Staying fresh while going clean

by Jeff Gelski
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Keeping clean label products fresh can be a challenge.

"Fresh” has rung out as a positive term in baking for a while. In recent years “clean,” as in clean or simple ingredient lists, has taken on a positive connotation as well. Combining the two terms in one grain-based food product may take some work, though.

Formulators may want to ask three questions before taking on that task, said Paul Bright, innovation manager for AB Mauri North America, St. Louis.

How does the clean label product compare to standard chemical products in the particular application that companies are interested in?

Will the supplier of the clean label system help support implementation of it during product testing?

What are the cost-in-use differences between clean label systems and chemical alternatives?

“AB Mauri recognizes that today’s baking industry is constantly looking for label-friendly solutions to replace traditional shelf life extension chemicals such as monoglycerides, diglycerides and sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate (SSL),” he said.

The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2015 Food and Health Survey affirmed the importance of simpler ingredient lists. At the same time, the IFIC data suggest the level of concern may have peaked.

When asked to name the most important food safety issue for them and their family, 36% said chemicals in food, which ranked as the No. 1 answer, even ahead of foodborne illness from bacteria (34%).

When asked what information they looked at on food or beverage packaging when deciding whether to purchase or eat it, 40% said the ingredient list, which ranked behind only the expiration date (51%) and the Nutrition Facts Panel (49%). In 2014, however, 52% said the ingredient list. In 2015, 13% said they looked for a statement about the absence of certain food ingredients, which was down from 20% in 2014.

Greenwald & Associates conducted the on-line survey, which included 1,007 Americans from the ages of 18 to 80.

CivicScience, Inc., Pittsburgh, released a similar survey this year. When given a list of items and asked which were most harmful to their nutritional health, 35% said preservatives/chemicals, ranking them ahead of saturated fats (15%), total sugar (13%), sodium (9%), added sugar (8%), G.M.O.s (7%) and carbohydrates (4%). Nine per cent said none of the items were harmful.

The CivicScience survey involved 4,233 adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2%. People voluntarily took the survey on-line.

Corbion Caravan, which has an office in Lenexa, Kas., recently completed its own proprietary consumer study.

“From our proprietary research, Corbion Caravan has learned that ‘type of ingredient’ drives purchase, but this means different things to different people,” said Marge O’Brien, senior global markets insights manager, for Corbion Caravan.

She said the study showed consumers typically fall into one of three segments: nutrition-focused (46%), ingredient-focused (32%) or less engaged in labeling information (22%). Nutrition-focused consumers place more importance on general health and diet factors, are more likely to look at the first few ingredients on the label and will focus more on the nutritional panel, she said. Ingredient-focused consumers will place more importance on specific ingredients and are more likely to read the entire ingredient list. The less engaged consumer is more affected by price and tends to skip reading the ingredient list or nutrition panel altogether.

“So by the numbers this would indicate that while nutrition factors still influence decisions for more consumers, ingredients are not far behind,” Ms. O’Brien said. “Suppliers and retailers need to understand who their consumer is in order to meet their expectations of clean label, and Corbion can help manufacturers deliver against these expectations through our Ultra Fresh
and Pristine line of products.”

The Ultra Fresh line for bread and sweet goods are enzyme-based.

“On the other side of the equation is mold inhibition,” she said. “Here, too, there are many solutions on the market both clean label and traditional to control mold throughout the shelf life of grain-based foods.”

Ms. O’Brien added, “Corbion Caravan, like many suppliers, continues to see an increasing number of customers requesting cleaner label ingredients allowing them to remove unwanted ingredients and simplify their ingredient legends. Our expectations are that this trend will continue as manufacturers modify current labels in response to consumer and regulatory pressures, as well as developing new bakery items that fit the profile of cleaner, simpler labels.”

People in the grain-based foods industry are not relying as heavily on emulsifiers, mono- and dyglycerides as shelf life extenders, said Alex Peña, product development director for Bellarise/Pak Group North America, which has an office in Pasadena, Calif. They are looking for more natural preservative alternatives, he said.

BellaRise offers the BellaSoft line of ingredients based on enzyme technology. Depending upon the application, BellaSoft has been shown to extend the shelf life of products between 21 to 28 days. The ingredient consists of a combination of
enzymes and other natural ingredients and would appear as “enzymes” on the ingredient list of a grain-based product.

