Color
Added;” or by an equally informative term that makes clear that a color
additive has been used in the food, such as “Colored with Fruit Juice” or
“Vegetable Juice Color.”

In dealing with clean food and beverage package labels, “we are really dealing with consumer perceptions,” said Lauren Swann, MS, RD, LDN, President of Concept Nutrition, Inc. This, she proposes, spells opportunity.

There is no (U.S.) government designation for what constitutes a “clean” ingredient-labeled food or beverage, but there are regulations that determine how ingredients can be listed on a package. According to the FDA, ingredient listings must use: only official or acceptable names; no trademark or brand names; no “fanciful” names; no descriptors, such as “pure,” “non-GMO,” “real,” etc.; and no geographic names, unless they are part of the common name. However, botanical origin names (e.g., cane sugar) are acceptable. And, some approved designations allow a modicum of variability (e.g., skim milk, nonfat milk). The USDA guidelines for meat and poultry products under its purview differ from those of the FDA, for example, allowing spices to be listed as “flavor,” “flavorings” or “natural flavorings.”

Consumers want ingredient label transparency and equate “healthy” with natural and minimally processed foods. However, although some ingredient label regulations apply to typically clean label products (e.g., organic), progress on other initiatives, such as requests for FDA to define “all-natural” claims, have [so far been] dead in the water, says Swann. “Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, lactose-free, allergen-free products, and even kosher and halal certification can also be associated with clean labels,” she adds.

Whereas the Federal Trade Commission’s authority over advertising tends to be more reactionary, complying with established government labeling regulations can be complex and challenging. For example, although the term “fresh” is defined by Federal regulation, pasteurized milk can be optionally claimed as “fresh,” but pasteurized fruit juices cannot.

Conversely, although non-governmentally defined terms, such as “authentic, real and simple,” can be found on product packages, caution is warranted. Vague, ill-defined terms shroud clean labels in legal ambiguities that can invite lawsuits, warned Swann.
Larger companies may sometimes have different individuals or departments responsible for developing and reviewing specific parts of food package labels. However, “I advise companies to assign one individual or department to be responsible for label review as a whole rather than in parts, to catch potential inconsistencies,” emphasized Swann, “because mandated ingredient lists must support any relevant claims.”

“I research terms very carefully to identify issues that may be risky for clients,” said Swann, beginning with the Standards of Identity (SOI) in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These, too, can appear inconsistent or confusing. But, even if there aren’t SOIs specific to a product’s formula, there are still commonly established names from long-standing industry marketplace practices that should be followed, because they represent the type of product composition that the consumer has come to reasonably expect for items bearing that name.

One can get creative to a point, such as listing a preservative’s role “to protect color,” but colors themselves can be highly problematic for “clean” labeling. The FDA views any attempt to use ingredients to affect a product’s final color as artificial.

“Let’s say that you make lemonade and add a tiny drop of cherry juice to turn it pink, yet a cherry taste is not identifiable in the finished product,” explains Swann. The cherry juice may be natural, but the FDA would consider the lemonade to have been artificially colored, because its sole function is color, and the cherry juice must be identified as “color” in the ingredient list, added Swann.

According to the FDA, incidental additives, ingredients introduced by another ingredient or non-functional processing aids can be omitted, unless they are allergenic or contribute significant nutrient value. The USDA, however, is “very fussy about ‘incidental additives’ in meat products,” considering amount and nutrient contributions along with end-product functionality for compliant label approval.

Ultimately, however, it is the consumers that decide what is legitimate. Thanks to the Internet, consumers now have ways of uncovering details about ingredients and share their findings with peers, noted Swann.

“Different consumer demographic segments look for different ingredients,” said Swann. Whereas Baby Boomers try to avoid ingredients viewed as detrimental to aging-related health issues, Millennials have other concerns. This suggests opportunities for more demographic-specific ingredient listings, Swann added.

“We know that ingredient names definitely influence purchase decisions. [One study] found that 73% of consumers polled were willing to pay a high price for products made with ingredients they recognize and trust,” said Swann. They also like to know what those ingredients do in the product. “The bottom line is, whenever you put an ingredient into a food or beverage product, consumers today expect each ingredient to provide some specific value to them,” concluded Swann.

