Ingredion addresses the role tapioca plays in texture

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06 Nov 2017 --- Earlier this year, Ingredion announced the launch of Homecraft Create multifunctional tapioca flours. The new range of ingredients emerges as a milestone in more than two decades of research dedicated to understanding the role tapioca can play in clean label applications.

Homecraft Create multi-functional tapioca flours couple a clean “tapioca flour” label with the functionality of a modified starch. The full range of flours is adapted to suit a variety of production processes, offering tolerance and stability advantages, while at the same time helping manufacturers achieve indulgent dairy products and smooth sauces, puddings and custards. 

The flours provide exceptional flavor release and enhanced, creamy textures that allow food manufacturers to reduce fat content and improve nutrition profiles. At the same time, the range of ingredients delivers higher viscosity than clean label starches in some applications, offering opportunities for cost savings. 

Homecraft Create multi-functional tapioca flours support non-GMO and gluten-free claims, aligning with consumer-driven trends reshaping labels around the globe.

Ingredion conducted proprietary consumer research in 26 countries, assessing consumer preferences regarding functional texturizers and stabilizers. Consumers across all regions prefer a “flour” label, presenting an opportunity for tapioca flour.

FoodIngredientsFirst caught up with Severine Bensa, European Marketing Manager for Texture at Ingredion, who discussed the current trends in texture with a focus on starches. “When it comes to creating unique and memorable textures in condiments, tapioca is particularly fit-for-purpose as a versatile and multifunctional ingredient.”

As condiments are typically consumed alongside other food products to complement their taste and the general eating experience (for example, chips and dips, cheese and chutneys), their texture is likely to be scrutinized closely by consumers, according to Bensa.  

“The texture profiles that can be created using tapioca are numerous and diverse. It can be used to make a mayonnaise extra creamy, a sauce pulpier or offer mouthfeel to dairy-based condiments.”

One such Ingredion product that enhances texture is PRECISA Pulp 01 starch, a tapioca-based product which we developed to bring extra pulpiness to sauces such as ketchup.

“In short, from indulgent to authentic, tapioca has the capability to deliver the textures consumers expect and demand from their condiments,” she explains.

“As consumer needs evolve, food manufacturers face the constant challenge of adapting alongside them to satisfy an ever-diverse range of diets, trends and lifestyle choices.  For example, increasing emphasis on healthy eating generates demand for low-fat and low-sugar condiments. In order to design or reformulate products to meet this demand, manufacturers must find ways of adding or subtracting ingredients to boost a product’s nutritional profile while keeping it authentic - i.e. retaining texture, flavor and visual appeal.”

“An example of how we have achieved this for our clients is the N-DULGE 316 starch, a tapioca-based co-texturizer,” Bensa notes. “We developed it specifically for mayonnaise, enabling manufacturers to replace fat and oil. As a fat mimetic, it is designed to ensure low-fat mayonnaise tastes and feels as close as possible to full-fat counterparts.”

Another challenge for manufacturers is cost control, according to Bensa, whether coming from recipe cost mitigation or from gains made through greater efficiency and less waste. “However, achieving these results need not come at the expense of the end result and the qualities consumers seek in a condiment, such as a homemade texture and visual appeal (i.e. keeping pieces in suspension),” she adds.  

Traditionally, “indulgent” or “luxury” products have been equated with a richness that required limited eating frequency. However, today’s increasingly health-conscious consumer wants the best of both worlds. They want to eat and drink the products they enjoy on a daily basis, but with no negative health implications.

“They want to eat mayonnaise regularly without the calorie count, sauces without the sugar and chutneys without the salt,” says Bensa. “At the same time, they expect these products to deliver the same qualities as their full-fat or full-sugar counterparts.”

“When it comes to indulgent or luxury condiments, there are several other current trends in the marketplace. One is a demand for products that seem ‘imperfect’ or have a homemade feel to them. People are willing to pay more for something they feel is unique and prepared with care.”

Restaurant-branded condiments are also currently in favor with consumers. If they enjoy an especially good sauce, dip or dressing when eating out, they want the option to recreate restaurant-standard or street food-style dishes at home using condiments they trust.

She adds: “Another trend is for added flavors, such as truffle or wasabi mayonnaise and infused oils, which consumers view as exotic or premium and are willing to pay more for.”

“Tapioca is acknowledged to offer a creamier mouthfeel than maize-based ingredients and to have a very clean taste. Its subtle profile won’t mask or overpower those of other ingredients, which helps to enhance a condiments’ flavor and preserve its authenticity.”

Bensa also notes that consumers don’t necessarily make a connection between mouthfeel and tapioca. “They want and expect luxurious mouthfeel from a condiment, but may not be consciously aware of that or how that effect can be achieved,” she continues, “Therefore, the functionality and potential of tapioca will resonate more with manufacturers than consumers in the current industry landscape.” 

By Elizabeth Green

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