Home » Beverage R&D: Working in tandem to boost nutrition
Beverage R&D: Working in tandem to boost nutrition
The continual development of health and wellness beverages also has advanced the application of hydrocolloids. These ingredients used as emulsifiers, stabilizers and gelling agents include acacia gum, pectin, carrageenan and xanthan, among others.
Incorporating vitamins, minerals and other fortifications into
beverages can be accomplished by using hydrocolloids without impacting
flavor or texture, says Jane Schulenburg, marketing director, global
positioning at CP Kelco, Atlanta. In addition to nutrition and
fortification trends driving the use of hydrocolloids, the demand for
more natural and eco-friendly products is increasing hydrocolloid
inclusions, adds Sebastien Baray, technical manager at Colloides
Naturels International (CNI), Rouen, France. For beverage-makers
formulating organic products, hydrocolloid suppliers offer organic or
organic-compliant hydrocolloids as well.
More healthful smoothies and probiotic drinks using hydrocolloids
also are entering the market, says Grace Wang, food scientist at
Belcamp, Md.-based TIC Gums. “We’ve also seen increased interest in
adding a gelled texture to beverages, which can be achieved by using
gelling agents like agar carrageenan,” she says.
Hydrocolloids also are appearing in more juice drinks for the
specific functions the ingredients can provide. For example, juice
drinks containing 10 to 40 percent juice with additional ingredients
such as water, sugar and citric acid normally are thinner in body and
texture than a 100 percent juice product. “The use of a hydrocolloid or
a blend of hydrocolloids at a level of 0.05 to 0.3 percent can restore
or mimic the body or mouthfeel of real juice,” says Wen J. Shieh,
beverage technical manager at Cargill Texturizing Solutions,
In protein-enriched juice smoothies, the pH of the beverage will
cause precipitation of protein during storage. The addition of a
hydrocolloid, such as high ester pectin, will provide stabilization of
protein to prevent the precipitation, Shieh says.
Hydrocolloids also aid low- and no-calorie beverages. When a
nutritive sweetener is replaced with high-intensity sweeteners, the
resulting beverage will have a body or mouthfeel similar to water,
Shieh says. “The addition of a hydrocolloid or a blend of hydrocolloids
at a level of 0.05 to 0.2 percent will be able to impart the mouthfeel
close to that of a full-calorie beverage,” he says.
To recover the body and mouthfeel when using sugar substitutes, CP
Kelco developed specialty hydrocolloids Genu Pectin and Keltrol Xanthan
Gum. CP Kelco’s Genu Pectins are polysaccharides derived from naturally
occurring structural components in fruits and vegetables, such as
citrus peel and sugar beets.
“Incorporating Genu Pectin is an excellent way to obtain enhanced
mouthfeel when reducing sugar in fruit-flavored beverages,” CP Kelco’s
Schulenburg says. “Genu Pectin’s unique physical and rheological
properties allow the ability to recover body lost when removing sugar
without merely adding back viscosity. Such beverages will exhibit the
expected properties of a full-sugar product without all the calories.”
Stabilization of protein- containing drinks at a pH of
approximately 4, similar to smoothies and milk-juice drinks, work well
with YM grades of Genu Pectin, Schulenburg says. “These grades are
specifically designed to associate with proteins in the pH range of 3.8
to 4.2, and protect the proteins from aggregation, even during heat
treatment,” she says.
CP Kelco also developed Kelcogel Gellan Gum to provide suspension
of insoluble ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty
acids and proteins, without impacting drinking viscosities. Kelcogel
Gellan Gum allows formulators more ingredient options without
sacrificing shelf appeal because it does not set or hard pack at the
bottom of the bottle, Schulenberg says. It also provides a more
palatable drinking experience due to low viscosity, she adds.
“Suspension with Kelcogel Gallan Gum is made possible by the
formation of a fluid gel network,” Schulenberg explains. “The network
functions through self- association of large molecules, creating an
entangled network, which can suspend insoluble ingredients uniformly
throughout the beverage.
“The beverage maintains a weak gel character in the liquid, so
that when the beverage is undisturbed â€” as on the grocery shelf â€” the
viscosity is high and provides excellent suspension properties. Upon
agitation â€” as in drinking or pouring â€” the network is disrupted and
the viscosity decreases to a point where the product has a pourable
consistency with smooth texture, providing a mouthfeel that is low vs.
Other gums like guar and xanthan, used to thicken beverages like
smoothies, also are available in new varieties. TIC Gums launched Guar
Flavor Free 4000 and a line of blends using Flavor Free Guar, which
does not contain the beany flavors associated with guar, the company’s
TIC Gums also developed a new process called FASTir for rapid
hydration and dissolution. “FASTir CMC 6000, FASTir Xanthan and FASTir
Xanthan EC are perfect for instant dry mix beverages depending on
natural status, the need to suspend particulates and conditions â€” for
example, alcohol, salt, etc.,” Wang says.