“Ingredient Labeling Considers Regulatory Risk in Capturing Consumer Confidence,” Lauren Swann, MS, RD, LDN, President of Concept Nutrition, Inc.

This presentation was given at the 2018 Clean Label Conference. To download free presentations and the Post-conference summary of this event, go to

Consumers’ Focus on Health and Wellness Drives Clean-Labeled Product Demand

Posted on:October 29, 2018
Consumers Shift to More Healthful Ingredients

Consumers shift to natural, organic, value-added ingredients.

Consumers are very passionate about clean label issues, and clean label category segments are growing much faster than their traditional counterparts. Untapped clean-label opportunities exist in various fresh and packaged-foods categories, such as frozen pizza, luncheon meats, salad dressing, sweet goods and more.

“According to the latest Nielsen data, at least half of consumers (53%) feel that keeping the bad stuff out of food is more important than adding the good stuff,” explained A. Elizabeth Sloan, Ph.D., President, Sloan Trends, Inc. in her presentation, “You are What You Eat: New and Emerging Consumer Views of What Should be in Food.” After bacteria, the top food safety consumer issues are carcinogens and chemicals in their food. These fears outpaced concerns over antibiotics, biotech/GMOs and allergens. In 2017, 52% of consumers said they preferred foods and beverages with no artificial additives – an all-time high, and 43% of consumers stopped buying a food because of a negative story on food chemicals.

At end of 2017, one-third of all foods and beverages were clean label, and half of all shopping trips included a clean label item. In the “Diet and Nutrition” category, only 40% of products are clean label, indicating significant opportunity for category growth.
New Age beverages posted the highest absolute dollar growth for the year ending 12/09/2017, followed by healthy snacks, deli dip, health care nutritionals, crackers and frozen novelties.

Frozen products have the highest incidence of “free from” claims. Millennials are driving the growth in the frozen category, with 43% of this age demographic purchasing more frozen foods in 2017. Pizza is a $24 billion business, but only 5% of this category is clean label. Clean label is now the second most desired attribute in the beverage category for 2018. Small companies are capitalizing on the clean label category faster than medium or large companies.

Last year almost one-third of all dinners were prepared outside the home. The fastest growing segment of the foodservice market is prepared fresh foods in supermarkets.
After hormone/antibiotic-free, consumers would like to see MSG-, sulfite- and phosphate-free claims more often on their label, per Mintel.

According to the latest Euromonitor data, the global packaged food clean label market is estimated at $193 billion versus $76 billion in the U.S. “Growth of health and wellness foods is actually stronger in developing countries than in developed countries,” said Sloan.

Shifts in health and wellness behaviors are driving new opportunities given the mega trends outlined below, according to IRI.
• Consumers are purchasing for benefit as opposed to form or brand. For example, one-third of households are living a high-protein lifestyle (Note, the percentage outlook for more protein is actually 60%) and seeking more dietary protein, which can come from a variety of products including bars, cereal or snacks.
• Instant Nutritionals were the seventh fastest growing category in the U.S. In 2016, bars, beverages, meal replacements and adult nutritional products offer clean-label opportunity.
• Customers are now worried that they are not getting enough “specialty food ingredients” such as probiotics, botanicals or superfoods vs. one in five who are concerned about not getting enough basic nutrients.
• There has been a reorientation of top health concerns in the U.S. by age. The top concern used to be “heart disease,” but now “retaining mental sharpness as I age” tops the list.
• There is a new demographic of “Fit” consumers who exercise at least 3 days a week. These consumers are seeking products that deliver stronger muscles as well as brain health and are forcing the $42 billion sports nutrition market to move mainstream.
• In addition to foods, there’s also demand for more natural ingredients in over-the-counter drugs, which are also mimicking many food properties (e.g., flavors and foods forms as liquids or candy).
• There is an opportunity to provide a healthier halo for many food products by embracing processing techniques that improve the nutritional quality of their foods or position them as less processed (e.g., cold milled, fermented or use of high pressure pasteurization). Fairlife Ultra filtered Milk is one example, which is now the fastest growing among the top 10 milk brands in the U.S.
• Kid specific products are a $41 billion business. Parents are starting to prefer clean-label, kid-specific foods including toaster pastries, snack cakes and frozen pizza.
• There is growth in alternative plant-based snacks and beverages. Eight in 10 would purchase more plant-based snacks if they were fortified.

