Carrageenans for Processed Meats and Poultry
Carrageenans are naturally derived from certain red marine seaweeds and are a member of a group of specialty hydrocolloids that have been used by the NorthMulti-functional Hydrocolloids American food industry for many years. A full overview of the utility of these compounds for processed meats and poultry was provided at the Prepared Foodsí 2009 R&D Applications Seminar-East, ìCarrageenan: Types and Technology for Processed Meat and Poultry,î presented by Harris ìPeteî Bixler, on behalf of Ingredients Solutions Inc. 

Dr. Bixler described carrageenan as a natural, long-chain, water-soluble polymer extracted by three different types of processing: alcohol precipitation, gel press (KCl precipitation) and the natural-grade/semi-refined method. There are four general carrageenan types that produce a wide range of gelling and thickening effects: kappa, iota, lambda and kappa-2.

Kappa and iota carrageenans form thermally-reversible gels with potassium and calcium salts, respectively. Proteins, such as milk, soy and others, will also affect the gel structure. Most kappa and iota carrageenans are not cold-soluble and require heat to completely hydrate. Kappa carrageenans form firm, strong gels and are synergistic with a variety of other gums, such as locust bean and tara gums. Combinations of these gums form stronger gels with less syneresis. Iota carrageenans form very elastic, low-syneresis gels with excellent freeze/thaw stability. Kappa-2 carrageenans are predominantly used for milk gelling, thickening and stabilizing, requiring heat for complete solubility. Lambda carrageenans are soluble in cold water or milk and are non-gelling, providing viscosity, mouthfeel and suspension.

Myosin proteins found in meat interact with carrageenan to form gel networks with a homogeneous texture and enhanced water-binding capacity, reducing cook loss and package purge. Carrageenans of most interest in meats have textural characteristics ranging from elastic (iota) to brittle (kappa). Iota types are generally used in marinated meat and poultry products to retain moisture, improve yields and reduce cook loss, while retaining the natural textural properties of the meat. Kappa types are used in cooked deli products to retain moisture and improve slicing properties, especially when higher pump levels are employed. Carrageenans are often used in combination with other binders, especially starches.

Carrageenans are very cost-effective in their use in meat and poultry. Generally, carrageenan is used at about 0.1-0.15% for every 10% target gain over green weight in processed meats.

The U.S. market for carrageenan is dominated by meat and dairy applications. In the case of meat and poultry, carrageenanís biggest uses are in cooked deli meats (turkey, ham, chicken and beef), rotisserie chicken and turkey, and in case-ready parts, including bone-in. Dairy applications are dominated by chocolate milk, where carrageenan is used to suspend cocoa and improve mouthfeel; frozen desserts to prevent whey-off prior to freezing; and in cultured products, such as cottage cheese dressing and sour cream. In puddings, soups and similar applications, carrageenan is added in very small amounts for mouthfeel improvement, particle suspension or texture modification. Carrageenan is also used as a binder in toothpaste and pet food.

Carrageenan continues to be one of the most cost-effective food gums for numerous food applications, especially in meat, where significant improvements can be realized in texture control and water-binding. The use of carrageenan provides a juicier product that is easier to slice, with a more uniform texture from package to package, at impressive cost-savings. Natural-grade carrageenan (NGC) is accepted by the FDA as a ìnaturalî ingredient, which is of increasing interest to consumers. In addition, carrageenans are organic-allowed, kosher-certified, trans fat-free and GMO-free.

ìCarrageenan: Types and Technology for Processed Meats and Poultry,î Dr. Harris ìPeteî Bixler, retired CEO; Kevin Johndro, lab manager,; Scott Rangus, CEO,; Ingredients Solutions Inc.,
--Summary by Kelley Fitzpatrick, Content Editor,

Using Prebiotic Fibers in White Bread
The disease-prevention benefits of dietary fiber are well-known. In 2007, consumers ranked fiber among the top 10 functional foods. In 2006, products with fiber claims grew 18.4%, the second-highest growth rate seen that year (second only to antioxidants, at 21%). Consumer awareness of fiber and its benefits continue to grow, driven most recently by concerns about gastrointestinal issues. New information is also emerging that certain prebiotic fibers are selectively fermented by beneficial bacteria and are especially useful.

ìPrebiotic fibers stimulate the growth and activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, allowing specific changes in the gastrointestinal microbial population,î explained Lorraine Niba, former business development manager at National Starch, in a presentation titled, ìPrebiotic High Fiber White Bread with High Amylose Resistant Corn Starch and Resistant Dextrin,î given at Prepared Foodsí 2009 R&D Applications Seminar-East. These bacteria confer benefits upon the hostís well-being and health, ranging from increased bulking within the intestinal tract, increased mineral absorption and even metabolism benefits resulting from fermentation. While many fibers are fermented, not all of them have been shown to be prebiotic. However, it is now possible to make white bread containing two prebiotic fibers that maintain the taste and texture characteristics of non-fiber, fortified white bread.

The two prebiotic fibers are an isolated, insoluble, high-amylose, resistant corn starch and a soluble, resistant dextrin. High-amylose, resistant corn starch is an RS2 type of resistant starch, similar to the resistant starch found in legumes and bananas. It is an all-natural source of insoluble fiber, with proven health benefits in over 160 studies. High-amylose resistant corn starch is excellent for baked goods, promoting uniform cell structure, better machinability of dough and ease of handling, without significantly increasing bake or mix time. It provides a predictable quality and performance and has been shown to have a low-glycymic response; to increase beneficial bacteria and bulking; to promote regularity; and to improve metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity. It also is said to increase satiety and shift lipid oxidation.

The second fiber offered is a dextrin-based, soluble fiber, derived from either corn or wheat, both of which deliver a calorie content of 2Kcal/g. It is easy to use, stable to processing and combines great nutrition with enhanced functionality. Niba adds that dextrin-based soluble fiber easily and rapidly disperses; is transparent in solution; provides bulk without viscosifying; improves mouthfeel; and is heat-, acid- and shear-stable.

Some 10-15% of this resistant dextrin is digested in the small intestine, with more than 75% to ferment in the large intestine by probiotic bacteria. It is slowly fermented over the length of the colon with no digestive side effects, leading to excellent digestive tolerance at up to 45g/day. As a prebiotic fiber, resistant dextrin increases beneficial colonic bacteria, decreases pathogenic Clostridia, decreases fecal pH and increases short-chain fatty acids.

Prebiotic, high-fiber white bread with dextrin-based soluble fiber has excellent quality; no impact on taste or color; no change in bread volume or texture; and qualifies for an ìexcellent source of fiberî claim at 5g fiber per serving of bread, compared with regular white bread at 1g fiber per serving.

ìPrebiotic, High-fiber White Bread with High Amylose Resistant Corn Starch and Resistant Dextrin,î Lorraine Niba, former business development manager at National Starch; for more information, contact, 
--Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor

Inulin and Oligofructose in Confections, Snacks and Bars
Because inulin and oligofructose are naturally occurring in a variety of vegetables, they have always been present in the typical human diet. However, by extracting them from chicory roots, it is possible to engineer a range of food ingredients with varying degrees of polymerization (DP), which  imparts differing functional properties.

ìThe lower DP fraction, or oligofructose fraction, is highly soluble. It does not crystallize, and it contributes sweetness, but it is more sensitive to hydrolysis in acid conditions and high temperatures compared to inulin,î explained Joseph OíNeill, executive vice president, sales and marketing, for BENEO, during ìNutritional and Technical Benefits of Inulin and Oligofructose in Functional Confections, Snacks and Bars,î presented at Prepared Foodsí 2009 R&D Seminar Applications-Chicago. ìThe higher DP fraction is the inulin fraction, which has lower solubility than oligofructose and makes somewhat less contribution to sweetness, but does contribute to a smooth texture in the final product, and is relatively less sensitive to hydrolysis in acid conditions and high temperatures.î

Both inulin and oligofructose support healthy digestive function via the prebiotic effect; that is, it selectively nourishes beneficial gastrointestinal bacteria, in addition to providing all the benefits of traditional forms of dietary fiber.

Chicory inulin can be used for fat replacement in water-based systems, and it improves the texture of low-fat foods. Oligofructose can be used to replace sugar, adding sweetness synergistically with other sweeteners. Sugar can be reduced up to 25%, without the use of intense sweeteners, by mixing sucrose, fructose and oligofructose to maintain the original sweetness, flavor and texture. When used in conjunction with intense artificial sweeteners, such as acesulfame-K or aspartame, oligofructose adds body and contributes to a clean, rounded, sugar-like taste with no aftertaste or off-flavor.

OíNeill stated that in cereal bars, oligofructose not only replaces sugar, but also provides binding and moisture-retention properties, acting as a humectant, resulting in prolonged shelflife, as it inhibits hardening. Liquid syrups of 85-90% fiber content for enrichment and sugar-reduction are recommended for cereal bars. But, for a ìno sugar addedî bar, or when dry solids play a role, oligofructose containing 95% fiber is recommended.

When inulin is used in combination with oligofructose-binding syrups in bars, it should be added at the hot process stage. In reduced-sugar or fiber-enriched products, highly-soluble inulin is preferred. Standard inulin offers texture benefits for fiber-enriched formulations. For sweet goods, inulin and oligofructose can be good fiber sources using either of two approaches: addition of standard or long-chain inulin to dough, but with no substitution of other ingredients; or by partial replacement of sugar. This can be done in cakes, semi-sweet cookies, shortbread, oatmeal raisin cookies, crackers, sponge cakes or flat wafers.

In confections, added OíNeill, ìoligofructose can replace 30-60% of the sugar in caramels, maintaining a smooth texture and adding fiber. For nougat candy, oligofructose partially replaces sugar, while maintaining aerated textures.î Oligofructose is also easy to use in hard candy. It is suitable for sugar and sugar syrup replacement, maintaining similar viscosity to sugar during the cooling/kneading phase. Inulin/polyol blends are also useful for improving nutritional and flavor properties in reduced-sugar and sugar-free chocolate. Inulin is noted for reducing the cooling effect of sugar alcohols.

As prebiotics, inulin and oligofructose are proven to help improve gut health; maintain healthy weight; modulate lipid metabolism; increase immune system resistance; and increase calcium absorption. Clinical studies have shown  oligofructose-enriched inulin can help to maintain normal weight gain in adolescents, significantly reducing total daily energy intake and lowering body mass index overall.

OíNeill summarized that inulin and oligofructose are multifunctional ingredients, offering unique technical and nutritional benefits that meet the demands of todayís health-conscious consumer. 
ìNutritional and Technical Benefits of Inulin and Oligofructose in Functional Confections, Snacks and Bars,î Joseph OíNeill, executive VP, sales and marketing, BENEO Inc.,,  
--Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Editor