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August 2018

BLOG: Keeping Drinkable Yogurts Natural with Citrus Fiber

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Blueberry Drinkable Yogurt SmoothieNatural food trends drive the need to replace ingredients like starches, pectin and/or gums within yogurt-based products. Citri-Fi® natural citrus fiber benefits from the process by becoming more functional at very low usage levels to provide the desired texture and mouthfeel in drinkable yogurts.

Author: Nesha Zalesny (Technical Sales Manager)

Drinkable Yogurt Market

Drinkable yogurts have been on the market for years. However, recently in the U.S. markets, these dairy products experienced a spike in popularity. Manufacturers use drinkable yogurts as a novel vehicle to deliver healthy ingredients such as probiotics and protein. Kefir, which is a slightly fizzy drinkable yogurt, experienced a resurgence in popularity.  There are two different forms of drinkable yogurts – live active cultured (LAC) yogurt and alternatively, UHT treated drinkable yogurt for shelf stability. This article focuses on (LAC) style drinkable yogurts.

In many countries, drinkable yogurt falls under the yogurt umbrella. As a result, this type of yogurt has a standard of identity. Depending on the country, yogurt cannot contain stabilizers. If this is the case, manufacturers need to work closely with their culture house to develop yogurt cultures that consistently resist sedimentation and graininess.

Clean Label Functional Fiber Alternative

In countries where stabilization is allowed, high methoxyl (HM) pectin is the stabilizer of choice.  Many U.S. manufacturers also add corn starch, both modified and unmodified, and/or locust bean gum for mouthfeel and fat replacement.  Pectin is used at about 0.6% with starches at 1-2% and locust bean gum at 0.1%.  Pectin on its own tends to not have enough mouthfeel, so starches or locust bean gum are mostly used to enhance the texture. Depending on the geographic region, these types of ingredients have fallen out of favor due to clean label and/or sustainability trends. Some manufacturers are reducing the number of ingredients in yogurts to keep declarations simple and transparent. However, there are clean label alternatives available.

Citri-Fi natural citrus fiber is made from the fibrous material of the citrus fruit after it has been juiced.  It is washed with water, most of which is recycled back to the juicer, run through a physical process, dried and milled.  It is approximately 80% fiber, half of which is soluble, and the rest is insoluble.  The soluble fiber is mostly HM pectin.  Because of this, Citri-Fi is uniquely able to be used to replace or supplement the traditional pectin system for additional mouthfeel.  The pectin that is latent to Citri-Fi stabilizes the protein and the insoluble cellulose and hemicellulose to add mouthfeel. For drinkable yogurts, Citri-Fi 100FG or Citri-Fi 100M40 can be used at use levels of 0.1-0.3%. Use levels will be somewhat dependent on protein levels and desired finished mouthfeel.

Processing Perks using Citrus Fiber

Generally, the gum system is incorporated into the milk prior to culturing.  The stabilizing blend is mixed in with any other dry ingredients and then the milk is homogenized, pasteurized and cultured.  There is a company that recommends creating a pasteurized HM pectin solution which is blended with cultured yogurt and then homogenized and packed off.  This process homogenizes the yogurt twice which can be problematic for traditionally set up dairies. Moreover, some strains of bacteria and stabilizers would not survive the high pressure and high shear of this type of system.

Incorporating Citri-Fi is similar to the pectin system.  Citri-Fi is blended with any other dry ingredients and then added to the milk.  The milk is pasteurized, homogenized, cultured, flavored and packed off.  Homogenization shear is Citri-Fi’s friend. High pressure homogenization opens the citrus fiber further to provide additional functionality. As a result, this natural ingredient is highly functional at low usage levels. Its unique structure – the soluble and insoluble fiber that form the backbone of the particle – gives its exceptional functionality. Citri-Fi can be used to replace pectin in drinkable yogurts for protein stabilization. It can also be added in addition to yogurt to replace modified starches or locust bean gum for mouthfeel.

Other Citri-Fi Citrus Fiber Benefits

Pectin is a highly refined product that is not sustainably produced.  It uses a lot of water and is refined with strong acids and bases that strip the soluble fiber from the insoluble fiber. Citri-Fi is a sustainably sourced functional fiber that can be used in a wide variety of acidified dairy and non-dairy applications.

Typically, the starch used in these beverages is modified corn starch.  It is difficult to source non-GMO and label friendly starches that stand up to the processing conditions (e.g. heat, shear and pH) of yogurt production.  Citri-Fi is non-GMO, clean label and is labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour. This natural ingredient has no e-number or chemical sounding names on the label nor is it standardized with maltodextrin or sugar. In sugar reduced yogurt applications, Citri-Fi contributes less than half the calories per gram of sugar unlike starches.

