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BLOG: The Magic of Turning Liquid Oils into Natural Flowable Powders

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Heap of white powder isolated on white.The Magic in Turning Liquid Oils into Natural Flow-able Powders

Oil delivery systems are commonplace when using flavors and nutrients within the food and beverage industry. However, the growing need for natural solutions is moving the conventional systems aside for more label friendly options such as Citri-Fi® citrus fiber. Not only do these consumer friendly fibers turn liquids to powder but they also improve the quality of the final food product.

Author: Nesha Zalesny (Technical Sales Manager)

The day Whole Foods publicly released a list of unacceptable food ingredients was the day when the clean label movement was born.  A very common phrase within this movement states “if it is not found in your grandmother’s pantry, you should not eat it.”  Targeted food ingredients include ingredients containing chemical sounding names or use the letter “x” in it.  For instance, xanthan gum, xeoxanthin and maltodextrin bear the brunt of this clean trend. Other examples include maltodextrin which is associated to  genetically modified corn (GMO).  Though non-corn and/or non-GMO sources of maltodextrin are available, they still must be labeled as maltodextrin. This movement affects most segments including oil delivery systems for food.

Oil Delivery System Types

The food industry uses maltodextrin, including the flavor industry which is one of the biggest advocates. Maltodextrins are a very soluble, non-sweet source of carbohydrate that also does not impart a great deal of viscosity.  Low viscosity is important in spray drying systems that turn liquid flavor or nutrient oils into powder.  Typically, to turn a fat or oil to a powder, the oil would need to be emulsified in a solution of gum Arabic.  This solution uses maltodextrin to increase solids without increasing the viscosity. Increased solids and low viscosity makes spray drying easier and more efficient. As a result, the maltodextrin becomes the carrier in the finished powder.  This entire process is energy intensive and uses ingredients that are no longer considered clean label.

Clean Label Oil Delivery System: Citri-Fi

A great alternative to spray drying is plating the flavor or nutrient oil directly onto the carrier.  There are a few carriers such as silicates that have a high surface area and can carry a significantly high oil load. Because of the clean label movement, these food ingredients fell out of favor.  Citri-Fi® 100M40 is a great alternative to chemical carriers for plating oils.  Citri-Fi is made from the fibrous material leftover from juiced citrus fruit.  This material is run through a washing process to remove flavor, and then run through a physical process that opens up the fiber.  This physical process plus milling the fiber increases the surface area.  This fiber’s natural affinity for oil makes it an ideal carrier for oil-based ingredients.  Citri-Fi 100M40 holds a 15-25% oil load depending on the oil.  On the other hand, maltodextrin can only hold about 4% when plating oils.

One of the major advantages of plating oils directly on to Citri-Fi is that this natural fiber will not only deliver the oil, but also, it will provide additional functional benefits. Citri-Fi holds 7-10 times its weight in water and stabilizes emulsions. This natural ingredient is non-GMO and non-allergenic and contributes fiber under the new FDA guidelines. Citri-Fi can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour which resonate well with the natural markets.

Coconut Fruit Smoothie plated Citri-Fi vs. Control

After 30 minutes: The control separates. The coconut oil plated Citri-Fi stays uniform with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

Natural Functional Plating: From Poultry to Fruit Smoothies

One ideal application is plating rosemary oil directly onto Citri-Fi 100M40 and using the blend in an injection marinade for poultry or pork.  Citri-Fi emulsifies and stabilizes the rosemary oil within the marinade. And the this natural ingredient will hold onto the water in the meat product which increases yield and decreases drip loss.  These functional benefits create a succulent cooked product that consumers expect.

Another great example of Citri-Fi’s multiple functionality is in a smoothie beverage. In this example, the end user needed to use coconut fat in a fruit smoothie. The coconut fat was not only to provide flavor but also known health benefits of the medium chain triglycerides common in coconut fat.  For this application, coconut oil was plated directly onto Citri-Fi 200FG. The plated fiber was then blended with protein, sweeteners and flavors to make a powdered smoothie base. Lastly, this base was added to juice and blended with ice to create a creamy, nutritious smoothie.  The Citri-Fi 200FG delivered the coconut oil, imparted a nice creamy mouthfeel and increased the stability of the smoothie. (Figure 1)