Food Business News - June 12, 2018 - 39





texture a priority

Mouthfeel is a critical
element of the product
development process


ood texture preference is very
personal. This may be exemplified
by cooked egg. Some prefer eggs
scrambled, whereas others cannot tolerate the sponginess. Identifiable whites
and yolks are favored by some consumers, with preference in yolk consistency
ranging from runny to solid.
Food texture also may be an indicator of product quality. Cheese connoisseurs, for example, know that tyrosine
(an amino acid) crystals are a sign of
a finely aged hard cheese, while many
everyday consumers don't appreciate
crunch in their Parmesan.
Then there's evolving texture.
"Texture over shelf life is what we call
stability, meaning we want the texture to
look and perform on the last day of product shelf life the same as it did on the first
day it hit the stores," said Ivan Gonzales,
marketing director of dairy for Ingredion,
Inc., Westchester, Ill. "We do not want
drastic changes to the texture over time.
Typical problems to avoid are syneresis,
hardening, losing viscosity and developing graininess. Changes to texture most
likely will impact appearance and flavor

June 12, 2018

release in the final product."
When it comes to dairy products,
consumers typically expect smooth,
creamy and void of standing moisture,
liquid or frozen. They don't want starchy
or gummy lumps in sour cream, protein
or mineral sedimentation in drinkable
yogurt, or ice crystals in ice cream. Visual cues are indicators of product texture,
which in turn influences how the product
feels in the mouth. This is why texture
has become a focal point during the early
stages of product development.
"Texture is an integral part of the eating experience," said Ben George, senior
food scientist, Kerry, Beloit, Wis. "A watery
yogurt or a gelatinous chocolate milk will
turn even the biggest fan of the product
away for good. Controlling the texture of a
product is a necessity in today's manufacturing. Knowing the equipment and shear
a product will ultimately see is the first
step in developing a successful product.
Taking this information, the developer
can formulate the product to include the
necessary ingredients to ensure proper
texture in the finished product."

The role of texturants
Most consumers don't think about a
food's texture or mouthfeel unless it is inferior. Texturants can assist with delivering a
product that keeps consumers coming back.

Usually carbohydrate- or protein-based, texturants vary in function
and by application. For example, maltodextrins and polydextrose add body and
build total solids, while starches add
viscosity and body. Gums tend to build viscosity and prevent phase separation, while
emulsifiers bind fat and aqueous phases.
"Texture is our first, and often our
lasting impression of the food we eat,"
said Brian Surratt, senior dairy applications scientist, Cargill Texturizing
Solutions, Minneapolis. "As a result, one
of the most basic questions to answer
before any development project begins is
what is the intended consumer's textural
expectations and desires.
"Too often, the end textural target is
vaguely defined, if it's defined at all. We
encourage product developers to create a
specific goal in terms of a finished product's texture, as well as a means to measure the targeted attributes. In essence,
we start from the end, and work our way
back to the beginning, determining the
specific components that will deliver
on our textural goals. It's like watching
dominos fall, but in reverse."
Mr. Gonzales said product developers should address texture needs first in
order to ensure the ingredients used in
the formulation stand up to the manufacturing process and storage requirements. Once that is confirmed, then
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