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Fiberstar partners with Batory Foods to expand sales across Western US (Food Ingredients First)

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Berry crepesFiberstar, Inc. has signed a distribution agreement with Batory Foods effective July 1, 2018. Over the years, Fiberstar added capacity, introduced new Citri-Fi products and entered into new categories. To increase the sales momentum and to penetrate the food and beverage market, Fiberstar has partnered with Batory Foods.

“Batory Foods has an excellent track record within the food and beverage market,” says John Haen, President and CEO of Fiberstar. “We are pleased to have Batory Foods as our Western Distributor. They will complement our specialty ingredient business and provide us the additional sales bandwidth.”

Fiberstar sells Citri-Fi, a natural fiber produced from citrus fruit. The patented process opens up the fiber to create a high surface area which lends itself to high water holding capacity and emulsification properties. This natural fiber contains both insoluble and soluble fiber with high amounts of pectin which “makes this fiber one of the best, functional fibers on the market.”

According to Haen, Fiberstar has had limited emphasis on the US in the past. “Over the last five years, the company focused on the Midwest and Eastern US with partial coverage in the west. We have been aware of the untapped opportunities on the West Coast. Expanding presence in this region was the next step to growing the business.”

“There is a plethora of food, beverage and pet companies in the Western US that have product lines fit for our Citri-Fi natural, functional citrus fiber. These areas include meats, bakery, beverage, sauces, dressings, nutrition and pet companies to name a few,” he tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Batory Foods has a track record of selling a variety of ingredients especially specialty fibers like Citri-Fi to the US food and beverage industry. “Their team is excited to add Citri-Fi to their portfolio so that it gives their customers another natural, label-friendly solution. Both companies foster entrepreneurial cultures that complement the business strategy and go-to-market,” notes Haen.

There has been an increase in Citri-Fi citrus fiber demand for several reasons. Haen believes that the clean label movement caused many ingredients to come under scrutiny. “Some of these ingredients include starches, gums and emulsifiers. Product developers are searching for label-friendly alternatives that provide similar functionality,” he says.

Citri-Fi is created from a chemical-free process that opens up the fiber to increase the surface area. This surface area lends itself to high water holding capacity and emulsification properties similar to other hydrocolloids. As a result, product developers can use this natural citrus fiber to replace certain starches, gum and emulsifiers in various food products such as meats, bakery, beverages, sauces and dressings.

“The key here is that Citri-Fi can hold onto the water and oil in most harsh food processing conditions such as heat, freeze/thaw and shear. Other ingredients leech water after being subjected to such processes which negatively impacts the food product’s quality. Citri-Fi can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour which resonates well with the clean label markets,” Haen explains.

Other reasons include its non-GMO and non-allergenic status. Many companies are moving toward sourcing non-GMO ingredients. Moreover, the allergen-free segment is always scouting for ingredients to improve the product quality. “We work with several gluten-free companies to improve texture and nutrition within their product lines. Lastly, the plant-based trend is also supporting Citri-Fi’s growth since this natural fiber is derived from citrus fruit,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Fiberstar has recently invested US$12,000,000 in manufacturing facilities to support supply demand from current and new customers for the next few years. The company has made the respective investments to secure raw materials in anticipation of significant growth for the years to come, according to Haen.

Fibers that qualify as fiber under the new FDA guidelines will always be in demand due to the fiber fortification market. “However, some manufacturers are trying to reduce the number of ingredients on their labels, so they are seeking multi-functional ingredients including fibers,” he continues. “Fibers, like Citri-Fi, provide higher levels of functionality compared to fortifying fibers. For instance, Citri-Fi traps oil and water tightly to improve product stability during harsh food processing conditions. As a result, texture and quality are improved over shelf life. And because Citri-Fi qualifies as a fiber under the new FDA guidelines, formulators can claim fiber on the nutritional labeling.”

Three product lines in the portfolio include the 100 series (native citrus fiber), 200 series (citrus fiber co-processed with guar gum) and the 300 series (citrus fiber co-processed with xanthan gum). The 200 and 300 series are useful in applications requiring additional viscosity.

Because Citri-Fi can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour, and is approved for use in many meat and poultry applications, it resonates well within the clean label market. This natural fiber can replace starches, gums, emulsifiers and chemical stabilizers, depending on the application. In addition, this natural fiber is non-GMO and allergen-free and the 100 product line requires no E-number labeling.

By Elizabeth Green

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BLOG: Plant-Based Beverages: An Untapped Opportunity for Natural, Functional Fibers (Part 2)

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Hazelnut, oat and almond plant-based milksCitri-Fi natural citrus fiber’s ease of use and superior functional benefits within beverages like juices, RTD, plant-based drinks and powdered mixes makes this an ideal solution versus other hydrocolloids and/or stabilizers on the market.

