Rice derivatives deliver unique functional advantages and provide added value to a range of foods. Because there are 240,000 registered varieties of rice worldwide, each with its own characteristics and attributes, rice derivatives can serve a number of functions in food processing. Rice derivatives often are added to soups, sauces, baked goods and other food products to enhance taste, improve creaminess, provide a smooth, glossy finish and add nutritional value.

One rice starch recently was developed by A&B Ingredients, Fairfield, N.J., to mimic the functionality of gelatin.

Gelatin alternatives are highly desirable to food processors. Religious and vegetarian lifestyle choices may prohibit certain consumer groups from eating foods like yogurt, whipped desserts, lowfat margarine spreads and other products containing gelatin, an animal-based ingredient. Rice starch also can be more economical than gelatin.

“The functionality of gelatin in yogurts is well-documented,” says Gil Bakal, managing director. “But for health and religious reasons, food processors have been seeking vegetarian alternatives to gelatin with little success. While the unique functionality of gelatin has—up to now—been hard to emulate, we offer an extremely viable rice starch-based alternative that is economically priced and kosher.”

The ingredient developed is called Gelatin Replacement System or GRS. Like gelatin, GRS binds water. The GRS system should be dispersed well in cold water and then heated to about 90°F to produce a rigid gel that sustains a large deformation before breaking, while still preserving the sheen and other characteristics associated with gelatin.

The system comes close to matching the typical 50% break deformation of gelatin. Once it breaks down in the mouth and loses its structure, it does not exhibit any viscous flow or grittiness. Although it is not clear like gelatin, in a large number of applications, such as yogurt and spreads, this is not a problem.

A usage level of two to three times the amount of gelatin used is suggested as a good starting point for GRS in most applications. Swiss-style yogurt can be produced by incorporating GRS at a 0.75-0.90% concentration and cup set yogurt can be made by using a concentration of 0.3-0.5%. The ingredient can be used in a number of other food applications, including mousses and whipped toppings.

A gelatin alternative allows processors of yogurts, whipped desserts and other products to market their products to vegetarians.
Compared to other starches, rice starches have a better resistance to process stress, are more stable with very slow retrogradation, create smooth gels with creamy structure, have a high hot set and, due to the small granule size, are imperceptible in the mouth, says the supplier. The label declaration for this ingredient would be “modified rice starch” or “modified food starch.”

Bakal notes the company can help tailor a system to each customer's specific requirements, depending on the amount of gelatin they are currently using and the amount of texture and/or sheen they require.

For more information:
Gil Bakal at 973-227-1390
A&B Ingredients Write in 201