Anyone who has scoured a pan to remove burnt-on food until their knuckles were raw should be able to relate to the equipment fouling problem food manufacturers face when using UHT (Ultra High Temperature) processing to sterilize products. Ironically, those busy (scouring) household cooks escalated the popularity of UHT processing by demanding convenient, ready-to-use foods that taste good and are good for you. 

While UHT sterilization preserves the flavor, color and nutritional value of food, manufacturers face processing challenges when running high viscosity products such as sauces and soups. Traditional modified food starches increase viscosity during processing, increasing the propensity for product to cook on or foul. Manufacturers can face considerable downtime because equipment has to be cleaned frequently.

“Most prepared foods contain modified starch, and food manufacturers have been looking for a specialty starch that remains at a low viscosity during UHT processing for years,” says Joe Klemaszewski, senior scientist, dairy applications, for Cargill Texturizing Solutions (CTS). “Our new, patented DeliTex modified tapioca starch offers a unique thin-thick functionality that will benefit manufacturers as well as foodservice providers and consumers.”

Test runs conducted with cheese sauce compared the performance of modified corn starch, modified tapioca starch and DeliTex tapioca starch during UHT processing. Over time (180 minutes), the back pressure needed to process the sauce formulated with modified corn starch increased from approximately 6.0 bars to 8.0 bars. While pressure levels remained constant for modified tapioca starch, it required 6.5 bars to process, compared to 4.0 bars for sauce formulated with DeliTex. The low-viscosity DeliTex sauce flowed more easily through the processing equipment, thus decreasing the fouling effect. (See chart “Fouling with UHT Cheese Sauce.”)

Reduced fouling means improved product quality and longer production runs, which boosts operating efficiencies. Low viscosity during sterilization also facilitates more efficient heat transfer, maintaining hold times throughout the process and reducing energy consumption.

Unlike traditional modified starches, DeliTex starch granules stay intact during high heat and shear, so viscosity is consistent throughout UHT processing. Since processors do not need to add starch to produce an end product with the desired viscosity, processors may reduce ingredient costs. Further, the tapioca-derived starch enhances food functionality without unwanted flavor side-effects often associated with traditional maize starches. 

Sauces and soups formulated with DeliTex maintain low viscosity after UHT processing, so the product can be concentrated but keep its pourablity. Concentrated products made with traditional modified starches are too thick to pump and fill.  Foodservice sauces as well as consumer products can be packaged in smaller containers to save shelf space and reduce packaging waste. Foodservice professionals will realize the advantages of the thin-thick profile DeliTex provides during the second heating process. Prepared foods formulated with the starch develop full viscosity when reheated and remain stable longer with reduced skin formation. Even concentrated products have a comparable viscosity to the standard product after reconstitution.

For more information:
Cargill, Minneapolis
Joe Klemaszewski, 952-742-3327,