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July 2018

BLOG: Plant-Based Beverages: An Untapped Opportunity for Natural, Functional Fibers (Part 1)

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plant-based smoothie milk beverages - strawberry, blueberry and bananaThe plant-based beverage market escalated due to environmental and health orientated drivers. Hydrocolloids are used to improve the texture and stability of these emerging beverages. However, not all stabilizers are created equal nor hit all the critical success factors in making a high quality product.

Author: Nesha Zalesny, Fiberstar Technical Sales Manager

Dairy Alternative Beverage Market

Various factors have fueled an explosion of growth in the non-dairy beverage market. One of the primary factors has been the significant amount of research around the environmental and health impact of consuming dairy products.  This research increased the awareness of factory farming conditions as well as the environmental impact of raising beef and dairy cows. Another factor is the nutritional information generated without the dairy council’s heavy hand and deep pockets directing research.  This research has highlighted some of the detriments of diets full of saturated fats. The combination of these findings has triggered a significant uptick in vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.  These lifestyles not only address health issues, but also environmental concerns. Another segment steering clear of dairy are those affected with lactose intolerance and/or sensitivities and dairy protein allergies. According to the National Institute of Health, a whopping 65% of the population has a reduced ability to digest lactose.1

Pros and Cons of Stabilizers in Beverages

Up until recently, formulators used a mix of iota and kappa carrageenan in dairy and non-dairy milk products. Carrageenan, especially kappa, is more suitable for milk-based systems, but is also used in dairy alternatives. This ingredient offers good suspension and some emulsification properties with a relatively low impact on mouthfeel. This means that at 0.03-0.06% carrageenan use, the beverage should have a nice light mouthfeel with a stable suspension of larger protein or cocoa particles.

Unfortunately, social media and one food blogger managed to vilify carrageenan causing consumer demand to drop. This forced most major manufacturers to pull carrageenan out of their non-dairy milks to remain competitive. The good news is that food companies do proactively listen to consumer needs and act on them. However, this is at the expense of good science. Long-term consequences occur when removing carrageenan from products. First, the market allows media to dictate rather than the science community. Secondly, a disruption in the supply chain which starts with vulnerable farmers globally puts pressure on those who rely on this commerce to support their families and communities.

The market promoted high acyl gellan gum use in these systems since the mid-1990s. However, up until recently, high cost hindered gellan gum growth. High acyl gellan suspends large particles of protein or cocoa magnificently at about 0.03% use level. Gellan gum is the only stabilizer capable of suspension without a huge impact on the mouthfeel of the beverage similar to carrageenan.

Gellan gum does have some shortcomings in that it provides no emulsion capabilities (like iota carrageenan). It also contributes an extremely clean mouthfeel where consumers expect a bit of creaminess. Gum blenders worked around the lack of emulsification and mouthfeel by creating blends of gellan with locust bean gum or gum acacia. Drought conditions in the areas where locust bean gum and gum acacia thrive cause the pricing of these gums to be volatile. Currently, the market is experiencing an upswing in pricing. Another issue may be market perception of gellan gum.  Gellan gum, a biogum, is regarded with some suspicion. At this time, the Whole Foods list contains gellan gum. For now, gellan gum is suitable for organic foods, but consumer awareness and tastes may drive change on its status.

A few manufacturers use other gums such as xanthan or guar gum or microcrystalline cellulose (MC) and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) as mouthfeel modifiers. Xanthan gum is an excellent gum for suspension of particles, but concentrations are approximately 0.25% for suspension.  At this use level, the mouthfeel would be more like a salad dressing than a refreshing light beverage.  Guar gum has similar challenges.  Generally, the MCC/CMC blends are not used as the sole stabilizer in non-dairy milks. They do tend to modify the mouthfeel of other gum blends. These stabilizers also have “chemical” sounding names like microcrystalline cellulose or carboxymethylcellulose. Historically, these ingredients helped stabilize and suspend particles in beverages and modify mouthfeel.

So what natural, functional ingredients are available now? Part 2 will highlight the benefit of using Citri-Fi®, a natural citrus fiber with excellent functional benefits in beverages.


