The crux of reformulation: Cargill builds on texture system model with sweeteners, proteins and fibers
16 Feb 2021 --- Consumer expectations today are high and often interlinked, and with this, Cargill is continuing its path to innovation. The company says that its latest service model, Infuse by Cargill, opens the door for specific ingredient blends better positioned to address challenging marketing trends.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Hannah Keenan, Infuse business development manager at Cargill, says the new model brings together its extensive ingredient acumen to create tailor-made ingredient blends rapidly.
“Customers have been using Cargill’s functional systems for more than 40 years to achieve custom texturizing ingredient blends. Infuse builds upon this functional systems service model, which allows our customers to meet challenging consumer requirements and thus require a different approach to ingredient formulation.”
Approaching ingredient reformulation
According to Keenan, by adding on sweeteners, proteins and fibers, next to texturizers, Cargill can address a broader scope of reformulation challenges.
“Our consumers are looking to create nutritionally-balanced products, which are low in sugars and calories and high in fiber and proteins. Moreover, label-friendly and ‘free from’ formulations such as plant-based and vegan are also sought after and often require a different approach to ingredient formulation,” she explains.
Infuse by Cargill sits at the crux of reformulation and innovation and represents the way Cargill helps our customers succeed, she says.
“Our expertise gives F&B manufacturers an edge in making products that address a complex set of consumer demands while still meeting expectations in terms of great taste, mouthfeel and memorable eating and drinking experience.”
“Formulating without functional ingredients such as sugar or fat means that functionality needs to be redesigned, which is often more complex than just a one-on-one substitution,” Keenan notes.
“Every day, we continue to develop more recipes and blended solutions based on consumer trends, application development and customer requests. We have recently developed an ingredient blend enabling zero-calorie cola with great taste, and organoleptic profile, a sugar replacement blend, for no sugar added ice creams, and a label-friendly stabilizer blend for ice creams,” Keenan explains.
Protein and plant-based offerings grow
Cargill can leverage its broad portfolio of sweetness, texture and enrichment such as fibers and proteins, and the company sees a lot of interest in “formulating without meat proteins and substituting with plant-based offerings,” comments Keenan.
She also flags the increased demand for protein enrichment. “We see this popping up in breakfast and sports drinks and sugar reduction, to name a few.”
“With many customers trying to improve Nutri-score and move toward more nutritionally balanced products, there is also a particular interest in ‘healthier’ products in a wide variety of applications.”
Texturizing and stabilizing
The plant-based trend continues to grow, affirms Keenan.
“In response, Infuse by Cargill is creating ingredient blends across several categories that answer the challenges of removing key functional ingredients, enabling us to bring solutions to the market without impacting the quality or eating experience for the consumer.”
For instance, plant-based cold cuts are a particularly new development area in the meat alternative space since there are relatively few solutions available right now.
According to Keenan, one of the significant challenges in developing plant-based cold cuts is achieving the desired texture and mouthfeel.
“Most of the time, the organoleptic shortfalls relate to texture, which is often too brittle, gummy or artificial in nature, when compared to the softer and juicier reference of processed meat products,” she explains.
Overcoming this challenge requires careful alternative protein selection and finding the optimal texturizing system to complement it. The Infuse by Cargill team guides customers in using ingredients such as pea protein and wheat protein and working with others such as soy and fava bean, or combinations of several alternative proteins.
“The cold cut concept is a good example of how our Infuse by Cargill service delivers complete binding, texturizing and stabilizing solutions for our customers,” she adds.
Replacing egg functionalityAlso in line with the plant-based and vegan trend, another example that Keenan flags is how manufacturers are challenged when removing eggs in sweet bakery products because eggs provide several fundamental functional properties such as protein, structure, color, moisture and emulsification.
“Infuse by Cargill offers a single blended solution for sponge cakes of label-friendly ingredients carefully selected from our vast Cargill portfolio, allowing us to formulate synergies to replace the functionality of eggs,” she asserts.
“This enables us to answer each functional requirement providing stability and consistency, while still retaining the desired crumb structure and shelf life of the cake.”
Our strategy is to assist customers from kitchen development right through to launch, Keenan adds.
Ignite the fuse
As part of the webinar on February 23, Cargill will be asking listeners if there’s an ingredient or technical challenge that they’re facing right now in their product development pipeline.
“We’ll be asking industry to submit a blend challenge to the Infuse team. We’ll look at all submissions and choose one to present during the next webinar,” Keenan concludes.
By Elizabeth Green
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