“By continuing to break down the starches in bread products after the initial bake, BellaSoft helps baked goods retain their moisture and softness,” Mr. Peña said. “The enzymes in BellaSoft also tighten up the application’s breadcrumb structure and thereby improve the overall texture of the baked good.”

Tom McCurry, managing director and chief operating officer for Cain Food Industries, Inc., Dallas, said a desire to replace mono- and diglycerides has increased. Cain offers MDR Alpha and MDR Soft to replace mono- and diglycerides. Alpha Soft, SoftTabs and SoftPower Plus have been shown to extend shelf life in bread, buns, rolls and artisan products.

Paul Bright, innovation manager for AB Mauri North America, works at the company's new headquarters in St. Louis.

“Clean label has gotten some great traction over the past couple years as consumers demand to know more about what is on their labels,” Mr. McCurry said. “One of the great challenges in going clean label is belief in the systems from the start of the project on the bakery level. Technology has given us a number of new tools, mostly enzyme-based, to allow us to clean up labels in all aspects of the baking process.”

Moving into a bakingHUB and fermentation lab facilities at its new North American headquarters in St. Louis has allowed AB Mauri North America to speed up product development.

“Enzyme development work, whether providing dough enhancement properties or anti-staling solutions, involves a lot of time-consuming bake application work conducted via trial and error,” Mr. Bright said. “At AB Mauri North America, we utilize the latest technological tools, in combination with our extensive baking expertise, to assist in the development of new products. In essence, we mix the science and art of baking together to further the development process.”

The company has an Activigraph, which monitors the activity, or gassing power, of the company’s yeast from all plants in North America and Mexico. The Activigraph is a more sensitive and accurate instrument than its predecessors, Mr. Bright said.

AB Mauri offers Softase enzyme-based systems to extend shelf life in a variety of baked foods. A Nabitor line of mold inhibitors may be used in yeast-leavened products. Supremo Liquid Preserve inhibits mold growth in corn and flour tortillas.

BreadPartners, Inc., Cinnaminson, N.J., offers Softa-Pan and Supersoft systems that extend shelf life and are free of bromates and azodicarbonamides (ADA). Titan, also free of bromates and ADA, has been shown to provide anti-molding benefits.

Shelf life in cereal

Cereal manufacturers may be looking for ways to replace synthetic antioxidants such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ). Kalsec, Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich., offers Herbalox XT rosemary extract, which has been shown to work as a replacement for those antioxidants in cereal and snack items as well, said Jill McKeague, director of product management — antioxidants for Kalsec.

Kalsec found Herbalox XT provided a 79% reduction in the formation of hexanal, a typical marker for oxidation in foods, in extruded cereal stored in ambient conditions. The shelf life of cereal is matrix dependent, Ms. McKeague said. Such issues as ingredients, packaging and dosage of the antioxidant should be taken into account.

While labeling guidelines vary in different parts of the world, Herbalox XT typically may be labeled as a natural flavor or rosemary extract in the United States, Ms. McKeague said. Herbalox XT may be added both into the dough and the oil systems to provide extra protection in cereal and snacks.

“Because Herbalox XT has a low flavor profile unlike other natural antioxidants, it allows for increased usage and protection versus synthetics that have maximum dosage limits,” Ms. McKeague said.

Kalsec also offers Duralox oxidation management systems that are designed for efficacy in specific matrices. The systems have been shown to assist in stabilizing nuts, grains, seeds, cookies and other applications.

For sweet goods, Corbion Caravan recently launched Ultra Fresh Sweet 275, which offers freshness for up to 45 days and may be used in such applications as cake donuts, yeast donuts, honey buns and sweet doughs.

For sweet goods, Corbion Caravan recently launched Ultra Fresh Sweet 275, which offers freshness for up to 45 days and may be used in such applications as cake donuts, yeast donuts, honey buns and sweet doughs, Ms. O’Brien said.

Cain Foods, meanwhile, offers CakeZyme Smart D1 for sweet goods.

The egg shortage is one other consideration for companies wanting the benefits of both shelf life and simple ingredient in their products. Sarah Wood, Ph.D., R.&D. manager at Penford Food Ingredients, pointed out eggs provide moisture retention to assist in shelf life when she spoke in March at the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech 2015 in Chicago. To replace eggs, starches and gums may provide water-binding capabilities to retain moisture, she said.

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