Clean label Snack Factory Dessert Thins
Snyder’s-Lance's Snack Factory Dessert Thins are made with non-G.M.O. ingredients and void of artificial colors and flavors.

Ingredient innovations abound

The clean label phenomenon is playing out in every aisle of the supermarket. Snyder’s-Lance Inc., Charlotte, N.C., is rolling out Snack Factory Dessert Thins, a line of lightly textured, airy biscuits made with non-G.M.O. ingredients and void of artificial colors and flavors. They come in brownie, chocolate chip and lemon varieties.

“We are always looking for new and inventive ways to create great-tasting snacks that people can feel good about eating,” said Jennifer Bauer, vice-president of marketing.

Ingredient suppliers make clean label prepared and packaged innovations possible. Today’s tool box of clean label solutions includes more naturally derived colors and flavors and non-G.M.O. staple ingredients ranging from flours to oils to sweeteners.

“Now more than ever, manufacturers require an innovative set of solutions to meet various formulation and labelling challenges to develop breakthrough products smarter and faster,” said Michael Harrison, chief technology officer, Tate & Lyle, Hoffman Estates, Ill.

The company continues to grow its line of clean label starches to assist with achieving desirable textures and stability in viscous products such as condiments, gravies and soups. The most recent addition is a line of instant starches that are process tolerant and build rapid viscosity, comparable to modified instant starches.

Clean label Ingredion soup
Ingredion recently launched a multi-functional rice flour line that may enhance soup formulations.

Ingredion Inc., Westchester, Ill., markets a range of clean label, non-G.M.O. sweeteners, texturizers, proteins, fibers and functional native starches and flours, including a recently launched multi-functional rice flour line. Rice flour offers smooth, silky textures, opacity and homemade appeal without compromising on the process tolerance and stability manufacturers expect from a modified starch. Applications testing has shown that the rice flours can enhance formulations of baby foods, soups and sauces; dairy alternatives; fruit fillings and snack products; and meats, batters and ready meals, while also offering advantages in the preparation of gluten-free and dairy-free recipes.

Morris Plains, N.J.-based Beneo markets a portfolio of clean label rice starches that function as texturizers in bakery, confectionery, dairy, convenience foods and gluten-free applications. The company offers a pure white rice starch that works especially well in poultry for enhancement. It delivers a clean look with no pinking.

Sampling tests by Texas A&M University, College Station, showed rice starch improves yields comparable to modified corn starch. A sensory test with 50 volunteers confirmed that in terms of organoleptic properties, rice starch is a viable alternative. There were no differences in taste, tenderness, juiciness and appearance between the starch solutions tested.

Essentia Protein Solutions, Ankeny, Iowa, is introducing clean label functional ingredient solutions based on proteins from pork, beef or poultry. Finely ground and injectable, the proteins improve yield, purge, texture and sliceability in fresh and processed meat products. They function as a natural alternative to phosphates and hydrocolloids and are a clean label lean-meat replacer that reduces formulation costs.

Clean label Kerry queso dip
Kerry offers a clean label cheese solution that mirrors the melt, taste and appearance of traditional processed cheese.

Kerry now offers a clean label cheese solution that mirrors the melt, taste and appearance of traditional processed cheese, but only includes familiar ingredients: cheddar cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), skim milk, food starch, salt, cultured whey and cultured skim milk. With the solution, processed cheeses no longer need to include the unfamiliar ingredients of sodium phosphates, citrates, sorbic acid, emulsifiers, preservatives and hydrocolloids. Applications include macaroni and cheese, queso dip and nachos.

“Consumers have spoken loud and clear about what they expect from their food choices, and a popular demand is recognizable ingredients,” said Papao Saisnith, strategic marketing director with Kerry. “Now, it’s about making those desires possible while still creating foods that they crave.”