Stabilizing Dairy and Soy Drinks with Pectin

Pectin can be used in beverages to increase viscosity, enhance mouthfeel for a “juice-like” texture in soft drinks, facilitate flavor transfer, improve cloud-suspension stability, increase dietary fiber content and stabilize protein.

Quality problems in milk-based drinks like yogurt beverages or juice/milk combinations may occur when the pH is lowered. During production, protein dehydration and agglomeration can occur; during storage, protein sedimentation and serum separation can be an issue; and when the product is finally consumed, the beverage may have a viscosity that is either too high or low, or a “sandy” texture.

Parameters that influence the stability of acidified milk products, besides pH levels, include product viscosity, protein and calcium levels, fat content and soluble solids. Production factors such as fermentation conditions, incubation temperature and time, and the type of culture used in fermented products also are influential, as are the conditions during direct acidification.

The mechanism behind pectin’s ability to stabilize is that it can bind to positively charged protein surfaces. One result is that the amount of pectin required in a formula is proportional to the protein content. Pectin’s optimal stabilizing dose (OSD) can be determined by viscosity and/or sedimentation tests. It is the pectin concentration at which an acidified milk drink shows minimal (the lowest) viscosity and/or the minimum pectin concentration which results in minimal sediment. (See chart “Optimal Pectin Level Determination.”)

Acidic soy protein drinks also can be stabilized with pectin. Soy protein has a similar iso-electric point to that of casein, approximately 4.7. Soy protein isolates and concentrates may not dissolve easily, so good hydration is an important processing step to achieve a stable product. Only increasing a beverage’s viscosity will stabilize the insoluble soy proteins.

Whey proteins are resistant to acid and are soluble in lower pHs. However, during heating processes, whey proteins are denatured and become insoluble. With the addition of pectin, this denaturing process can be prevented or reduced. Whey proteins, which are already partially denatured during production, can lead to sediment formation in beverages. Increasing viscosity with the addition of pectin may help prevent or reduce this sediment formation.

Fruit fibers can increase the viscosity and stability of beverages. They can contribute a high physiological (nutritional) value and neutral organoleptic properties. They may also confer marketing and labeling advantages, as well as technological functions and economical advantages. One proprietary enhanced citrus fiber offers very little plant-derived flavor, has a high swelling capacity, enhances water uptake by shear forces and is available in the form of fine powders. It offers a balanced fiber profile (insoluble/soluble), negligible calorie content, and very high water-binding and retention capacity. Additionally, it can mimic fat, is cold-soaking, readily dispersible and has a high process tolerance and stability.

Pectin prevents the agglomeration of protein and, as a result, phase separation. It helps prevent protein dehydration during heat treatment and the resulting sandy structure. Due to its thickening effect, pectin provides a defined mouthfeel. Fruit fibers can be added for dietary fiber enrichment and also contribute to the mouthfeel and viscosity of fat-reduced beverages.
“Stabilizing Dairy and Soy Drinks with Pectin and other Fruit Fibers,” Frank Mattes, sales manager, Herbstreith & Fox,,
--Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor

Flavorings for Organic Products

For a product to be labeled as organic, there are four primary things to remember: all ingredients must be natural, GMO-free, processed without irradiation and, if agriculturally derived, not fertilized with sewage sludge. To use the “100% organic” claim, certification is required for both the product and manufacturing facility.

Processors who want to use the “organic” claim must follow the four rules. There are many agencies that provide organic certification, but certain government or individual companies do not recognize some of these agencies. The certification process, from start to finish, generally takes upwards of eight to 10 weeks. Key areas of review are in sanitation, pest control, storage, shipping records and production records.

In the U.S., the governing body for organic claims is the National Organic Program (NOP), which is a branch of the USDA. The National List is the list of allowed ingredient materials. The rules are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and are thus considered law. Possible labels for a finished product include: “100% organic,” in which everything in the product is certified organic; “organic,” where 95% of the finished product is certified organic; “made with organic ingredients,” in which over 70% of the ingredients are certified organic; or a rear panel claim for products made with less than 70% organic materials. Thus, the 95/5 rule is when 95% of the finished product is certified organic, and the remaining 5% follows certain other specific criteria. Products meeting requirements for “100% organic” or “organic” can use the USDA organic logo.

Certified flavors follow the certification criteria. Flavors designated as “suitable for organic flavors” can be used in all categories except the “100% certified” group. Flavorings in organic products must follow the rules in section 205.605 of the CFR. Flavor suppliers can be helpful in choosing the right type of flavor for the organic claim desired, because the difference between “suitable” and “100% certified” as it relates to flavor is significant--both in cost and in creative possibilities.
“Flavorings for Organic Products,” Paulette Lanzoff, technical vice president, Synergy Flavors Inc.,,
--Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor