Acacia Gum to Co-processed Fibers
Americans are interested in consuming foods with health benefits. One of the most popular food components likely consumed for a specified health condition is fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system.

One commercially available acacia gum with a 90% soluble dietary fiber content is useful for baked goods formulations. Its nutritional properties have been supported by more than 80 in vitroandin vivostudies. At 6, 10 and 15g per day, research supports its ability as a prebiotic fiber. It is all-natural, GMO-free, and has no chemical or enzymatic modification. Sebastien Baray, technical manager for Colloides Naturels Inc., explained, “Acacia fiber has a high degree of gastrointestinal tolerance in humans, promoting gut comfort and well-being.” This is a gentle dietary fiber with no side effects below 50g per day, he added, during a presentation titled, “Exploring Natural Ways to Make Your Baked Products Tastier and Healthier.”

Acacia is easy to use and does not require heat to activate its functionality. It is highly compatible with other ingredients and many processing conditions and has a very low viscosity. For example, at 1% concentrations at room temperatures, the viscosities (cP) of various gums are as follows: guar (3,500), locust bean (3,000), tragacanth (700), carrageenan-lambda (500) and acacia (5). (See chart “Hydrocolloid Viscosities.”) It disperses easily and without taste or odor.

Baray went on to say a human clinical study confirmed that acacia gum significantly enhanced growth of BifidobacteriaandLactobacilli. “At 10 and 15g per day, a four-fold increase in ‘friendly bacteria’ occurred,” he said. Another study showed a prebiotic effect at 6g per day.

Other studies show adding acacia gum to bakery products can convert high-glycemic index foods to ones with a medium-glycemic index. Adding up to 10.5% acacia gum to crispbreads resulted in a product with 11.3% dietary fiber (AOAC 985.29), while at the same time adding crispiness, crumb homogeneity and dough elasticity. Acacia gum at 3% in chocolate chip cookies made them chewier and less crumbly and were judged to have superior eating qualities over the standard product during the duration of shelflife. Muffins with 1% acacia gum have a slightly more peaked top and softer chew.

Overall functionality of acacia gum in bakery products includes adding soluble dietary fiber, improving texture and stabilizing moisture. Acacia gum enhances gluing properties as a binder in cereal bars, improves film formation as an egg wash replacer at 25-30% in water, and also improves “toastability,” with faster surface browning. Additionally, it promotes energy reduction during extrusion.

Baray also discussed another innovative stabilizer that is a combination of two co-processed, all-natural dietary fibers. The insoluble fiber particles are uniformly encapsulated and integrated into the soluble fiber matrix. The innovation is manufactured using proprietary co-drying technology that uses only water and energy. Baray stated that this instantized, dust-free and innovative fiber combination dissolves easily in cold water, and develops its viscosity immediately after dissolution. It requires no heat or shear for activation. The synergy between the two co-processed fibers results in a higher viscosity than with the two fibers added separately.

Nutritionally, this innovation combines the prebiotic and GI-lowering benefits of acacia gum with the known positive effects of insoluble wheat fibers on transit regulation. This ingredient also has a guaranteed level of 90% dietary fiber on a dry-weight basis, with a caloric value lower than 2Kcal/g, and is non-cariogenic.

Acacia gum can be used as a fat replacer in baked products, in addition to acting as a water binder, enhancer of freeze/thaw stability, texture improver or egg replacer. Products enhanced by the ingredient include bread, pizza dough, pie crust and muffins. These products enjoyed fiber enhancement, caloric reduction and consumer-friendly labeling.
“Exploring Natural Ways to Make Your Baked Products Tastier and Healthier,” Sebastien Baray, technical manager, Colloides Naturels Inc., sbaray@cnius.com
--Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor


The Benefits of Calcium-based Leavenings
The bakery industry is decreasing sodium and increasing calcium in baked products. “Consumers care, and they are reading labels,” said John Brodie, technical service manager--bakery, Innophos Inc. Using calcium-based leavening agents allows new, healthier muffins, pancakes and biscuits product introductions. (See chart “Sodium and Calcium Claims.”)

Dietary guidelines for Americans in 2005 recommended choosing and preparing foods with little salt. The recommendation is less than 2,300mg per day of sodium consumption, which is approximately 1tsp of salt. Individuals with hypertension, African-Americans, and middle-aged and older adults should consume no more than 1,500mg sodium per day.

The American Medical Association has recommended revoking the GRAS status of salt and targeting a 50% cut in salt intake by 2016. AMA wants FDA to improve labeling, so consumers better understand the amount of salt in food, as well as to educate consumers about the benefits of long-term, moderate reductions of sodium.

 Sodium reductions are happening globally, also. In the U.K., the Food Standards Agency recommends less than 2,300mg per day. Canada and the European Commission are reviewing regulations. The challenge to industry is to reduce sodium, while keeping the product flavor and texture characteristics. Minimizing or maintaining cost is also an issue.

“Salt as an ingredient enhances flavors, balances sweetness and is inexpensive,” stated Brodie, during his presentation, “The Benefits of Calcium-based Leavening Agents to Reduce Sodium Levels in Baked Goods.” Salt replacement can involve flavor systems, but may create artificial notes and increase ingredient costs. Other options to reduce sodium include using other bicarbonates and various leavening acids or combinations of acids and bicarbonates.

Potassium-based bicarbonate replaces sodium bicarbonate and is a good option for low-sodium applications. It is also a source of potassium, but it is not a direct replacement. Potassium bicarbonate contains 44% carbon dioxide, when compared with 52% in sodium bicarbonate. Therefore, 19% more potassium bicarbonate is required, and it is more expensive than sodium bicarbonate.

Ammonium bicarbonate generates carbon dioxide by heat decomposition. No leavening acid is required. It is typically used in low-moisture products like cookies and crackers. The moisture level should be less than 5%, so the ammonia gas can bake out.

Common leavening acids include the calcium phosphates, sodium acid pyrophosphates, sodium aluminum phosphate and blends, and other acids (like glucono delta lactone and sodium aluminum sulfate). Brodie mentioned that a patented, non-sodium-based multi-functional leavening agent has been specially formulated to replace sodium-based, slow-acting leavening agents. It is a combination of calcium acid pyrophosphate and monocalcium phosphate anhydrous. It not only reduces sodium, but increases calcium at the same time. In addition to providing a neutral flavor, fine cell structure, improved texture, moist soft finished product and a dough conditioning effect, the ingredient is economical and can be used alone or with other leavening acids.

Brodie noted that applications include layer cakes, pound cakes, snack cakes, biscuits, scones, muffins, pancakes, frozen biscuits, frozen yeast bread products, batters and breadings, dry mixes, self-rising flour and baking powders. A specialty blend of calcium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate anhydrous and sodium aluminum phosphate is used in freezer-to-oven products like frozen pizza, pockets and Stromboli-type products, as well as frozen biscuits and sweet rolls. It allows for reduced proofing time. This blend can partially replace yeast, increases tolerance to abuse and allows for development of new product types.
“The Benefits of Calcium-based Leavening Agents to Reduce Sodium Levels in Baked Goods,” John Brodie, technical service manager--Bakery, Innophos Inc., john.brodie@innophos.com
--Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor

Fruitful Antioxidant Enrichment
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals, which start chain reactions that damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions, by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions, by being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing agents, such as thiols or polyphenols.

Information on antioxidants in food formulations, specifically raisin products, was the topic of the seminar titled, “Antioxidant Enrichment of Foods,” presented by Thomas J. Payne, food industry consultant for the California Raisin Marketing Board.

Payne went on to explain, “As oxidative stress might be an important part of many human diseases, the use of antioxidants in pharmacology is intensively studied, particularly in treating stroke and neurodegenerative disorders. However, it is not known if oxidative stress is the cause or consequence of disease.”

Antioxidants are widely used as ingredients in dietary supplements, with the hope of maintaining health and preventing diseases, such as cancer and coronary heart disease.

