Can you tell us more about the new clean-label natural improvers ‘toolbox’?We have developed a new ‘toolbox’ of natural improvement solutions offering bakers in the Asia Pacific region optimised production processes, better quality end-products, reduced waste and cleaner labels.
The Nutrilac Natural Improvers range is a portfolio of multi-functional ingredients offering targeted benefits for producers of bread, cakes, biscuits and cookies, and bakery fillings. All are made from natural and functional proteins derived from milk and can be listed on-pack simply as ‘milk protein’.
The new ingredients are designed to provide industrial bakers with smoother and more efficient processes, promising easier handling of dough, batters and fillings. They also provide good stability, with the ability to lock in the air whipped into batters and the water kneaded into dough, resulting in optimum freshness, texture and resilience throughout a product’s shelf life.
What other properties do the improvers have?Shelf life itself can also be extended using the natural improvers, because they help a product maintain perfect sensory properties for longer, cutting down on waste and increasing profit margins. The new ingredients can also improve the nutritional profile of a baked product by reducing fat content.
All of these benefits are achieved using natural ingredients, helping bakers maintain cleaner labels by avoiding the many synthetic improvement agents on the market today.
The benefits provided by the ingredients offer manufacturers a multi-functional alternative to gums, enzymes and emulsifiers, which are usually limited in their scope to a single benefit or function.
What motivated the development of the product range?The new range was developed as a result of our experience of supplying milk proteins for egg replacement. Although the main driver for using egg replacers is cost, it was observed that in some markets customers were using the proteins even where there was no cost benefit. When asked about this, they said they were using them for the specific improvements they brought to their production processes.
This inspired us to develop a rage of ingredients that would provide the product formulator with a new set of purpose-designed tools. Over six months, we carried out or commissioned approximately 500 trials, both internal and external, using different milk proteins in a variety of bakery products. Research partners included the Danish School of Bakery and the German Institute of Grain Processing.
The research team identified four specific proteins that displayed the desired, specific functional benefits, and ran trials with these using recipes as diverse as muffins, Berliners, American-style donuts, bread and yeast-raised dough.
These four proteins were found to provide smoother and more efficient processing, with easier handling of dough, batters and fillings. They also provided excellent stability, with the ability to lock in the air whipped into batters and the water kneaded into dough, resulting in optimum freshness, texture and resilience throughout a product’s shelf life.
Subsequently, in May 2013, we introduced the four proteins to the global market as the natural improvers. There are four launch products in the range, marketed under the following names: CH-4560, IM-8027, IM-5566 and IM-7042.
THE INGREDIENTS BAKERS USE ARE BECOMING SUBJECT TO FAR GREATER SCRUTINY, BOTH FROM RETAILERS AND CONSUMERS
What differentiate them from other improvers?Before examining the particular roles and functionalities of the four variants in the natural improvers range, it is important to address one important question—why use them at all when there are already improvers on the market?
Stabilisers, gums, enzymes and other improvers exist for a good reason. They can, for example, help to achieve greater gel strength in a recipe, which leads to improved resilience and therefore fewer losses on the production line.
However, traditional improvers such as these have tended only to offer bakers a single benefit. Where manufacturers have wanted to make two or more adjustments to functionality, they have needed additional improvers.
Our range, conversely, is a flexible ‘toolbox’ in which each of the four proteins can provide multiple benefits during production. There is nothing to stop formulators from integrating more than one improver into a tailored recipe as well.
In addition, there is a growing trend in bakery towards achieving a more ‘natural’ ingredients list. This could be done through fewer ingredients, but is more likely to be found on the idea of using only ‘clean label’ ingredients and the avoidance of ingredients with names that sound like chemicals. The ingredients bakers use are becoming subject to far greater scrutiny, both from retailers and consumers.
As such, while there may be no regulatory reasons why bakery businesses should turn away from traditional improvers, as consumers begin to express their preference for products that are closer to nature, there are sound marketing reasons for doing so.
Our natural improvers tick the right boxes here, allowing manufacturers to enjoy flexibility, cost-effectiveness and minimised wastage in high-volume production—while also allowing for a cleaner ingredients listing.
What are the benefits of each of the improvers?We have tested each improver, measuring its functional impacts against seven different criteria.
In the case of CH-4560, the most noticeable effects were witnessed in improved mixing tolerance, improved creaminess and better surface consistency and colour.
CH-4560’s stabilising influence means that the batter can be mixed, processed and pumped at higher speeds without the risk of collapsing. Alongside this process flexibility, its ability to mimic fat gives products a richer, creamier consistency. Levels of emulsification are high, and freeze-thaw stability is improved. CH-4560 reduces surface stickiness in the finished product thanks to its water-binding characteristics.
Meanwhile, IM-8027 provides water-binding capacity that translates into higher gel strength and consequently the ability to achieve additional output from a given production line.
IM-8027 allows batter viscosity to be increased and improved, and means that inclusions and air bubbles are more evenly distributed through the product. Its emulsifying properties can improve batter stability and homogeneity. In deep-fried applications, tests indicate that it imparts a crispier outer shell to the finished product.
The third ingredient in the new range, IM-5566, provides improved performance in a whipped caked batter with smaller bubbles, which in turn allows for better air retention. Depending on the application, this will yield either higher volume or increased foam stability.
Likewise, the specific textural appeal resulting from the addition of IM-5566 will depend on the type of product. For breads, this may mean a crisper crust, while tests have shown that cookies and biscuits will be crunchier and have more snap.
IM-5566 has also been shown to soften crumb structure in toasted breads, for instance, while greater crumb strength means that breads and cakes are easier to slice, reducing waste and increasing process efficiency.
Lastly, IM-7042 combines the ability to safeguard batter stability and quality, even during vigorous handling and production processes, with greater elasticity and strength in the dough at the kneading stage. As a result, bakers can worry less about batter collapsing, and the consequent wastage, even when a recipe is subjected to high-speed processes and pumping.
Better performance during kneading means that IM-7042 delivers improved yield at this point in the process, too. Its water-binding characteristics make it an ideal emulsifier, as demonstrated by measurements of protein load—In other words, the proportion of protein retained within an emulsion even after it has been centrifuged. Tests showed that the addition of IM-7042 resulted in a marked increase in protein load.
In general, we advise that the natural improvers should be added in the range of 0.5 to two percent of a recipe, depending on the application.
How can the improvers be applied in the Asia Pacific Market?Each ingredient in our range of natural improvers offers a well-defined and thoroughly tested set of functionalities. This allows them to make a major contribution to optimised production, improved product resilience and quality, as well as reduced wastage, longer shelf life and a natural image and cleaner label.
As with the best sets of tools, the versatility of the natural improvers range allows bakers in the Asia Pacific region to be highly specific in the ways they choose to apply it.