While chemical emulsifiers are effective, they recently have attracted negative attention from consumers. This has some bakers wanting to remove them from formulations without losing the benefits they bring.
“Product developers are tasked with finding not only functional ingredient solutions for their formulations but also ones that abide by the label requirements of consumers,” said Chloe McDaniel, marketing specialist, TIC Gums. “When developers are looking to clean up their label, it is often contingent on G.M.O. status, organic status, retailer approval and other variables.”
Probably the most important criteria when a baker is cleaning up the ingredient list is final product quality. Regardless of what consumers say they want, they rarely sacrifice taste and eating quality for health.
“When it comes to creating clean label baked goods or simplifying ingredient labels, you want to make sure you’re not sacrificing quality for claims,” said Jim Robertson, product management director, emulsifiers, Corbion.
Corbion enables bakers to balance these two needs with its Trancedim ingredient. When combined with an unsaturated oil, this high-diglyceride solution delivers consistent structure and flavor while also lowering saturated fat and eliminating hydrogenation and palm oil.
Gums and hydrocolloids also can provide bakers with label-friendly alternatives that can hit on several certifications consumers might be looking for.
“TIC Gums offers organic-, kosher- and halal-certified products, which are perfect for someone looking to create a product that aligns with current clean eating trends,” said Derek Holthaus, scientist, TIC Gums.
Acacia gum offers a wide range of emulsification functionality from bread applications to cake. For bread doughs, acacia acts as a dough conditioner by interacting with gluten and strengthening the protein network.
“This helps improve the texture of the dough,” he said. “In yeast-raised products, the main function of acacia would be to extend the shelf life and condition the dough.”
In cake batters, this gum helps trap gas bubbles and retain moisture, resulting in a lighter texture and longer shelf life.
“For cake batter, which is an oil-in-water emulsion, acacia stabilizes the batter by providing miscibility to these typically immiscible phases,” he said.
When deciding on the best clean label alternative, it’s important to understand what functions chemical emulsifiers are serving in the application and start from there. Monoglycerides in bread extend shelf life; improve process tolerances, crumb texture and loaf volume; and enable clean and efficient slicing.
“The yeast-raised bread application of monoglycerides are the result of the emulsifier’s interaction with starch,” said Tim Cottrell, director of business development, emulsifiers and texturants, Kerry. “Other emulsifiers such as SSL or DATEM can interact more with gluten proteins of bread products, resulting in quite different effects such as increased proof tolerance and larger loaf volume.”
In sweet applications, emulsifiers like propylene glycol monoesters (PGME) stabilize the batter and plasticize the crumb chemistry to deliver a smooth eating quality.
Replacing these functionalities requires working side-by-side with ingredient suppliers to find the right clean label emulsification solution for the application.
“At AB Mauri, we have invested considerable resources into understanding the roles of chemical emulsifiers in the production of baked goods and identifying clean label, functional solutions to replace them,” said Paul Bright, innovation manager, AB Mauri North America, of the company’s capabilities and expertise. “As with most alternatives to traditional chemicals, AB Mauri will also support the implementation of the clean label solution at the bakery by first understanding the particular baking process and product portfolio and only then making the appropriate clean label solution recommendation.”
Kerry has developed a line of clean label emulsifier replacements for a variety of baked foods. The company’s non-G.M.O. sunflower lecithin ingredients are available in liquids and powders and can be used to replace conventional emulsifiers. Also, Kerry developed a monoglyceride replacer to address the challenges associated with replacing emulsifiers with enzymes. This new ingredient delivers the benefits of conventional dispersible monoglyceride — improved tolerance, machineability, slicing and shelf life — while also cleaning up the ingredient list, Mr. Cottrell said.
Soybean lecithin is another clean label ingredient that can be used as an emulsifier in many baked foods; however, as Rick Cummisford, director of quality control, Columbus Vegetable Oils, pointed out, soybean lecithin can be considered an allergen and must be labeled as such.
“Similar functionality of the emulsifier can be met by selecting a sunflower lecithin, which is not considered an allergen by the Food and Drug Administration,” he said.