The primary reasons that people more actively embrace health and nutrition are because they have kids at home, they’re getting older, have a new condition or are feeling tired/rundown. And, while trends in more healthful, clean label products is on the rise, many untapped opportunities for new product development exists in a wide range of food and beverage categories.

“You are What You Eat: New and Emerging Consumer Views of What Should be in Food,” A. Elizabeth Sloan, Ph.D., President, Sloan Trends, Inc.

This presentation was given at the 2018 Clean Label Conference. To download free presentations and the Post-conference summary of this event, go to

Sugar Reduction Approaches

Posted on:September 7, 2018

Susan Mayer, MS, CFS, Innovation Advisor with RTI International, Research Triangle, NC, in her 2017 Sweetener Systems Conference Presentation
Click to Enlarge

Many questions are raised before innovation begins in a process such as sugar reduction, including: How do you grow in emerging markets? How do you get smart from the beginning? What features should you include? What products will let you compete? How can we lean on local partners but assure quality? Susan Mayer, MSc, CFS, Innovation Advisor with RTI International, discussed these questions as she began her presentation titled “An Innovative Approach to Sugar Reduction.”

Anchoring her presentation on an approach by RTI International, she explained that the non-profit research institute uses a Desirability Feasibility Viability (DFV) Framework to identify intersections at which innovation is found, as it provides solutions across the supply chain and frames the challenge throughout the innovation process.

During the Desirability phase, the needs of the end-user and customer are understood. The product may be sold to a customer, who may not be the ultimate consumer, thus leading to the following: What are the perceived real benefits for the customer and the user? What drives purchase decisions for products?

In looking at Feasibility, what are physical, biological, contextual and environmental requirements? In early development stages, you’re looking a little more broadly than simply whether you can make the product in your plant. How can you learn from others who have made something similar? Also, how might products, partners and expertise be leveraged? Viability involves identification of the market opportunity and business model to grow and scale an innovation. That is, ask yourself who the consumer is and what do they want? What is the consumer willing to pay? Can you make it? Should you make it? Will the new product give you a unique advantage over the competitor, or is the new product going to cannibalize an existing product?

In looking specifically at sugar reduction, understanding the Desirability challenges requires understanding what aspects or definitions of “sugar reduction” are important to consumers. Consumers may associate certain brands with higher sugar, which may open the pathway for a new brand, perhaps with emerging ingredients. Those wanting lower grams of sugar might be satisfied with small-er serving or package sizes.

Consumers wanting “no added sugar” may give rise to products made with fruit flavors, which are often provide by sweet flavor and sweet-related taste. Products made with ingredients providing perceived-to-be- healthy benefits a long with sweetness may include the addition of fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) that can be labeled as probiotics, or those containing fiber, such as inulin. Consumers may simply want reduced sugar—requiring bulk replacement, plus other formula adjustments to maintain taste and texture.

In considering Feasibility, the product developer must deter-mine whether the product is manufacturable and where it can be made. If the equipment isn’t available, can more equipment be leased, or can the product be co-packed elsewhere? Food safety and stability are also critical and must be addressed.

At the Viability stage, the question becomes: Should we make this? Can ingredients, packaging and the process be adjusted so the product’s viable cost meets the price point? In addition, can the product get from production to distribution to the consumer at the desired shelflife?

For example, in assessing the DFV Framework of a product such as Wella Chilled Organic Protein Bars (see sidebar “Eight Sweeteners, One Anti-Sweetener”), there are challenges in all aspects, including the target market, product texture and market competition. Is the product meeting consumer needs? Can the product be placed where they want or expect to find it? The refrigerated protein bars claim of “wild flower honey” listed on the front of the package may appeal to consumers who prefer high- end honey products.

Applying Framework balance is key. Take smart, early steps; “fail fast,” then adjust, suggests Mayer. Leverage partners to fill skill or resource gaps. The DFV Framework allows the product developer to look at things more objectively. Are the pieces balanced or is more emphasis placed in one direction more than another?

Ultimately, consumers will decide what is desirable, but the product has to be feasible and the business must be viable to achieve success.