Developing hydrocolloid substitutes is another area of development
for hydrocolloid providers. CNI released Eficacia, an all-natural
substitute for acacia gum, modified starch and modified acacia gum.
Eficacia is obtained through a chemical-free and enzyme-free
proprietary process that enhances its stabilizing properties, CNI’s
Baray says. It can be labeled as acacia gum, he says.
Another new hydrocolloid substitute from CNI is Thixogum S, a
synergistic co-processed blend of highly purified acacia gum and
xanthan gum. Thixogum S combines the emulsifying and stabilizing
properties of acacia gum with the thickening and suspending abilities
of xanthan gum to provide mouthfeel for juice-based drinks, while
stabilizing pulps and essential oils. Due to its granulated and
dust-free form, Thixogum S is instantly dispersible in cold water with
no formation of lumps, Baray says.
“Hydrocolloids can be difficult to use because they tend to form lumps when dissolved in an aqueous medium,” he says.
The fiber benefit
In addition to gums providing the important function of mimicking
the original mouthfeel of full-calorie and full-fat products in
low-sugar and low-fat beverages and suspending insoluble ingredients,
gums can augment the overall fiber content.
“Indeed, hydrocolloids are non-digestible carbohydrates that
contribute to the fiber-content of food products,” CNI’s Baray says.
“So in the past few years, all the leading hydrocolloid manufacturers
devoted a tremendous amount of effort to show and prove the nutritional
and health benefits of their products.”
CNI offers Fibregum, the company’s acacia gum with a guaranteed
minimum level of 90 percent soluble fiber and a low viscosity. Acacia
fiber is neutral in taste and color, and is very resilient whatever the
pH of the beverage is, Baray says.
“Low-viscosity hydrocolloids represent the first choice because
they can be used at higher levels in the beverage to reach the
nutritional claim thresholds with no detrimental impact on the
texture,” Baray says.
Combining gums together can produce desired mouthfeel and
functional attributes specific to customer needs, says Aida Prenzno,
laboratory director at Gum Technology, Tucson, Ariz. “Gums that add a
health benefit while also adding or contributing to a favorable
organoleptic property is one of the most popular trends,” she says.
“For example, Gum Technology’s new Coyote Brand Stabilizer
AS-0912, a blend of gum arabic and sugarcane fiber, was developed to
add both soluble and insoluble fiber to beverages without increasing
the viscosity,” Prenzno says.
Acacia gum received an additional health boost at the end of 2008
when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified CNI that it had no
objection to the lowering of the caloric value of acacia gum. The
caloric value was changed from 4 to 1.7 calories per gram.
“The contribution of 2 percent Fibregum added to a 10-ounce
beverage was 24 calories per gram, and it would only be 10 calories per
gram now,” Baray says. “Until very recently, Fibregum was considered a
carbohydrate, thus having a level of 4 calories per gram for the
calculation of the nutritional value of foods. CNI has spent several
years and multiple resources in conducting scientific studies that show
that the actual caloric value of acacia gum is 1.7 caloires per gram.”
TIC Gums’ Wang also thinks acacia gum’s lower caloric value will
give beverage-makers another reason to use the hydrocolloid in their
beverages. “It’s always been used as an emulsifier, but now one might
add more of it to get a fiber claim, but keep the calories at a
minimum,” she says.
Normally the use of hydrocolloids in beverages for mouthfeel and
functionality is very small, and does not add any significant calories
In addition to increased attention to acacia gum for providing
soluble fiber, new research shows that hydrocolloids offer additional
health benefits. For example, fenugreek gum and konjac have shown in
studies to help lower cholesterol. Research has been conducted on
pectin and pectin fragments and the possible positive influence on
cancer. Studies have been done on gut microbial health and how soluble
fibers, such as gums, can affect their levels and functions. The
effects of hydrocolloids on wellness and intestinal comfort and the
beneficial impact of hydrocolloids on blood glycemia are of interest to
consumers too. Hydrocolloids also have shown potential benefits of
rehydration enhancement and mineral absorption.
While many studies are looking at the potential of hydrocolloids
as health ingredients, in most beverage applications, hydrocolloids
currently are used in low levels, below what is needed to create a
health benefit, Cargill Texturizing Solutions’ Shieh cautions.
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The February 2020 issue dives into Essentia water, their high-pH and high aspirations for ongoing innovation. Speaking of innovation, this issue also features a special report on how (and why) the zero-proof functional beverage market is growing. Also, check out what types of rifts and shifts are shaking up the wine category and discount variety stores, as well as the latest ingredient highlights (hint: exotic fruits make an appearance). To cap it off, peruse new product releases, the latest appearances in packaging, and holistic approaches to cognitive health. Thirsty for more? Subscribe to get the latest stories delivered right to your inbox.
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Check back throughout the month for additional content.