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The market for Specialty Ingredients remain attractive in India
Friday, 17 July, 2009, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
The market for specialty ingredients remains an attractive one for the food companies looking out for adding innovations to their products. Adding these ingredients can be extremely valuable as it can help them to differentiate their product from those of their competitors and allow them to have a positive consumer image in the market.

Specialty ingredients are defined by their ability to impart a distinct performance benefit to a formulated product. They often provide benefits that can be used in the marketing of the product and adding the extra benefit for the consumer satisfaction. However this definition has not yet been put on paper by PFA, it is a definition which has emerged due to the blurring of the traditional terminologies.

Emulsifiers, acidulants, phytochemicals, low calorie sweeteners, flavours, colors, enzymes etc including the nutritional ingredients are covered under specialty ingredients. The products that contain such ingredients usually have claims such as high fiber, low cholesterol, cholesterol lowering, low phosphorus milk, probiotic fermented milk etc and they have a huge market acceptance because the consumers globally are becoming more aware of the health benefits associated with various food components and they are wanting for more such added benefits.

Talking of one of the examples of uses of specialty ingredients, we can look at the high fiber breads. When one makes a claim of high fiber for breads, whole grain is not the only solution to increase the fiber in breads. Specialty fiber ingredients can be added with minimal or no effect on properties of final product. Certain specialty resistant starch with clean, neutral taste and white in appearance allows incorporation into all types of breads. While fibre ingredients change bread's texture, resistant starch improves it and also boosts fibre content.

Thus to be precise on the boost of the use of specialty ingredients, we can only say that the most successful ingredients manufacturers will be those best able to respond to the needs of their consumers. At the high end of the market this requires constant innovation to help the companies develop novel products in their existing markets and these ingredients are the key to the success.

Emulsifiers are produced from natural vegetable and animal oils and fats. Their ability to bind oil and water in an emulsion, to improve processing tolerance and extend shelf life makes them indispensable in the development and production of modern food products.

Emulsifiers are surface active agents (surfactants) which reduce interfacial tension between outer and inner phase. It forms mono-molecular interfacial films due to hydrophilic and lipophlic groups within the same molecule.

Functions of emulsifiers include stabilisation of emulsions (margarine, ice-cream, mayonnaise, sausage), starch complexing (breads, pasta products, instant mashed potatoes), protein interaction (breads, toasts/rusks, biscuits), foaming and aeration (whipped topping cream, aerated batters/desserts, ice-creams), viscosity control (chocolates), and lubrication/release (sugar confectionery, chewing gum, pan release).

In yeast raised products, emulsifiers with long fatty acid chain get easily entrapped by helical amylose chains, forming complex molecules thereby preventing retrogradation and leading to retardation of staling in bread. The main emulsifiers are Smoothex GMS / Finamul 90 (Mono di-glycerides), Finamul-97 (Sodium stearoyl lactylates)

In breads and rolls, certain emulsifiers can interact with proteins, particularly wheat gluten and strengthen its structure, thereby enhancing the gas retaining ability in yeast raised doughs. The main emulsifiers are Finamul-97 (Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate), Finamul-DL (Datem), Finamul-PGE (Polyglycerol ester).

Certain specialised emulsifiers like P.G.P.R. forms stable water in oil emulsions which can facilitate the easy release of bakery products like breads/cakes based products from baking sheets and pans leading to good demoulding/release properties, neutral taste and economical as it entails saving upto 60% of vegetable oils.

Emulsifiers are used to facilitate aeration and provide faster whipping rate of the cake batter, leading to uniform cell structure and higher volume, emulsification of shortening and water, thereby aiding fat dispersion (fat containing batters) and providing protection to protein film wall and hence eliminating film disruption. (Integrity of foam walls, formed by the proteins, determines cake volume), softer crumb, higher shelf life, all-in-method possible (single stage) leading to considerable saving of time.

Alpha tending emulsifiers help in stabilising the mono-glycerides in the alpha form, thereby leading to stability of air bubble during the baking. Normally it has been observed that wheat based products have water activity (aw) of 0.8-0.88. Hence spoilage in wheat based product primarily due to growth of moulds.

Recently Danisco created a new cost-effective dough strengthener- PANODAN® B2020, developed to help the European bakery industry face up to the economic slowdown. An optimised alternative to existing dough strengtheners, PANODAN® B2020 can be added at a ratio of 1:1 with no need to adjust the bread formulation or process.

"We have used our knowledge of emulsifier functionality and production to optimise performance at a lower cost. In tests, PANODAN® B2020 has proven an effective alternative to the standard dough strengthening products on the market and will improve bakers' profits instantly," says Anne Kirsten Andersen, global marketing manager at Danisco.

Preservatives in breads (Propionates) is highly effective against moulds and rope forming bacteria, widely used in yeast leavened goods as they have no activity against yeast, activity depends on the proportion of undissociated propionic acid which is available. At lower pH, the proportion of undissociated acid will he higher, optimum pH is found to be around 5.5, anti-microbial activity is due to the intervention in the carbohydrate metabolism & inhibition of DNA synthesis of the micro-organisms. The products offered are Romoban - Calcium Propionate, Romoban - Sodium Propionate and Finaban-RM - Liquid Preservative.

Preservatives in cakes (sorbic acid and its salts) is highly effective against moulds and rope forming bacteria. It is widely used in aerated batters and cannot be used in breads as they have significant activity against the yeast used. Activity depends on the proportion of undissociated sorbic acid which is available.

The future of enzymes will be on encapsulated preservatives for saving of yeast in yeast raised goods, manufacture of spray dried readily dispersible emulsifier systems for convenience foods, integrated functional systems like bread improvers, cake improvers for better productivity, development of speciality emulsifiers for frozen dough systems, and developing liquid emulsifier functional systems, for better processability, based on the HLB concepts.

In colours, specialty ingredients relate to the quantity and usage/ applications in the food product, according to Sumant Naik from ITC colours. According to Naik bulk ingredients are found in one grade and specialty ingredients are found in multiple grades. Specialty colours are used in quantity as small as 200-300 ppm and flavours in quantity as meager as .01 to .05. According to Naik specialty ingredients is a commercial term without an offici
 
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