“An Innovative Approach to Sugar Reduction,” Susan Mayer, MS, CFS, Innovation Advisor with RTI International, Research Triangle, NC

Polyols: Properties, Trends & Labeling

Posted on:September 5, 2018

Peter Jamieson, MSc, Principal and Food Scientist, Atlas Point Technical Services in his 2017 Sweetener Systems Conference Presentation
Click to Enlarge

“Sugars can be classified as monosaccharides, disaccharides or mixtures, such as corn syrup. The key to using polyols for sugar reduction is to select a polyol with similar structure and functional properties as the sugar that you are replacing,” said Peter Jamieson, MSc, Principal and Food Scientist, Atlas Point Technical Services, in his presentation “On Trend Ingredients: Polyols Properties, Labeling & Emerging Areas of Interest.”
Sucrose is the gold standard, because it is the sweetener to which other sugars are most often compared. Sucrose has unique properties, including its sweetness profile, solubility, melting point characteristics and crystallization characteristics. “Trying to replace sucrose is challenging, but polyols or sugar alcohols work well,” said Jamieson.

Polyols are metabolized differently than traditional sugars and carbohydrates. They have a lower glycemic response, lower calories and are also non-cariogenic. Polyols also provide excellent bulk, whereas high-potency sweeteners do not, so polyols can typically be used as a one-for-one replacement for other sweeteners in traditional foods.

Glucose has a reactive aldehyde group. The polyol sorbitol is similar in structure, but the aldehyde has been replaced by a hydroxyl group. This change makes sorbitol no longer recognized as a sugar for nutrition labeling. Replacing traditional sweeteners with polyols can enable products to make nutritional claims, including “no sugar added,” “reduced sugar” or “sugar free.”

Monomers with a single carbohydrate unit (e.g., glucose and fructose) include sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and erythritol. Dimers with two carbohydrate units (e.g., sucrose and maltose) include maltitol, lactitol s and isomalt. Mixtures include maltitol syrup and polyglycitol syrups. Polyols with more than 50% maltitol are called “polyglycitol syrups” and function more like high-DE corn syrups.

Polyols are caloric sweeteners. For example, maltitol has 2.1 calories per gram. They are “carbohydrates,” but they are not recognized as “sugars” or “added sugars” on the nutrition panel. You must call them out in the nutritional panel as “sugar alcohols” when making a sugar claim.

Jamieson explained some of the physical characteristics of polyols. Polyols are non-reactive and very stable at high temperatures. Polyols do not react with colors, flavors or actives. They do not participate in Maillard browning, which can be either a positive or negative attribute, depending on the application.

Generally, polyols have a negative heat of solution, so energy is being absorbed, resulting in a cooling sensation. Erythritol has a heat of solution of -42, compared to sucrose with a -4. When replacing sugar in chocolates, too much erythritol can make milk chocolate taste like mint chocolate.

Solubility in water is a key attribute that affects performance in baked goods, confectionery, beverages and variegates. Polyols have a wide range of solubility. Sorbitol is very soluble and is often used as a humectant. In contrast, mannitol is not very soluble.

Molecular weight of polyols affects viscosity in confection; freeze point depression in ice creams; and starch gelatinization point in baked goods. When replacing sucrose with a molecular weight of 342, good choices would be maltitol or isomalt, which both have a similar molecular weight.

Relative sweetness is important, especially as companies are tending to minimize use of high-potency sweeteners. Note that xylitol has the same sweetness as sucrose, while lactitol is only 40% as sweet.

Polyols are part of the family of low-digestible carbohydrates (LDC) that also includes polysaccharides, resistant starches and rare sugars. Rare or low digestible sugars include allulose, tagatose and isomaltulose. All LDCs have some degree of impact on the digestive tract. Some have an effect on osmotic laxation, while others impact fermentation by microflora in the GI. Individuals have different responses to LDCs and can adapt to increased levels of LDC in the diet.

A current trend is to focus on sugar reduction, rather than total sugar replacement. The goal should be to deliver a good eating experience.

“On Trend Ingredients: Polyols Properties, Labeling & Emerging Areas of Interest,” Peter Jamieson, MSc, Principal and Food Scientist, Atlas Point Technical Services

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