Ingredient Round Up: June 2018 (Food Processing)

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Citrus juiceSilver dihydrogen citrate antimicrobial
Pure Control is a patented, FDA-approved, silver dihydrogen citrate (SDC) antimicrobial, offering produce processors a solution that can significantly mitigate the risk of foodborne illnesses resulting from consumption of their products. More than three years of extensive testing has shown consistent and materially significant reductions in the pathogens most frequently associated with foodborne illness outbreaks traced to processed produce (including E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria). Additionally, there are no negative organoleptic impacts resulting from its application. It’s a highly effective, non-toxic food safety solution, which is safe for both people and the environment. Produce processors typically seek a 1 log reduction in pathogens from an intervention or processing aid – Pure Control averages 3 logs, or 99.9 percent.
Pure Bioscience; El Cajon, Calif.; 619-596-8600;

Eggs complete the bowl
Bowls are a popular packaged food product currently. They offer chefs and food processors a blank canvas they can use to create their own culinary masterpieces. Whether the goal is comfort food or nouveau cuisine, it takes just one bowl, a few carefully selected fresh ingredients, and a dash of creativity to whip up a unique meal that diners can enjoy anytime, anywhere. And eggs are a critical component to most bowls. Whether the focal point or just an ingredient, they add protein, texture, flavor and color. Finish with fresh herbs or a sauce.
American Egg Board; Chicago;

Clean-label extracts defined
As the “Go Clean” movement is here to stay, the supplier unveils a line clean label extracts. Since there are no federal regulations defining “clean label” ingredients, the ingredient supplier has set its own standards, based on best practices of industry leaders in foodservice and retail. These include but are not limited to: no artificial ingredients, no synthetic chemicals, propylene glycol (pg) free, caramel color free, prop 65 free, natural/natural WONF, non-GMO project verified and organic compliant/certified. For a list of clean extracts, contact:
Flavorchem Corp.; Downers Grove, Ill.; 800-435-2867;

One plate, two test
Boost productivity with a single product that tests for both E. coli and coliform organisms. Petrifilm Plates rapid tests provide flexibility with validated performance at both ISO and FDA/BAM temperatures, and a single incubation time for both E. coli and coliform for added convenience. No complicated workflow. Each plate is ready to use — no time-consuming agar prep, no pH adjustment for matrices pH>5 and no special equipment (e.g., UV light) for enumeration. They have reliable, proven accuracy for a broad range of foods and provide a read after only 18-24 hours of incubation.
3M; St. Paul, Minn.; 888-364-3577;

Dairy cultures are rBST-free
In response to consumer preferences, all the supplier’s dairy components for producing cultures will be obtained from rBST-free sources moving forward. The company has identified reliable local sources and backup supply for rBST-free ingredients, as well as ensuring certification from all suppliers. While rBST-free had been widely available in Europe, such ingredients are now possible in North America.
DuPont Nutrition & Health; New Century, Kan.; 913-738-3673;

Fiber from citrus
Citri-Fi is a natural citrus fiber made from a process that mechanically opens up the fiber to provide high water holding capacity, emulsification and gelling properties. Its high oil loading turns liquid oils into flowable powders. It provides viscosity, mouthfeel and stabilization and is a clean-label alternative to silicas, maltodextrins, starches and spray drying.
Fiberstar; River Falls, Wis.; 303-513-4021;

Omega-3s for active consumers
A line of lipid nutrition products are uniquely designed to benefit active lifestyles. Marinol is a line of naturally concentrated omega-3 oils. They result from a proprietary, multiple purification process. They’re enzymatically treated to retain their natural structure. There is a broad range of offerings to meet each customer’s formulation needs.
Stepan Lipid Nutrition; Northfield, Ill.; 425-230-5127;

Botanicals and extracts
Several botanicals and extracts are now available under the company’s Nutritional Innovations & Solutions and Specialty Botanicals & Extracts segments. Launched at Vitafoods, the new products include three new lines. Xtracs features extracts from nature that give healthy formulations an extra advantage. Olixrs are premium botanical powders that support health and vitality. Ogments are differentiated ingredients to help boost health benefits and formulation flexibility.
OmniActive Health Technologies; Morristown, N.J.; 866-588-3629;

Lactoferrin properties
Proferrin is a native lactoferrin from cow’s milk, coming from the supplier’s French dairy cooperative. A gentle drying process enables the preservation of the powerful bioactivity of Proferrin. Its health benefits are supported by several in vitro studies, indicating: anti-microbial properties, gut health, helping to renew epithelial cells and immune response. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing the release of TNF (tumor necrosis factor), a pro-inflammatory marker.
Ingredia Nutritional; France;

