Today, it is the norm to see more consumers flip a food product over and sweep their pointer finger across the labeling section. Sometimes, they look to see if the list contains allergens they avoid. Or at times, the consumers examine the nutritional panel to determine its health value. However, lately, many consumers scan ingredient statements to see what they are actually ingesting. Depending on their personal views, consumers may toss some products back on the shelf. Today, many consumers look for declarations that contain a limited number of recognizable, natural ingredients.
This clean label phenomena affects most of the food categories including sauces. Some sauces such as tomato and BBQ are reformulated to replace ingredients with natural ones. Many manufacturers market these products using new lingo such as “simply” or they indicate the number of ingredients on the label which is typically less than 10. Some tomato processors explore cost savings options. One way is to extend the tomato base or solids. Various options exist in the marketplace including fibers, starches and gums. However, each one has their own pros and cons.
Citri-Fi, a natural fiber derived from citrus fruit can be used to improve the texture and labeling of sauces. The process opens up the fiber to provide high surface area which lends itself to high water holding capacity and emulsification properties. Due to the unique composition, this natural fiber is ideal for extending tomato solids or enhancing texture in tomato sauce and improving the texture and viscosity of BBQ sauce. In tomato sauces, gums create a slimy texture while starches produce a pasty one. On the other hand, Citri-Fi used at 0.3% creates hearty sauces while maintaining the red color and tomato flavor.
In BBQ sauces, some ingredients like physically modified or functional starches are touted to provide the functionality without the use of chemicals. However, these clean label products have food processing limitations. These ingredients produce limited viscosity. Citri-Fi used at 1.5% can provide high viscosity under shear conditions and is highly stable during food processing. According to sensory panels, starches tend to create a papery off-note while Citri-Fi has a clean release which allows flavors to be robust.
Citri-Fi contributes fiber and can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp and citrus flour which resonate well in the natural markets. It is non-GMO and allergen-free which makes it an ideal fiber to use when formulating clean label and/or natural foods.
–Jennifer Stephens (VP of Marketing)