Rediscovering Texture—Part 1
Texture plays a critical role throughout the product development process. Understanding its fundamental attributes can lead to innovation and product variety. Unfortunately, although a great deal of attention has been spent on the development of flavors and colors over the years, texture has been frequently overlooked and sometimes even taken for granted. At this year’s IFT Food Expo, visitors are able to see a number of emerging approaches designed for a better understanding of texture as well as ingredient innovations that can help solve texture-related challenges in food formulating.
One of the companies that has taken a pioneering approach to rediscovering texture is National Starch Food Innovation (now part of Ingredion, booth 1211). Ingredion’s Dial-In Texture Technology enables food manufacturers to target and achieve the precise food texture they desire in their product, in far less time than for typical texture explorations. The Dial-In technology is based on the company’s proprietary, data-driven modeling approach to texture understanding and formulation. It’s an integration of core capabilities in consumer insights, material science, sensory evaluation, and application and processing knowledge. It enables the company to rapidly optimize the texture system in a food application “dialing in” the appropriate level and intensity of the individual texture attributes desired. This approach, according to the company, has been instrumental in helping food manufacturers bring new products to market quickly—yogurt, baked snacks, dairy desserts, tomato-based and creamy sauces, salad dressings, and gluten-free baked goods.
Many of the prototype products featured at Ingredion’s booth demonstrate some of its latest innovations in texture. Furthermore, the company will provide a number of technical presentations, including “Impact of Processing Conditions on Stirred Yogurt Texture: Understanding the Role of Starch Functionality and Different Starch Sources” and “Advances in Carbohydrate Texturizers to Address Texture Challenges with Removing Wheat and Eggs.”
TIC Gums (booth 421), is another company that is renewing its efforts to focus on texture. According to the company, product developers are handicapped by the lack of an agreed upon language to describe texture. Developers are further challenged by the fact that texture cannot be “added” to a product at the end of the design process, but rather must be integrated into the development of a new product from the very beginning. To help overcome these challenges, the company recently developed a texture lexicon that offers clearer definitions of the different kinds of texture available and makes texture a quantifiable part of the food design process. At the Food Expo, TIC Gums uses its texture lexicon as a basis for demonstrating how blends of gums and gum systems can very closely mimic the texture, body, and adhesiveness that is lost when sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners.
TIC Gums’ new video series, “Does This Have Gum in It?” talks about the different types and uses for gums in everyday foods. In the first episode, host Harold Nicoll speaks with Gum Guru® Maureen Akins about how gums are used in chewing gum applications. Atkins explains the benefits of the company’s TicaPan® Coating Systems for panned confections. This system offers food manufacturers a low-cost, non-gum arabic alternative that provides a crunchier texture to the finished shell. Experience a piece of candy-coated chewing gum’s crunch and crackle, and the benefits of the system will be evident.
Through a partnership between Gum Technology Corp. (booth 3255), and Fiberstar, a new generation of texturizers is being launched. Hydro-Fi ingredients—a combination of Gum Technology’s Coyote Brand® hydrocolloids and Fiberstar’s Citri-Fi® citrus fiber—improves texture, increases yield, and enhances mouthfeel.
In tomorrow’s second part of this article, we’ll continue to look at new texture discoveries and explorations. Stay tuned to get a good “feel” for the emerging subject of texture.