Tetra Pak unravels the complexities of mayonnaise production

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06 Sep 2017 --- Navigating the mayonnaise maze can be tricky for food developers – that’s why Tetra Pak has come up with its latest white paper to highlight the complexities of production and guide manufacturers on how to get quality products to the market as quickly as possible. 

Following on from Tetra Pak’s white paper Navigating the mayonnaise maze: Taking the guesswork out of production, FoodIngredientsFirst spoke with the food processing giant to learn more.

Hans Henrik Mortensen is a mixing and food processing specialist at Tetra Pak with almost 20 years’ experience developing technologies and solutions for food processing. His technical expertise areas include mixing and blending, fluid dynamics, mechanical engineering and design of machinery.

One of his most recent projects was to develop a new mixing solution for optimal processing of mayonnaise and emulsified sauces.

Mortensen tells FoodIngredientsFirst that one of the first aspects of mayonnaise production is the sheer scope of applications. Because it’s used as a spread on sandwiches and burgers, the creamy base in cold salads, a dip for French fries and so much more, for every application, consumer preferences for taste, texture and appearance vary considerably and are highly dependent on country and region.

Quality parameters 
“As a result, the mayonnaise variants in production are numerous. Add the web of local codes for naming, labeling and formulation and throw in ever-changing consumer trends and the challenges of mayonnaise producers become obvious,” he explains. 

“Being able to accurately predict and control the required quality parameters is of utmost importance, as this allows optimization of production costs, trouble-free production scale-up and, not least, rapid development and shorter time-to-market for new products.”

“It is certainly not a trivial task to predict mayonnaise texture and appearance, as these parameters are influenced not only by ingredient types and composition, but also heavily by the processing method, equipment type and scale of production.”

However, he explains how Tetra Pak has developed a prediction tool to optimize mayonnaise production methods, and offers specialized equipment that can be tuned to different modes of production.

“We can help convert emulsified sauce processes from trial-and-error activities that require a lot of resources into a systematic, efficient and predictable process delivering consistent product quality time after time,” Mortensen adds.

What’s on trend in the mayonnaise world?
With veganism rising, there are developments in terms of producing egg-free mayonnaise, and Tetra Pak obviously has the technology to meet this need. However, other trends in European markets are geared toward health and wellness, the use of high-quality ingredients and naturalness to name but a few, explains Mortensen.

“We don’t develop products (recipes) but we offer the technology and process that will, for sure, handle various product requirements and needs. The egg-free options are not unique but can be handled by our mixer and methods,” Mortensen says.

Mortensen describes the current trends: “Health and wellness with reduced fat, salt and sugar content. Naturality, as consumers are concerned about what is in their foods, how are they made and where the ingredients come from.”

“Highlighting certain ingredients that are premium or has high quality ingredients,” he continues. “Free-from is important because consumer avoids certain foods due to allergy, sensitiveness or because of a lifestyle choice. Convenience is also important, so this is time-saving products, easy to prepare and consume.”

The consumer demands for low-calorie products with the same taste and feel as calorie-rich versions are well known, he adds, but this is where navigating the complexities of mayonnaise production is very important.

“Lowering the amount of oil in an otherwise standard mayonnaise will lead to a less dense packing of the dispersed oil droplets and thereby to reduced viscosity and texture,” he states.

“Various thickening and gelling compounds can therefore be added to the water phase to match the viscosity and texture of traditional mayonnaise. Starch is frequently used but other hydrocolloids are also common.”

“Native starch is often used for ‘natural-label’ formulations. Reduced-fat formulations are often not labeled as mayonnaise due to legal or voluntary regulations.”

How do the products from Tetra Pak differ from what is already on the market?
Mortensen explains how several vendors offer mixer solutions for industrial production of mayonnaise and dressings, but, he says, most of these solutions lack the flexibility to operate in both batch and continuous setups and the possibility of producing both reduced and full-fat products, including variants with added particles. 

“In addition, many mixers are restricted to intake of liquid ingredients only and do not allow direct intake of powders or larger vegetable particles,” he says. “Tetra Pak High shear mixers for mayonnaise and emulsified sauces do not have any of these restrictions. In addition, they provide the lowest production cost and environmental impact per kg produced product.”

“The processing equipment is however only one part of the equation. Equally important is the know-how that enables optimized processing and prediction of obtained product quality i.e. quantified by required oil drop size distribution or various texture values.”

Tetra Pak has developed a prediction tool and uses it to optimize both emulsified sauces processing equipment and processes. It also allows optimizations of production costs, trouble-free production scale-up, as well as faster development and shorter time-to-market for new emulsified products.

Optimized mixer solutions
Mortensen explains how the development of Tetra Pak’s advanced prediction tools and the subsequent mixer solutions has been on-going for the past four years. 

“It has included hundreds of experiments of batch sizes ranging from 25kg to 2000kg and included continuous productions runs as well. The obtained data has allowed accurate tuning and validation of the developed prediction models and allowed optimization of the mixer solutions,” he says. 

“The developed models and prediction tools are quite generic and can be applied to numerous other products besides mayonnaise and emulsified sauces. This will, for sure, result in optimized mixer solutions for other specific applications.”

By Gaynor Selby

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