Monthly Archives

March 2018

BLOG: Effects of Citri-Fi® Citrus Fiber on Baking Soda in Bakery

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Sweet Breads or Bakery Products

“Does Citri-Fi’s acidity set off the baking soda too early in bakery products?”

In the baking world, leavening systems can be key in creating quality crumb, loaf volume, and desirable organoleptic properties. Leavening systems, both chemical and biological, can be impacted by other ingredients in the formulation which can be detrimental to the overall product quality. In this case, the Fiberstar team was tasked to answer the question “Does Citri-Fi’s acidity set off the baking soda too early in bakery products?”

A fully dried sample of Citri-Fi 100 and the method “Neutralizing Value of Acid Reacting Materials” AACC International Method 02-32.02 were used to determine the neutralizing value of Citri-Fi.

The results indicated that Citri-Fi has a neutralizing value of 2.0 and was very slow to react. Thus we conclude that Citri-Fi does not have sufficient strength in its acidity to set off the baking soda too early in baked good production. Compared to other sources of acid listed in the table of common neutralizing values below (Finnie and Atwell; Wheat Flour Handbook; 2016), Citri-Fi’s score of 2.0 is nearly negligible.

For more information, please contact R&D at

Common Acidulant (Neutralizing Value) 

Cream of Tartar (45)

Monocalcium Phosphate Monohydrate (80)

Anhydrous Monocalcium Phosphate (83.5)

Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (72)

Sodium Aluminum Pyrophosphate (100)

Sodium Aluminum Sulfate (100)

Dicalcium Phosphate Dihydrate (33)


— Author: Dr. Kurt Villwock (Ph.D.)

Fiberstar Announces the Winners from the 2nd Citrus Fiber Student Innovation Contest

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Fiberstar’s global innovation contest provides University students around the world an opportunity to create new uses for Citri-Fi 125, a natural citrus fiber used in the food and beverage industry for high water holding capacity and natural emulsification properties.

Fiberstar, Inc. a global market leader in clean label food ingredient solutions for the food and beverage industry announced the winners to the 2nd Citri-Fi 125 Student Innovation Contest. Citri-Fi 125, a natural, non-GMO citrus fiber is one of the most recent additions to the Citri-Fi portfolio. To find new uses for this natural citrus fiber, Fiberstar launched a global innovation contest targeting University students. This contest focused not only on food applications, but also industrial applications as well. Over 50 applicants, globally, submitted a proposal in how to use the Citri-Fi 125.

“We are pleased that the program’s submission rate doubled this year. Many talented students globally created novel and innovative uses for this natural ingredient.” says Fiberstar, Inc. President and CEO, John Haen. “We will continue to support University food & industrial science programs by offering students opportunities to create natural ingredient solutions for the real world.”

A panel of judges ranked the students’ applications based on originality of concept, justification/market need, ingredient commercial feasibility, technical feasibility and quality of their report. A total of $30,000 was awarded to the six winning proposals in addition to the $5,000 presented to the top industrial application. The following winning teams and applications are:

1st Place: Citri-Fi 125 to improve hummus. Kansas State University (Yuda Ou, Yizhou Ben Ma, Jingwen Xu) Citri-Fi 125 enhances texture, reduces syneresis and increases profitability of hummus.

2nd Place: Nashville-style hot chicken sauce. Ohio State University (Elliot Dhuey, Yuko Nishikawa, Amanda Sia, Megan Kesler, Rachel Chen) Citrus fiber functionalities enhance flavor and rheological properties to improve cling and spice usage in sauces.

3rd Place: C-Nut Butter. University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Weipeng Qi , Jinning Liu, Yuejia Xu, Yiren Yue, Yanqi Qu, Ye Peng) A homemade peanut butter with high dietary fiber and low-fat content.

4th Place: Novel application of Citri-Fi 125FG to enhance shelf life of fresh meat. University of Wisconsin, Stout (Paige Elfering, Reddy Medagam, Sarah Keute, Erica Zalk, Emily Lehmann, Jozie MaClelland, Srikanth RR, Arpit Jain)

5th Place: Citri-Fi 125 is used as a natural coating to yield health improvement in French fries. Wageningen University (Miss Panitnart Kanjanatiwat, Miss Chunyi Yan, Mr. Gérault-Landry Aubry Baudouin Gauvin Nazaire Jonathan Maximilien Eggermont, Mr. Onkar Pratik) Citri-Fi 125 helps to reduce acrylamide level in French fries.

