How enzymes can replace additives to achieve clean labels

by Laurie Gorton
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First, a word of caution. Enzymes do have extraordinary potential to cut or entirely replace chemical additives, but the road to clean-label formulating may hold obstacles. For example, a little bit of an enzyme goes a long way. In a solution of amylose, just one molecule of beta-amylase generates 20,000 molecules of maltose per second. A miscue on usage levels for an emulsifier doesn’t have that kind of effect.

“People need to realize that it is not 1:1,” cautioned Fokke van den Berg, global marketing manager, bakery, Novozymes, Bagsvaerd, Denmark. “Additives can be difficult to mimic exactly, and enzymes can be more sensitive in application.”

Formulators should work in stages, recommended Brian Fatula, vice-president, baking enzymes, DSM Food Specialties USA, Inc., South Bend, Ind.

“When removing unwanted additives, do it one by one,” he said. “And do the easiest removals and replacements first. You can easily learn that in the total performance of the finished product, many may not even be necessary.”

Take an approach that emphasizes expected product performance. First, identify which ingredients to reduce or remove, advised Kathy Sargent, project manager, R.&D., Corbion Caravan, Lenexa, Kas. Also, determine the functionality to be retained.

It also may be effective to evaluate every component of the formula before starting.

“We typically suggest taking a look at the entire formula,” said Chrissi Knott, bake shop manager, Cain Food Industries, Dallas. This approach provides the perspective of a clean slate and also may reduce bowl costs.

“Oftentimes, we see bakeries that work on one additive at a time,” she said. “However, this can create a situation where you are using more enzymes than are necessary or that are impeding the function of others.”

Such practicalities apply to the production floor, too.

“When using more enzyme-based dough conditioners or bread improvers, bakers need more discipline in respect to processing times and conditions then when using chemical additive ingredients,” said Frank Devos, vice-president of R.&D., Puratos USA, Cherry Hill, N.J.

In times to come, bakers may expect even more diversity from enzymes that aid bakery productivity. Today’s shelf life extension, clean-label formulating and acrylamide abatement activities are the tip of the iceberg.

“The world is made of enzymes,” Ms. Knott said. “There are endless opportunities with them, and many different types have not yet been discovered.”
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