For creamy beverages
Ready-to-drink dairy-and soy-based beverages are gaining popularity in the market. Flavored
milks, such as chocolate, rely on stabilizers to suspend chocolate particles,
improve viscosity and enhance mouthfeel. Also, stabilizers are used as
processing aids during HTST or UHT processing.
Carrageenans interact naturally with milk proteins and form permanent suspensions with particulates.
They also give these beverages good body to control "glugs"
while pouring, without causing gummy or slimy coatings that linger in
the mouth. Carrageenan beverage stabilizers are frequently comprised of
portions of the three different gum fractions — kappa, iota and lambda
— to give the characteristics required by the drink formulator. These
are very sensitive to changes in the protein content and make-up of the
beverage. If the beverage formula or the type or degree of processing
is being changed, contact the carrageenan supplier to ensure that the
correct blend is being used.
Low-pH dairy-and-fruit beverages are appearing in the market. These require careful suspending-agent
selection because the beverage pH is generally below the isoelectric point
of casein, the major protein in milk. Both the correct stabilizer and
point of addition needs to be carefully considered early in the formulation
process. Often, whey proteins, which are less sensitive to low pH, can
be used as a replacement or partial replacement for casein. HM pectins,
carrageenans or starches can be used in these systems. Pectin can stabilize
acidic juice and milk or soy beverages by complexing with protein. When
that protein is exposed to a pH below its isoelectric pH, this complex
prevents it from precipitating.
National Starch has introduced a new line of starch-based stabilizers, Textra series,
for this application. According to Shah, the company has developed a line
of modified tapioca starches that enhances the mouthfeel and texture of
liquid foods and beverages, including solutions typically too low in viscosity
for starch granules to remain suspended. This type of starch is molecularly
dispersed and has excellent freeze/thaw stability. "Attributes such
as ease of dispersion, non-sliminess and cost effectiveness make this
type of starch a choice of customers compared to other hydrocolloids,"
Soy proteins and protein isolates have received increased attention since the soy protein/heart
health claim was approved in October 1999. Many beverages based on soy
isolates with vanilla, chocolate and juice flavors are gaining popularity
with mainstream consumers, as well as health-food consumers. Soy-based
beverages have increased more than 200% in the past year. The choice of
a stabilizer is critical to the acceptability of soy beverages. In order
to formulate with soy proteins and isolates, many of the same issues that
arise with casein and whey proteins and isolates need to be considered.
What kind of protein/stabilizer interaction can be expected? What is the
final pH of the beverage? Is this pH compatible with both the isolate
and the stabilizer? Will the stabilizer fit into a clean (all natural)
There are a variety of reasons for drinking a beverage: appearance, mouthfeel, nutritional
content and/or flavor. No matter how different they are, they have many
formulation issues in common. Water, the main constituent in all beverages,
must be controlled by the use of stabilizers and emulsifiers to manage
its interaction with other ingredients. Stabilizing ingredients not only
helps beverages maintain quality throughout processing and distribution,
but contribute to a good flavor and overall mouthfeel of the end product.
Paula Gerlat received her B.S. in Food Technology from the University of Wisconsin, and has
spent more than 30 years in the food industry working as a product developer
in both dairy and soft drinks. Throughout her career, she has gained knowledge
of processing, QA and distribution problems associated with taking a successful
product from bench through scale-up. Paula can be reached via e-mail at
Photo: FIS-North America
© By Weeks Publishing Company
Used with permission from Food Product Design Magazine
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