If foods, especially convenience foods, are to taste good, new solutions are needed
The reduction of sugar and fat in foods is a subject of intense discussion around the world. The main driver for this remains the ominous increase in obesity on all five continents, which is being linked to higher sugar and fat consumption in particular. This is especially the case for children and young people. Many countries have already implemented streetlight systems like Nutriscore, or restrictive measures like the sugar tax.
In addition to sound education and changes in eating habits, sugar- and fat-reduced products are a good way to come to grips with the problem. But sugar and fat are important flavour and texture components. If foods, especially convenience foods, are to taste good, new solutions are needed. Hydrosol has developed stabilising and texturing systems specifically for dairy products and deli foods. These include concepts for designing sugar- and fat-reduced dairy and deli products around the needs of children.
“We use carefully selected hydrocolloids and vegetable fibre to substitute for the beneficial technological properties of sugar and fat. They give the various final products a pleasant texture and familiar mouthfeel,” explains Katharina Schäfer, Team Lead Product Management Hydrosol. “In application testing we determine the ideal interplay of all the components, in order to get the desired characteristics in the final product. We use the same equipment as is commonly found in the dairy and deli foods industries. This lets us combine easy production with ideal product characteristics and nutritionally optimum formulations.”
To get the right sweetness, Hydrosol uses conventional sweeteners or products like stevia which have a positive image with consumers. Natural flavourings round out the flavour profile. Hydrosol works closely with sister company OlbrichtArom, which has developed a “sugar booster” especially for reduced-sugar products. This natural flavouring amplifies the delicate sweetness in final products without negatively influencing their characteristic flavour.
With these functional systems, dairies can make products like milk mixed beverages or milk-juice drinks. Fermented milk products like yogurt, drinking yogurt and quark desserts can likewise be readily reformulated to reduce the sugar and fat. A stabilising system makes it easy to produce puddings that are sugar-reduced, low-fat and fibre-enriched, as well as lactose-free and micronutrient-fortified. A clean label system for ice cream forms the basis for a reformulated product with 30 percent less sugar. Although the system contains no conventional emulsifiers, it still gives a final product with an especially creamy mouthfeel.
In the cheese category, Hydrosol has developed a stabilising system for “squeezable” processed cheese preparations in tubes, pouches and similar soft packaging. The declaration-friendly final product needs no melting salts or table salt. 50 percent cheese goes into the premium formulation. In the deli category the clean-label system for sugar-reduced ketchup lets manufacturers use other vegetables in addition to tomatoes. This way, vegetables can be offered in “hidden” form. A clean label system for french fry sauce likewise features nutritional benefits. For example, it can be used for formulations with high fibre content.
The targeted combination of individual building blocks like vegetable fibre, hydrocolloids, starch and emulsifiers is the recipe for success with authentic flavour and pleasing mouthfeel in products with reduced fat content. This applies to yogurt and pudding as well as cream cheese, bread spreads or vegetable fat creams, and naturally mayonnaise as well. As Katharina Schäfer says: “With the combination of different ingredient groups, like hydrocolloids, proteins and plant-based fibre, we make targeted use of the interactions between these and other substances. From our long applications experience, we know that the synergistic effects of these complexes give much better results than single ingredients. This applies to sugar and fat-reduced foods as well as other trend products, from the entry price range to premium quality."