6th Place: Development of a novel whey cheese enriched with citrus fiber using the market name “Oran-Cheese”. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Athanasios Nikolaidis, Thomas Moschakis, Prodromos Prodomidis, Marios Andreadis)

1st Place for Industrial Application: Use of Citri-Fi Fiber as thickener to replace carboxymethyl cellulose in paper coatings. North Carolina State University (Preeti Tyagi, Michael Joyce). The citrus fiber improves quality and provides potential cost savings.

Fiberstar also offers other citrus fiber solutions via the 100 series line which contains different fiber content than the 125 series, the 200 series which is citrus fiber and guar gum and the 300 series which is the citrus fiber and xanthan gum. The Citri-Fi citrus fiber product lines provide food manufacturers clean label texturizing solutions for various food products including bakery, beverages, dressings, meats, sauces and dairy.

“Being a leader in the natural products market, we are excited to add new innovative solutions to our portfolio of applications. Our team will continue working closely with our Customers to provide superior technical service support, quality product and new ideas especially those generated from the most recent innovation contest. And we look forward to connecting with Universities and students in the future to continue the collaboration.”

For more information about the Innovation Contest applications, please contact Dr. Brock Lundberg at (651) 271-0328

Creative cookies get thinner, healthier and offer innovative flavors (Snackfood & Wholesale Bakery)

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Boosted nutrition, fewer calories and innovative flavors lead current cookie innovations.

(Melissa Kvidahl)

In a retail landscape that demands that snacks and baked goods have it all—great taste, affordable pricing, innovative flavors, recognizable ingredients and boosted nutrition—one category in particular is rising to the challenge: cookies.

While Oreos and Chips Ahoy still maintain a captive audience, the cookie category is seeing strong differentiation. Cookie brands are offering new takes on tried-and-true recipes to add innovative and healthier options to the mix.

According to data from IRI, Chicago, sales of cookies were up 1.76 percent in the 52 weeks ending March 19, 2017, reaching $8.2 billion. Mondelez International still leads the pack, responsible for $3.1 billion in sales. Private label saw a strong performance, up 6.29 percent to $1.2 billion, and Pepperidge Farm was up 5.92 percent to reach $391 million. Top-performing brands included Nabisco BelVita, which grew 14.28 percent to reach $303.2 million in sales; Nabisco Oreo Thins, up 76.96 percent to reach $127.0 million; and Pepperidge Farm Milano, up 9.91 percent to reach $151.0 million.

“We see handheld treats as a trend,” explains John McIsaac, vice president of strategic business development, Reiser, Canton, MA. “Some years, bars or muffins are hot. Cookies have always been a staple, but the growth of many niche bakers has made cookies hot again.”

Artisan appeal
If you ask Theresa Lancaster, marketing manager, McCormick Flavor Solutions, Hunt Valley, MD, one of the main drivers influencing new ingredients and flavors in the cookie space is the craft movement. “Cookies that are less uniform in appearance with imperfections are being sought, as they have a homemade appeal,” she says.

And from that trend, others grow: Lancaster says that flavors inspired by artisan and rustic ingredients, which lend a unique or romantic touch, are growing in popularity. She cites flavors like apple cider, sage and molasses as on the rise, since they deliver a “rustic and comforting experience.”

Creating a homemade-inspired cookie begins with ingredients that consumers recognize from their own pantries. That’s why Lancaster says forward-trending ingredients like coconut oil, dark chocolate and whole grains, as well as classic natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, are all making waves in the cookie aisle.

At Baker Perkins Inc., Grand Rapids, MI, Mark Glover, account manager, sees familiar ingredients like oats, peanut butter, nuts, raisins and chocolate chips as on trend, since consumers want to “eat less, but eat better.”

The key is that cookies are no longer seen as a “kid-only,” after-school snack. “There’s an emerging market for cookies with more adult-like appeal, featuring value-added nutritional ingredients such as protein, nuts, fruits, seeds, spices and especially chocolate,” says Pam Stauffer, global marketing programs manager, Cargill, Minneapolis. “Growing consumer awareness of ingredients such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger also provide more exotic and nuanced flavor profiles that make the extra calories worth it for a special occasion.”

Opportunities exist for cookie brands to tap into new and exciting flavors that appeal to adults who want a little something different from their childhood cookie. Lancaster says that “complex and layered flavor experiences” combine the sweet hallmark of cookies with something a bit out of the box. The result? Sweet and salty flavors (like salted caramel) as well as sweet heat options (like coconut and ginger).

