Can modified starch be clean label? It's all about perception, says Cargill

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Can modified starch be clean label? It's all about perception, says Cargill

Related tags Clean label Starch

Recently showcased at FiE, Cargill's modified starch can reduce the fat content of yoghurt by at least 50% while keeping the taste and mouth feel of full fat yoghurt - but can it meet consumer demands for clean label? 

Cargill has filed a patent for the technical process used to develop its modified waxy maize starch, dubbed C☆CreamTex 06329, which it says mimics the behaviour and sensory profile of full-fat yoghurt.

While other hydroxypropyl starches remove the yoghurt flavour and shine as well as increasing the thickness and stickiness of the product, C☆CreamTex retains both the yoghurt flavor and a creamy mouth feel, Majella de Bruijn, head of marketing for Cargill Texturising Solutions, told FoodNavigator.

“That’s why we say this product really mimics the fat behavior that you have in a full fat yoghurt,” ​she said.

A similar dosage to standard hydroxypropyl starch can be used and, when factoring in the additional fat reduction that C☆CreamTex can achieve as well as its greater stability, it can be considered a cost competitive product, she said.

People know starch

But how does a modified starch fit with increasing consumer demands for clean label - if at all?

“Clean label is all about perception,” ​said de Bruijn. “There is no legislation about clean label, but often [it means] products with no artificial ingredients, colours, flavours but also ingredients that people don’t want because they don’t know the name.

“Sometimes just even names starting with an 'x' are less desired and sometimes ‘modified’ as well but I think it really depends on how much information you give. Overall starch is still regarded as a product that people know, especially corn or potato starch.

“People say ‘oh I don’t want E-numbers’ but pectin is ok and pectin is an E-number. E-numbers were just developed to classify ingredients. These are highly tested ingredients - maybe the most safe because they are highly tested.”

Meanwhile EMEA starch product manager for Cargill, Denis Palacioglu, said the ingredient would allow manufacturers to join the consumer trend for health and wellness without compromising on taste.

“Yoghurt has become an irreplaceable component of the European diet. In particular, fat-reduced yoghurt has grown to become a top seller in the overall dairy health and wellness segment.”

“If we look closely at this segment, we can see that fat reduction is by far the most popular option in health and wellness yoghurt with 79% of purchasing decisions.” ​But consumers are not willing to forsake sensorial aspects, such as a creamy, silky-smooth texture he added.

Showcasing the ingredient at FIE, de Bruijn said they had received interest from customers looking to use it for protein replacement, and Cargill would be testing this as a potential application as well.

According to 2015 Euromonitor data, the average Western European eats around 1.4 kg of fat-reduced yoghurt per year.  

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