Granola bars
Innovations in starch and flour create the right texture in snacks, yogurt and frozen foods.

KANSAS CITY — Achieving acceptable, consumer-pleasing texture is pivotal when formulating such items as snacks, yogurt and frozen foods. Creating the right texture may depend upon choosing the right starches or other ingredients, with clean label another potential consideration.

Texture innovation has appeared in 2017.

Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., introduced Homecraft Create multi-functional tapioca flours that offer a clean label with the functionality of a modified starch, according to the company. Ingredion cites research from Mintel showing that the number of new products formulated globally with tapioca flours has experienced a 38% compound annual growth rate since 2012. Ingredion conducted proprietary consumer research in 26 countries that assessed preferences regarding functional texturizers and stabilizers. In all the regions consumers preferred a “flour” label.

“Flours are highly recognized and also have a superior degree of acceptance, given their association with minimal processing, which consumers perceive to be healthy,” said Dan Haley, director of the global Wholesome Springboard at Ingredion. “The challenge for food manufacturers has been to formulate with flour without compromising flavor, texture, appearance and a gluten-free positioning. Homecraft Create tapioca flours help manufacturers overcome this challenge in a wide array of applications.”

Ingredion Homecraft tapioca flour
Ingredion's Homecraft Create multi-functional tapioca flours offer a clean label with the functionality of a modified starch.

The flours offer tolerance and stability advantages while at the same time helping manufacturers create indulgent dairy products as well as sauces, puddings and custards, according to Ingredion. They have been shown to help in reducing fat content, and they may be used in products with non-G.M.O. and gluten-free claims.

Tate & Lyle, P.L.C., London, cites data from the Natural Marketing Institute’s report “2016 health and wellness trends in America” showing 63% of consumers indicate they have consumed non-G.M.O. foods or beverages in the past year.

Several categories might see growth through non-G.M.O. promotions. Tate & Lyle cites February data from Information Resources, Inc., a Chicago-based marketing firm, showing yogurt products with non-G.M.O. status grew 7.3% from 2013-16, which compared with 0.7% for the overall category. Other opportunities are bars, which had 40% growth from 2013-16 for non-G.M.O. items and 3.7% growth for the overall category, and sauces, which had 60% growth for non-G.M.O. items and 2.9% category growth.

Each category has its own considerations.

When starch is used at high levels and protein at lower levels, starch begins to dominate the texture, and yogurt will assume a more pudding-like texture.

“The texture of yogurt is driven by the milk protein, particularly the casein, then added texturizers like starch and the relative concentrations of each,” said Rachel Wicklund, Ph.D., technical manager for global ingredient technology, Tate & Lyle and based in Hoffman Estates, Ill. “For example, starches swell during cooking and concentrate the protein and other texturizers in the yogurt.”

When starch is used at high levels and protein at lower levels, starch begins to dominate the texture, and the yogurt will assume a more “pudding-like” texture, she said. When starch use levels are low or protein levels high, casein gelation dominates texture, creating a firmer, “cuttable” texture.

“Greek and Greek-style yogurts are unique because they are prepared using methods that concentrate the milk protein,” she said. “These products are characterized by a very thick and creamy texture with mild taste as a result of the whey removal and concentration of fat that moderates the acid flavor. In such products, starch is uniquely suited to control water in the yogurt and optimize the texture.”

Tate & Lyle offers a Rezista family of non-G.M.O. starches that have been shown to handle the high shear and temperature involved in yogurt processing.

Nougat bars
Consumers increasingly want healthy bars with a nougat-like texture.

Consumers increasingly want healthy bars with a nougat-like texture, according to Tate & Lyle.

“Nougats are a form of an aerated confection, and in order to incorporate air and maintain the resulting foam, stabilizers like starch are used to prevent air bubbles from coalescing both during and after aeration,” Dr. Wicklund said.

Tate & Lyle offers a Claria Top-Gel non-G.M.O. granular starch for bars that hydrates in water at ambient temperatures, forming a resilient, colloidal gel structure with functionality.

Manufacturers, when working with sauces, may need a variety of starches, depending on the formulation, according to Tate & Lyle. A pasta sauce manufacturer may use one starch in a high-acid sauce like marinara and another starch in a lower-acid sauce like Alfredo. Tate & Lyle offers non-G.M.O. Maxi-Gel and Perma-Flo starches to meet a range of requirements in sauces.

Frozen manicotti meal
Cargill created SimPure 99560 for use in culinary and convenience applications such as frozen foods.

Minneapolis-based Cargill this year introduced SimPure functional native starches. They offer a simple ingredient label along with process tolerance, shelf life and storage stability, according to the company.

SimPure 99560 was created for use in culinary and convenience applications such as frozen foods. It may replace modified starches in frozen-ready meals. Patent-pending SimPure 99560 provides freeze-heat stability in mild processing conditions, preventing water separation and producing stable functionality over time, according to Cargill. It offers viscosity in processing and microwave cooking stability.

“SimPure products will be labeled according to the botanical source from which they are produced,” said Pam Stauffer, global marketing programs manager for Cargill. “All of the ingredients we work with in the SimPure portfolio have true global applicability and label simply in all regions.”

Grain Processing Corp., Muscatine, Iowa, turned to a snack to show how its starches may work in successful formulations during IFT17, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and exposition held in June in Las Vegas. In a chicken and waffle snack, Instant Pure-Cote coating/film-forming starch provided waffle crispness while Pure-Gel modified starch controlled moisture in the chicken tenders. Pure-Cote modified food starches are low-viscosity starches that provide film-forming and adhesive properties. They function as binders for seasonings on snacks and cereals and as smooth, glossy coating agents for confectionery items and baked foods. Pure-Gel modified starches hydrate easily and impart high viscosity. The starches are designed to provide stable viscosity in the presence of extended heat, acid and shear conditions.

Veggie Burger
MGP Ingredients' TruTex textured wheat proteins may be used in veggie burgers rich in protein.

MGP Ingredients, Atchison, Kas., offers TruTex textured wheat proteins that may be used in veggie burgers rich in protein. When hydrated, TruTex takes on the appearance and texture of meat as the result of its unique qualities, according to MGP Ingredients. These include a fibrous structure identical to chicken and pulled pork as well as selections that resemble crumbled beef and may be used to produce beef-like patties and/or sloppy Joe mixes.

More than just vegetarians and vegans are eating veggie burgers. A 2016 U.S. study from Health Focus International, St. Petersburg, Fla., showed 13% of respondents said they considered themselves vegetarians and 1% said they considered themselves vegan. While only 17% of Americans said they were eating a plant-based diet either exclusively or predominantly, another 60% said they were cutting back on meat-based products.