Building a better cookie
When discerning consumers raise the bar, they often do so by demanding some kind of health benefit, even in an indulgent category like cookies. And, mirroring trends in the snack and nutritional bar category, protein is leading the way, appealing to “fitness lovers, athletes, lower-carb dieters and people looking to use a cookie as a meal replacement,” says Jill Motew, founder, Zemas Madhouse Foods, Highland Park, IL. She recommends using protein-rich quinoa or whey in these next-generation cookies.

“While it may have started as a niche market, in recent years, the high-protein trend has gone decidedly mainstream,” says Stauffer. “Consumers will continue to buy traditional high-protein shakes and bars, but opportunities also exist for innovative bakers to capitalize on the trend.” She suggests pea and soy protein as top ingredient contenders for cookies.

Expanding the ingredient range even further, Nesha Zalesny, technical service manager, Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, WI, says combinations of high-protein flours—from almond to coconut, or even garbanzo bean flours—are where opportunities lie, since they can increase protein content and also replace wheat flour in some recipes.

Along these lines, nuts and nut butters check two boxes in that they provide protein content, but also are recognizable on the label. “Nuts are considered a healthy natural source of protein, and with the increased consumer demand for protein, companies are exploring alternative nut butters like almond and cashew butter as innovative cookie ingredients,” adds Lancaster.

In addition to protein, fiber is also in the spotlight, especially since consumers understand the obesity epidemic, says Zalesny. People want more nutritional snacks that help them feel fuller longer. Fiberstar offers Citri-Fi natural citrus fiber, which can hold seven to ten times its weight in water due to its high surface area, and can maintain the fresh-baked quality of cookies over their shelf life.

Cargill offers Oliggo-Fiber chicory root fiber to meet demand for fiber. The ingredient also allows for sweetener reduction—another important trend transforming cookies.

“We are seeing a strong interest in invert cane syrup and organic evaporated cane syrups, as companies are removing high-fructose corn syrup to meet non-GMO requirements,” adds Jim Kappas, vice president of sales and marketing at Malt Products Corp., Saddle Brook, NJ.

The bottom line is that by adding ingredients like grass-fed whey protein, omega-3s and fiber, cookies can compete directly with nutritional bars, says Lancaster, which opens the category up to new consumers and aligns the cookie category with the better-for-you trend while still delivering on indulgence.

Indulgence light
It’s not that consumers don’t want an indulgent cookie from time to time. Zalesny sees opportunities for growth in product line extensions that co-brand or incorporate cookies into other categories like confectionery. “Cookies are also being used in other categories like ice cream, yogurt, breakfast bars or cereal as an inclusion,” she points out. “This indulgence category is competing with other sweet snacks that have grown in prevalence over the past few years.”

Look no further than cake-inspired cookies—boasting flavors like red velvet, lemon, or birthday cake, complete with sprinkles—for evidence of this, as manufacturers try to capitalize on the cupcake trend. For example, Flowers Foods launched Mrs. Freshley’s Cake Crisps in February 2017.

To balance the indulgence factor, cookie brands are switching up their servings by offering thin cookies. “Think of it as ‘indulgence light,’” says Stauffer, citing Oreo Thins as one standout example of this trend. The cookies contain about one-third fewer calories than original Oreos.

“There has been a trend of moving from thicker or larger types of cookies to thins and minis,” says Ricardo Rodriguez, marketing manager of confectionery and bakery, Ingredion Incorporated, Westchester, IL. “Consumers are driving this trend, as they want these indulgent types of products, but without the guilt associated with larger sizes or packages.”

Several thin cookies have entered the playing field this year. Mondelez International added to its thin cookie lineup with Chips Ahoy! Thins in January. Snyder’s-Lance debuted Snack Factory Chocolate Chip Dessert Thins in March. HannahMax came out with Cookie Chips in April, offering both Sea Salt Caramel and Coconut White Chocolate varieties. Farmhouse Thin & Crispy Cookies from Pepperidge Farm also landed on shelves in April. And Mrs. Thinster’s CookieThins unveiled Key Lime Pie and Meyer Lemon flavors in May.

“The days of the giant cookie are waning as brands seek to help their customers enjoy a cookie with all the great taste they are used to, but with fewer calories and less sugar,” says Stauffer. “Cookies are undergoing a significant transformation, second only to the beverage category. The door is clearly open for innovation in the cookie category, but some rules remain unchanged: Taste will continue to be the ever-present arbiter of success. Brands will have to balance providing indulgence and great taste, while also delivering products with a solid nutrition profile.”