Some foods that contain large amounts of antioxidants come under the “antioxidant halo,” and include raisins, pomegranates, berries, prunes and flax. The phenols found in fruit have repeatedly been shown to have antioxidant activity, and they help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells in the body, Payne offered. The total antioxidant activity of many fruits and vegetables has been found to be exactly parallel to their total phenol content.

Raisins take their place in this list, alongside prunes and apricots, as an antioxidant-rich fruit. The flavonols (a type of phenol belonging to the flavonoid family) in raisins appear to be least affected by the grape-drying process, but raisins do contain fewer phenols than grapes. Many of the phenols found in grapes are largely lost in the conversion of grapes to raisins. These phenols include the hydroxycinnamics (caftaric and coutaric acids), procyanidins and flavan-3-ols.

However, according to Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) ratings, raisins are an excellent source of antioxidants and a good way to add antioxidant value to foods. Product enhancements can include breakfast, confectionery, cereals and snacks.

According to Payne, antioxidant-labeled products have grown considerably since 2001, and, in 2007, the largest segment of products with antioxidant labeling was beverages. Examination of worldwide antioxidant-containing products shows drinks in first place, with processed meat, fish and egg products, and meals and meal centers next in line, respectively. Snacks, bakery, sauces and seasonings, and confectionery are also in the mix.

New products containing raisins have also continued to grow, opined Payne, with cereals and cereal bars, bakery products and snacks continuing to prove that antioxidant enrichment sells. A ½-cup of raisins has an ORAC score of 2,490. This score can grow by adding pecans (6,340 total ORAC score), cinnamon (5,968), coffee (2,843) or chocolate (4,376). Clearly, raisins are a great way to integrate antioxidants into new products.

“Antioxidant Enrichment of Foods,” Thomas J. Payne, food industry consultant, California Raisin Marketing Board, 650-340-8563, tpayne@tjpmd.com
--Summary by Barbara T. Nessinger, Associate Editor

Leavening with Less Sodium
With 41% of the population stating they check for sodium on nutrition labels, sodium reduction is one of the top food manufacturer initiatives, said Nadeen B. Myers, MTS--food phosphates specialist, ICL Performance Products LP, in a presentation titled, “Low-sodium Leavening Alternatives.” Additionally, new USDA dietary guidelines and the Canadian Health Ministries are encouraging reduction of salt and sodium, along with increases in potassium. Processed food is the source of 77% of dietary sodium.

According to the National Academy of Sciences’ “2004 Dietary Reference Intake for Electrolytes and Water” report, recommendations for healthy 19-50-year-olds are 1.5g sodium and 2.3g of chloride daily. This is equivalent to 3.89g of salt, which is needed for replacing sodium lost in sweat and to achieve a diet that provides sufficient amounts of other essential nutrients. The tolerable upper limit for salt was set at 5.8g per day. “More than 95% of American men and 75% of women consume salt in excess of the upper limit,” noted Myers.

In baking, sodium is often a part of the leavening system that functions to form gas bubbles, creating a porous texture, increased volume and typical cell structures, as well as modifying crumb color and/or improving eating quality. Leavening forms include physical, biological or chemical. An example of a chemical leavening reaction involves the neutralization of an acid salt with sodium bicarbonate, in the presence of heat and water, to form a neutral salt. Leavening acid choice is primarily based on the timing of when the carbon dioxide is desired to be released, which in turn depends on the product type, the process and potentials for abuse. Nutritional, legal, cost, flavor and texture considerations are additional factors impacting leavening acid choice, said Myers.

Myers explained there are many types of chemical leavening acids. They include phosphates, such as monocalcium phosphate (MCP), anhydrous monocalcium phosphate (AMCP), sodium aluminum phosphate (SAIP), dimagnesium phosphate (DMP), sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP), calcium acid pyrophosphate (CAPP) and dicalcium phosphate (DCPD).