Human milk oligosaccharide
A new Human Milk Oligosaccharide (HMO) ingredient (2’-fucosyllactose), has been certified for use in infant formula in both European and U.S. markets. HMOs are non-digestible carbohydrates and are the third most abundant component in human milk after lactose and fat. More than 200 different varieties have been identified in human milk, of which 2’-FL is the most prevalent. Recent clinical trials have suggested that 2’-FL plays a key role in protecting and promoting the health of newborn infants, particularly in respect to the immune system, and have shown that the addition of 2’-FL to infant formula is safe and well tolerated.
FrieslandCampina Domo; Netherlands; +31 (0) 6 525-90539;

Parker Products, a provider of inclusions and other specialty ingredients for the baking, dairy, beverage, confectionery, foodservice, and RTE and snack industries, opened a new manufacturing facility in Fort Worth in April. With three times the capacity of Parker Products’ previous location, the new 90,000-sq.-ft. facility houses all of the company’s operations and includes expanded capabilities. Real-time quality control checks and overall equipment effectiveness feedback is now available digitally from the production lines. Additionally, each production room in the new facility features a separate air handling system to prevent cross contamination. See

Reb-D and reb-M stevias
EverSweet is a zero-calorie, next-generation sweetener made with two of the best tasting sweet compounds found in the stevia leaf, rebaudioside-M and rebaudioside-D. Food and beverage companies looking to satisfy consumers’ desire for healthier food choices now can offer this zero-calorie sweetener without sacrificing great taste. Since the stevia plant produces only trace amounts of reb-M and reb D, fermentation allows for large quantities of these most sought-after sweet compounds to be commercially produced in a more sustainable way. EverSweet is produced in cooperation with Evolva.
Cargill; Minneapolis; 800-227-4455;

Orange flavor
Known for their fruity and refreshing notes, citrus flavors are suitable for a range of applications, from carbonated soft drinks to juice-based beverages to flavored waters. The entire orange flavor portfolio is a natural and versatile solution that covers orange taste profiles from single natural orange flavors up to great tasting flavor combinations.
Wild Flavors; Erlanger, Ky.; 859-342-3600;

Plant-based alertness formula
A plant-based alertness formula received a U.S. patent and is said to provide an awakening effect to counteract the post-lunch dip when fatigue, drowsiness and foggy thinking is often reported. The formula incorporates functional extracts of guarana, ginkgo biloba and elderberry, and is sweetened by a low-glycemic fruit extract. The WakeUp prototype drink recently won “Best Functional Drink” awards in Europe and the U.S. The company now has two formulas: WakeUp for dietary supplements and Rhythm for beverages.
InnoBev Ltd.; Tel Aviv, Israel; 972-352-11778;

Reduced-gluten wheat
To offer consumers reduced and gluten-free options, the GoodWheat reduced gluten wheat lines will be available by the end of the year. The gluten-free food market is estimated to grow to $7.59 billion by 2020 in the U.S. The reduced-gluten wheat lines are non-GMO and patent-pending. The company says the identity preserved specialty wheat features 75 percent less allergenic glutens and 60 percent less overall gluten content. The company expects its branded bread wheat flour available to test milling and baking ability in late 2018.
Arcadia Biosciences, Inc.; Davis, Calif.; 530-756-7077;

EU-approved grill flavorings
Grillicious, a line of grill flavorings, meets the EU directive that requires all food taste solutions meet new regulations while ensuring the same taste experience. According to the company, the product offers customers a grill flavor and can be labeled as natural. Grillicious is derived from plant-based oils, and is said to help ensure a stable price-performance ratio.
Symrise, Holzminden, Germany; +49 55 31 90-17 21;

Highly refined rosemary extract
Rosemary extracts are used to naturally extend the shelf life of food products. But their flavor, aroma and color pose challenges in their application. OxiKan CL is a highly refined antioxidant, the fully decolorized and deodorized extract of rosemary. It consists of selective non-polar anti-oxidant molecules from rosemary, without unwanted molecules such as chlorophyll, carotenoids, xanthophylls and other less oil soluble non-antioxidant molecules. It’s completely natural; has excellent oil solubility; high heat stability; and is suitable for applications that are sensitive to aroma, color and flavor — like specialty fats and omega-3-fortified products and beverages.
Kancor Mane; India; +91 484 3051100;