Dairy-based beverages come with their own set of unique textural challenges.
Addressing beverage challenges
Dairy-based beverages come with their own set of unique textural challenges, said Wanda Jurlina, technical service manager, CP Kelco, Atlanta.
“While many beverages appear to be a simple, fluid system, they could require suspension of nutrients or other particulates, prevention of creaming and gelation over time, as well as a pleasant mouthfeel during consumption,” she said.
Shelf-stable dairy beverages often are expected to maintain quality up to a year. Hydrocolloids can assist. They can create long-term suspension systems without negatively impacting mouthfeel.
“With these products, the challenge of maintaining texture, appearance and flavor are magnified,” said Leanne Levy, marketing manager at CP Kelco. “Ingredients such as insoluble calcium, fiber and cocoa must remain suspended throughout the product’s shelf life to ensure consumers will receive the intended nutritional impact and consumption experience.”
Numerous health and wellness trends are driving dairy product innovations. The challenge is that while consumers want the better-for-you formulations, their sensory preferences are for the familiar traditional products.
“As today’s consumers are drawn to products promoting health and wellness through reduced levels of sugar and a higher presence of nutrients such as protein, a diverse range of dairy products is emerging,” Ms. Levy said. “Consumers expect these products to offer convenience and a sensory experience comparable to the reference products. The use of hydrocolloids can help restore the texture or mouthfeel that is lacking when certain ingredients are reduced or eliminated, or others are added.”
Ms. Whaley, of Tate & Lyle, concluded, “Our hope is that texture becomes more of a foundational expectation of how we design food and beverage products, and not just a niche trend. Understanding how to manipulate texture effectively and quickly, and how to relate it back to consumer appeal is something that separates the winners from losers in the food space. Information technology, knowledge management tools and deeper insights into the science are coming, and I think that will transform how people are able to use texture in the innovation processes.”