Arla Foods Ingredients launches online egg calculator, as market volatility drives the demand for replacements

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04 Jun 2018 --- Arla Foods Ingredients has launched a new online egg calculator to assist bakery companies in determining how much they could save by using egg replacers in their cake recipes. Egg prices are going through an extended period of volatility, with a number of events in the global egg production industry having impacted on market conditions.

In 2017 and 2018, scares in the US and Europe involving Salmonella and the pesticide fipronil caused significant fluctuations in supply levels and prices. Outbreaks of avian flu in Mexico, America and Asia between 2013 and 2016 have also taken their toll, creating a highly uncertain environment for cake manufacturers in particular. 

Looking forward, there are also fears the EU could place import taxes on egg powder in 2019, which would most likely exacerbate the situation even further for bakers.

Arla Foods Ingredients, which supplies Nutrilac whey protein egg replacers, calculates that it substituted as many as 300 million eggs last year and expects to record higher levels of demand through 2018. Its latest development – an online calculator – allows bakers to see how much they could save by substituting some of the eggs they use with whey proteins.

Designed to replace up to 50 percent of the eggs in a cake recipe, Nutrilac proteins offer a natural, safe and highly functional solution to egg market volatility. They guarantee the security of supply and stable pricing, thereby delivering more significant control over raw material costs.

Furthermore, using Nutrilac egg replacers will not impact adversely on product quality, according to Arla Foods Ingredients. In fact, application tests have demonstrated that they can improve cakes in many ways: by keeping them moist and fresh for longer throughout their shelf-life and creating a crumb that is less fragile and more resilient (springy). There are also potential processing benefits, including increased stability and reduced waste, says the company. 

Aparecido Silveira, Industry Marketing Manager for Bakery at Arla Foods Ingredients, notes: “The benefits of Nutrilac whey protein egg replacers mean that bakers don’t need to put all their eggs in one basket. They can better protect themselves against the unpredictability of the global egg market and, in doing so, harness the application and quality gains that our proteins deliver.”

Silveira told FoodIngredientsFirst: “Although eggs are primarily perceived as natural and healthy, egg contamination incidents occasionally alert the public to a food safety risk. Prompt action by authorities has so far meant the actual risk to consumers is minimal. But the scandals are getting more and more space in the news and being shared in a hyperconnected world.” 

As a result, consumers are starting to have health concerns, especially when they see headlines like “Contaminated eggs: Supermarkets urgently withdraw sandwiches and salads” or “Europe’s toxic egg scandal expands to frozen waffles,” notes Silveira. 

Arla Foods Ingredients has used their knowledge of whey protein functionality to develop a range of Nutrilac solutions for 50 percent egg replacement in cake. 

“Trained sensory panels have evaluated the performance of pound cakes where 50 percent of the egg was replaced either by a whey-based Nutrilac solution or a standard whey protein concentrate (WPC),” says Silveira. “Both recipes were compared with a reference cake with 100 percent egg inclusion. Nutrilac performed better than WPC on all counts, highlighting the importance of using a tailored protein solution. The cake with Nutrilac also scored higher than the reference cake for crumb moistness, homogeneity and resilience (springiness) and for having a less fragile crumb, which supports sliceability and depanning.”

“Industrial bakers need to keep costs and quality under firm control on cake production lines. While fluctuating egg prices make costs hard to manage, loss of softness and overall appeal during shelf life can compromise consumer enjoyment,” continues Silveira. “Our trials show that bakers can solve all these challenges when they use Nutrilac whey proteins as a 50 percent egg substitute in pound cake recipes. A more price-stable ingredient, whey can reduce the impact of higher egg prices on bakery profits and improve quality at the same time. The results of the sensory panel evaluation, however, underline the need for a tailored whey protein solution as opposed to a standard WPC 80.”

“There’s no doubt that this, alongside with flexitarianism, is one of the top trends, as consumers are embracing healthier lifestyles. But regarding the bakery category, it’s early days: according to Innova Market Insights of the 38,000 cakes launched globally in the last five years, only 1 percent are positioned as vegan,” he explains.

By Elizabeth Green

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