Stabilizer trends: Strategies for thickening, gelling, texturizing and elevating mouthfeel
13 Oct 2021 --- Despite supply chain challenges, raw material price hikes and the ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stabilizers market is seizing the opportunity to innovate with more NPD on the horizon.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, CP Kelco and Palsgaard reveal imminent ingredient launches and examine the latest trends and dynamics impacting the space.
Later this fall, CP Kelco will be launching a dual-function gellan gum for plant-based, dairy alternative beverages. Early next year, Palsgaard will debut a clean label blend of starch and vegetable fiber for yogurt and plant-based fermented products, called Palsgaard Acid Milk 310.
Locust bean gum focus
CP Kelco flags how locust bean gum (LBG), a versatile texturizer and stabilizer, is currently experiencing supply shortages and a price spike.
“Pricing has steadily increased over the last three years and markedly over the last few months. Product manufacturers that rely on LBG in their formulations are exploring alternatives that can help with mouthfeel, thickening or gelling, texture and stabilization,” explains CP Kelco head of global sales technical service, Neil Morrison.
The pandemic has also affected consumer purchasing behavior and accelerated interest in specific ingredients and products.
“More consumers are shopping online now, and some are starting to stock up again. This is inspiring long-shelf life product innovation, such as ambient drinking yogurts, which have been popular among Asian consumers as well as producers wanting to cut cold chain logistics costs,” Morrison continues.
“Stabilizers play a key role in these yogurt drinks, which address the needs of consumers looking for convenient, on-the-go snacks with good-for-you benefits.”
Achieving taste & texture
Stabilizers and emulsifiers are crucial in taste and texture formulations, particularly in the development of dairy, ice cream, mayonnaise (and plant-based innovation) to help maintain vital sensory properties such as creaminess and mouthfeel while increasing shelf life and reducing food waste.
Manufacturers seek products that remain stable for longer so they can confidently expand their geographical reach.
Earlier this month, IFF introduced its latest solution for the dairy alternatives market, Vegedan WP 1800, a customized, protein-free solution for plant-based whipping creams. The vegan-friendly stabilizing ingredient is designed for easy use and stability throughout shelf life.
Healthy for people and planet
Stabilizers are beneficial for other applications like beverages, spoonable and drinking yogurts, salad dressings, condiments, jams and jellies, baked goods, fruit preparations, fruit-flavored drinks and desserts.
Morrison points out that the global megatrend of consumers seeking good-for-you and good-for-the-planet foods and beverages continues to drive growth in plant-based innovation and alternative proteins.
“This is one of the key drivers behind ingredient innovation. Taste and texture remain the biggest hurdles for flexitarians to try new alternative protein products,” he says.
Some of CP Kelco’s most popular stabilizers include gellan gum and pectin.
Gellan gum is already recognized as a top stabilizer for dairy beverages because of its ability to add suspension and a silky mouthfeel.
Meanwhile, demand for pectin is high, driven by global trends around sugar reduction and clean label formulation.
CP Kelco’s Kelcogel Gellan Gum is a fermentation-derived ingredient, effective in dairy and plant-based dairy alternative beverages, providing stabilization and suspension.
“Gellan gum can also help recover some of the body that is lost when sugar is reduced. Our newest grade is a dual-function solution that offers both long-lasting suspension and mouthfeel to product developers, which can represent cost savings and a way to reduce the number of ingredients on the product label. We also offer gellan gum grades to help meet organic-compliant, reduced-sugar, non-GMO and other clean label goals,” Morrison adds.
Alt-meat and dairy at core of innovation
Haydee Carlos, global application manager for Palsgaard, tells FoodIngredientsFirst how replacing dairy and meat proteins with plant proteins is at the forefront of product development – and what that means for stabilizers.
“The role of the correct emulsifier and stabilizer system has never been more important as use of plant proteins create a new challenge in product development and production such as increase in viscosity, less creamy mouthfeel, longer hydration, to name a few,” she explains.
“Palsgaard launched two new products, Palsgaard Rec Milk 143 and Palsgaard Rec Milk 146, specially developed for plant-based dairy alternatives.”
“We have also launched concepts for plant-based frozen desserts and this November, plant-based dairy-free chocolate,” she reveals.
Palgaard’s popular stabilizer ingredients
Carlos also notes how hydrocolloids – including carrageenan, cellulose gum (CMS), gellan gum, guar gum, LBG, xanthan gum, gelatine and pectin – are being used in a wide range of applications.
“In 2020, 91% of Palsgaard’s direct suppliers were assessed in our Responsible Sourcing Programme, RSPO audit has been carried out by a third party auditor and achieved traceability back to plantations,” she says.
“All our emulsifier and stabilizer solutions are produced in CO2 neutral factories, and this achievement is the first in our industry. Looking to the future, Palsgaard is going to build a solar park and biogas facility in Denmark.”
Cargill pinpoints pectin
Cargill recently expanded its global pectin footprint with a US$150 million processing facility located in Bebedouro in the heart of Brazil’s citrus-growing region.
“Demand for pectin is at an all-time high, fueled by global trends around sugar reduction and label-friendly formulation, as well as the popularity of fruit-flavored dairy drinks,” says Laerte Moraes, managing director for Cargill’s starches, sweeteners and texturizers business in South America.
“Adding a fourth pectin production facility to our supply network further secures our position as a reliable supplier of this sought-after ingredient.”
Going back to CP Kelco’s forthcoming dual-function gellan gum launch, Morrison adds that the trend in dairy alternative products is to boost protein and nutritional content, and this usually requires multiple ingredients that can protect, stabilize and suspend added protein, vitamins, fiber, minerals and flavorings, as well as enhance mouthfeel and texture.
“Using one multifunctional stabilizer instead will benefit product developers and help them keep down the number of ingredients on the label,” he states.
For Palsgaard’s Palsgaard Acid Milk 310, another interesting application of this blend is ambient stable yogurt alternative. “This application has been popular in China for more than ten years and is now slowly gaining popularity globally as well,” adds Carlos.
By Gaynor Selby
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