MCP and anhydrous MCP are hydration-activated. SAPP and CAPP are time-activated, and SAIP, DMP and DCPD are heat-activated at approximately 38°, 55° and 65°C, respectively. The timing of the leavening reaction is critical, with solubility being an important factor. Solubility is impacted by leavening type, particle size and dough temperature.

With the goal of producing certain desired amounts of carbon dioxide gas, leavening use level is dependent on factors such as product type, mixing and handling, altitude, as well as the character and amount of various ingredients. For example, the pH of other food ingredients must be considered in balancing the leavening in a formula. The goal is usually to have the pH of the finished baked product near neutral (pH 7), but there are exceptions, explained Myers. Leavening calculations are a starting point, where the percent of leavening acid is calculated by dividing the percent of soda by the neutralizing value (NV). The NV equals the parts of soda neutralized by 100 parts of leavening acid. (See chart “Neutralizing Values for Leavening Acids.”)

Calcium acid pyrophosphate (CAPP) provides controlled release in baking. It is also a good source of calcium and does not contribute sodium. It provides consistent leavening rates and delivers finished products that are tender and have uniform cell structure. CAPP can be used in refrigerated and frozen applications where SAIP and SAPP are currently used. CAPP is allowed for use in applications in Europe, where SAIP is currently not allowed, and it provides a neutral flavor profile. A muffin formula substituting CAPP for SAIP goes from 15mg calcium and 230mg sodium to 143mg calcium and 139mg sodium. CAPP is a useful leavening agent that can be incorporated into healthful, convenient products that must follow sodium guidelines dictated by specialty food retailers.
“Low-sodium Leavening Alternatives,” Nadeen B. Myers, MTS, food phosphates specialist, ICL Performance Products LP, nadeen.myers@icl-pplp.com
--Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor

Sensory Shelflife Studies: What, Why, When and How?
Using a “what, why, when and how” model helps determine shelflife decisions, said Julie Boutaghou, sensory manager, rtech Laboratories, atPrepared Foods’ R&D Applications Seminar-Chicago, in a presentation titled, “Sensory Shelflife Studies: What, Why, When and How?” The “what” component asks, “What is the acceptable shelflife of a product?” The “why” asks, “Why look at shelflife?” and the “when” asks, “When should shelflife testing be done?” Lastly, the “how” relates to how a company goes about answering shelf-life questions. 

When looking at shelflife, one might compare the printed code/expiration date to whether or not the item is still suitable for consumption. “Defining ‘suitable for consumption’ becomes your decision criteria,” said Boutaghou. “The decision criteria are often business decisions, but for the ‘how,’ business units will usually rely on (the) sensory (department) working with R&D for a recommendation.”

Two common questions are: “Are we determining the end of shelflife?” and “Are we trying to confirm shelflife?” The following two case studies offer varied approaches for these different questions. Boutaghou suggests starting with what is known about the product to estimate how long to monitor its sensory properties and/or acceptability over the item’s shelflife.

In one case study, a new product, a sauce in a pouch, was presented. The company did not have much information about how long it would last (“what”) and needed to know how many months to use for code dating (“why”).  For this product, the technical recommendation was to hold evaluations every other week (“when”). The “how” aspect resulted in using a small panel of R&D scientists and technologists to rate the product acceptable or unacceptable, relative to a blind control.

Another case study involved a snack seasoning with a current shelflife standard of six months, at ambient warehouse conditions. The company wanted to confirm if this was appropriate and see if the shelflife could be extended to nine months (“why”). The “when” factor involved monthly evaluations, comparing the product to a frozen control. Acceptance testing (“how”) was done using 60 employees as a low-cost stand-in for consumers.

Boutaghou recommends, “Gather what you know about the product. Clearly state why you want to do a study, decide how long you want to evaluate the product, and how often. Finally, make sure the methodology meets the objective.” 

“Sensory Shelflife Studies: What, Why, When and How,” Julie Boutaghou, sensory manager, rtech Laboratories, 651-481-2869, JMBoutaghou@landolakes.com, www.landolakes.com
--Summary by: Barbara T. Nessinger, Associate Editor