Author: Nesha Zalesny, Fiberstar Technical Sales Manager


Citri-Fi® Benefits versus Other Stabilizers/Texturants

Citri-Fi is a natural citrus fiber created from a patented process free from chemicals. The process opens up the fiber to create high surface area which provides high water holding capacity and emulsification properties. In some beverage applications, Citri-Fi is used in conjunction with gellan gum. This natural fiber’s tight oil and water holding prevents separation over shelf life and the gellan matrix provides the excellent suspension properties which maintains the high quality in beverages.

In a gellan-based system, Citri-Fi is a great alternative to locust bean gum and acacia gum. This natural citrus fiber provides the emulsion properties and creamy mouthfeel without the price volatility affecting the other two gums.

Citri-Fi has several advantages over other texturizers. The first is labeling. Citri-Fi labelling includes citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour. This natural fiber is non-GMO and produced free from chemicals unlike some of the other hydrocolloids on the market. Because Citri-Fi is processed using only water, most of which is recycled back into the juicing industry, this natural ingredient tells a good sustainable story.

Secondly, Citri-Fi provides a natural mouthfeel and body to beverages. The mouth is actually one of the most sensitive instruments for measuring viscosity. Studies have shown that most people can sense a viscosity difference of less than 10cP; as a result, mouthfeel is a crucial aspect to most beverages. Citri-Fi is a particle, not a long chain hydrocolloid, so it has a much shorter, very natural mouthfeel. I like to think of it as a cotton ball. This 3D structure is how Citri-Fi delivers a drag viscosity that is very different from the viscosity delivered by other gums. Gums tend to have a slimy mouthfeel even at the low usage level.

Finally, Citri-Fi is a natural emulsifier. A lot of non-dairy milks suffer from a lack of creaminess that dairy milk drinkers expect. Because Citri-Fi tightly traps water and oil, this natural fiber will emulsify any added fat formulators may want to add to give that creamy mouthfeel. Formulators could potentially make a non-dairy milk with similar fat levels as dairy milk while still achieving a clean label.

Citri-Fi Functional Mechanism: How it Works

Citri-Fi is comprised of the natural pectin, cellulose, hemicellulose and protein native to the citrus fruit. These components have hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties. The mechanical process used to make Citri-Fi opens the fiber up, exposing a lot of surface area for binding sites which attract both oil and water. The oil coats the surface of the fiber binding to the hydrophobic sites, while the hydrophilic sites bind water. As a result, Citri-Fi forms very stable emulsions that do not break over time.

Using Citrus Fiber in Non-Dairy Beverages

Citri-Fi use levels can be as low as 0.1% for a very light mouthfeel to 0.5% for a thicker mouthfeel. If there are dry ingredients available to blend, we recommend dry blending Citri-Fi with the dry ingredients and processing normally. Citri-Fi is thermo-stable, so it can be processed using traditional HTST or UHT methods. We recommend high-pressure homogenization to open the fiber even further and make the most of the surface area. This will provide a significant increase in both oil and water holding. As a result, this can create thicker textures and increased stability over time.

If no other dry ingredients are available, we recommend using a coarser mesh size and high shear in the batching tank with possibly an induction funnel to incorporate the fiber slowly into the liquid. Citri-Fi functions similarly to other hydrocolloids in that it begins to hydrate the moment it encounters water. This makes forming fish eyes fairly easy with finer mesh material. The larger particles have less surface area to bind water during initial batching, but once it is homogenized, it functions the same as a finer mesh particle. Technical service can help formulators select the best grind size for their manufacturing equipment.

Other Beverage Applications

Citri-Fi is a great clean label stabilizer for many beverages. It can be used in dry mix beverages such as high protein meal replacement shakes as the sole stabilizer. At higher levels, it can be used to both stabilize the shake and make a fiber claim. It can be used as a flavor carrier in citrus-based beverages by plating the flavor oil directly on to Citri-Fi, then blending this with the other dry ingredients.

Citri-Fi can be used in RTD beverages as well. As mentioned previously, this functional fiber can be used to replace locust bean gum  or gum Arabic in gellan gum blends.  Citri-Fi is a natural emulsifier which makes it an ideal replacement for these gums, especially when fat is present. Historically, price volatility does not affect this natural fiber compared to other gums on the market.

Citri-Fi can also be used as partial pulp replacement in nectar type beverages. Some of the tropical fruits can be rather expensive to use. Replacement of some of this pulp with citrus pulp while still maintaining the organoleptic properties of the beverage is an area where Citri-Fi excels. This holds true for vegetable-based juices or cocktail mixers as well.

Citri-Fi is an ideal ingredient for beverage systems because of its multifunctionality.  It adds a nice natural mouthfeel to juices and non-dairy milk systems.  It emulsifies fat so formulators can add a small amount of healthy fat into non-dairy milk to add creaminess and health benefits. It is a sustainably sourced and processed material that does not experience price volatility like other gums.

For more information, please contact Fiberstar’s technical service manager –