Prepared Foods' R&D Conference had a variety of seminars to assist those formulating beverages. Topics included soy drinks, weighting agents in beverages and the challenges found when fortifying with healthful ingredients .--Eds.

MCC = More Stability

Traditional co-processed combinations of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) have shown a need for increased retort-processing times (sterilization and cooling phases) when utilized for stabilization of nutritional beverages. Ross White, an applications manager at FMC BioPolymer, suggested a newly developed MCC/CMC product can reduce that need significantly. The combination will provide superior shelf stability in retorted beverages through long-term suspension of solids and prevention of phase separation. MCC/CMC-based solutions also offer organoleptic benefits of enhanced mouthfeel and clean flavor release, while being more forgiving with variability of other raw materials, i.e., protein.

Traditional soluble hydrocolloid systems do not impact retort-processing times significantly. However, they do not provide long-term shelf stability, yielding defects of sedimentation and separation.

At comparable-use level and typical processing conditions, the new MCC/CMC co-processed product can provide 10% to 30% time savings versus traditional MCC/CMC-based stabilizers. In a high-brix or high-solid nutritional beverage, the addition of this product results in a 25% reduction in retort time, and in-house stability of 12 months.

This reduced processing time equates to reduced energy costs, faster throughput and better overall product quality. Additionally, the thermal degradation of proteins is reduced, as is the potential for off-flavors due to over-processing, resulting in a decreased flavor-usage level and, potentially, more savings.

“Providing Extended Shelf Stability in Retorted Beverages with Minimal Effect on Heat Penetration,” Ross White, FMC BioPolymer,,

Weighting Around

Without a weighting agent, beverage emulsions and beverages can separate into two immiscible layers, warned David J. Olsen, a technical associate in the food and cosmetics formulations laboratory at Eastman Chemical Company.

Cloudy beverages and emulsions used to make them have both an oil phase and a water phase. Instability will occur if the oil droplet size is much greater than 1 micron. A weighting agent, a material with a specific gravity greater than 1.0, is added to the oil phase to match the density of the water phase and create a stable emulsion in cloudy beverage applications. The more oil used, the cloudier the beverage will be. The optimal particle size to achieve cloud is 0.3-1 micron.

Choosing a weighting agent is complicated and dependent on a balance of allowed levels, desired cloud, desired final density, desired oil level and the effects of other ingredients. The four main types of beverage-weighting agents are brominated vegetable oil (BVO), damar gum, ester gum and sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB).

At a density of 1.33 to 1.34, BVO is the weighting agent with the highest density and is a strong cloud former.

Damar gums include a wide range of hard/solid resins, which vary in color and quality. At 1.06, damar gums have the lowest density of most weighting agents and often are used in Brazil, Mexico, Japan, France and Africa.

“Ester gum, a tri-ester of glycerin with acids derived from wood sources is the industry standard,” said Olsen. In the U.S., this weighting agent is a good cloud former and has a use level of 100ppm in the final beverage.

SAIB and its blends are oxidatively stable weighting agents, with the second-highest density (1.10-1.146) of the four main weighting agents. The final beverage use level in the U.S. is 300ppm, which can result in higher potential oil levels than other weighting agents.

Several factors affect turbidity, including particle size, amount of flavoring oil, weighting agent used, use of co-emulsifier or surfactant, added clouding agent and added juice.

“Weighting Agents for Beverages,” David J. Olsen, Eastman Chemical Company,,

Calcium-fortified Beverages

“There are more than 10 different calcium salts to choose from when developing a calcium-fortified beverage,” declared Daniel R. Sortwell, senior food scientist, Bartek Ingredients Inc. The calcium contents of these salts range from 9% to 40%. Calcium chloride, however, is limited by its bitter flavor. At most, 0.05% w/v of calcium chloride dihydrate can be used without excessive bitterness.

Insoluble-calcium salts such as tricalcium phosphate and calcium carbonate can be used in opaque beverages. Consumers are instructed to “shake well before using,” and stabilizers temporarily suspend the insoluble particles after shaking. The particle size of the insoluble calcium salt should be 10 microns or less, to avoid a gritty or chalky mouthfeel. Both calcium-fortified milk and orange juice use high levels (0.13-0.15% w/v) of added calcium.

Low levels of calcium fortification, typically 0.01% to 0.06% w/v of added calcium, are used in clear ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. The soluble calcium salts commonly used for this application are calcium chloride, calcium fumarate, calcium lactate, calcium lactate gluconate, calcium gluconate and calcium citrate malate.

During storage, calcium-fortified clear RTD beverages are prone to calcium salt precipitation, which is influenced by calcium level, pH, the specific acids present, the calcium source used and other ionic species present in the system. Whereas citric, phosphoric and tartaric acids tend to increase the probability of calcium salt precipitation, malic acid tends to increase calcium salt solubility due to its ability to form stable soluble-calcium complexes.

Calcium-fortified water is particularly challenging in terms of providing additional calcium with an acceptable taste. In many cases, lowering the pH from neutral to 5 improves the taste.

Most soluble-calcium salts are added to beverage systems after the addition of acid, since solubility is higher at lower pHs.

Calcium citrate, which can precipitate slowly during long-term storage, can be formed in situ in clear dry-mix beverages, since the consumer normally drinks this beverage immediately after preparation.

Bioavailability depends not only on the calcium source but also on other factors such as diet, test method and physiological state.

“Selection of Calcium Salts for Calcium-fortified Beverages,” Daniel R. Sortwell, Bartek Ingredients Inc.,,