When hens died by the millions in this spring’s historic bird flu epidemic, those supplying the processed egg market suffered the highest casualties. Bakers scrambled to cover their egg needs, and most chose partial or full replacement by egg alternatives. Ricardo Rodriguez, bakery and confectionery manager, Ingredion, Westchester, IL, described egg replacement options that now include ingredients supplied by Gum Technologies and Penford Food Ingredients, companies recently acquired by Ingredion.

Baking & Snack: What has been the experience of bakers using egg replacers/extenders from Ingredion and its Penford and Gum Technology businesses?

Ricardo Rodriguez: So far we have gotten very positive feedback on our portfolio of solutions and some customers are deciding to move forward with some of our egg replacement solutions, since our combined portfolio of solutions is now quite large it is important to understand the customers application and labeling requirements in order to provide the most appropriate solution.

What changes in formulation are required to accomplish this?

The main change is simply substituting one of our egg replacement solutions like Precisa Bake 100 for a specific percentage of the egg. For example in a blueberry muffin you would substitute 50% of the whole egg in the formula with 1-2% of Precisa Bake 100 and then adjust the water percentage accordingly as well. Other than that the rest of the formulation can remain the same and the processing parameters wouldn't change either.

Do you think the adoption of egg replacers will be a permanent change in bakery formulations?

I do feel that the current crisis could last for 1-2 years and if egg replacement solutions are being used during that time period by consumers they will become accepted. This crisis is now just starting to be picked up by traditional media and reaching mainstream consumers. Once consumers begin to build awareness there will be a percentage of them that will not want to go back to traditional egg products, since egg replacement solutions can deliver similar quality at a much lower price point that is allergen free and without the risk. This could be the next "gluten free" trend.

Editor’s notes: For a slideshow of egg replacer ingredients, click here. The July 2015 issue of Baking & Snack carries full coverage of the egg situation and egg replacer ingredients.