Use of starches in flavor and cloud emulsions is increasing due to the price volatility of the gum market, says Adrienne Stucky, associate food scientist at Tate & Lyle. Starches are becoming increasingly popular as a cost-effective replacement for gum Arabic in flavored oil emulsions, she says. Instant lipophilic starches are able to act as surfactants to create stable emulsions and encapsulate oil which can be used in ready-to-drink beverages, beverage concentrates and dry mixes.

National Starch Food Innovation, Bridegwater, N.J., also has partnered with its customers to identify the challenges they have in delivering stable color, botanicals, vitamins and minerals, and providing solutions through the use of starches, optimizing formulation and processing for a stable, fortified beverage, says Dinah Diaz, the company’s market development manager for emulsification and encapsulation.

“National Starch offers high-performance starch emulsifiers that provide desirable price stability and speed up manufacturing times for more efficient production,” she says. “Conventional emulsifiers like gum Arabic can suffer from price and supply chain fluctuations.”

Starches also can help reduce the cost of formulating smoothies and juices with superfruits, Tate & Lyle’s Stucky says. “A low level of starch can replace some of the fruit solids to achieve the desired thickness and reduce the sugar content,” she says.

Creating lower calorie beverages, through the blending of caloric and non-caloric sweeteners, with the same taste as regular products is a continuing formulation trend, Stucky says. Sometimes the mouthfeel will be altered when sugar solids are reduced, so combining starches with the non-caloric sweetener systems can help the product developer reach targeted product characteristics, she says.

Starches also can act as thickeners when required to suspend ingredients and provide a creamy mouthfeel. For dry mixes, starches must disperse and hydrate quickly to avoid lumpy and gritty textures, Stucky says. Tate & Lyle offers several starches which are cold water soluble and can be used in beverages.

National Starch supplies modified food starches like Purity Gum and natural emulsifiers, such as Q-Naturale to function as stabilizers. Q-Naturale is an emulsifier for sparkling and new age beverages, fortified waters and juices. Q-Naturale is made from quillaja, which is plant-derived and organic. The ingredient has the ability to create high oil load emulsions, the company says.

Beverage-makers are currently using hydrocolloid starches in their functional and health and wellness beverages to emulsify oil soluble actives and deliver vitamins and other fortifications for functional beverages, Diaz says.

Another major area of interest in the beverage industry is the ability to formulate clear beverages. National Starch is working on providing starch solutions to customers to allow for clear beverages, Diaz says.BI