From on-trend beverages based on alternative dairy proteins to more traditional applications like instant beverages, beverage manufacturers face quite a few challenges when formulating a new product or reformulating an existing one.
In addition to understanding the functionality of the various ingredients used in any one beverage application, product developers must understand how those ingredients interact with each other as well as how those ingredients are affected by processing.
The Importance of Texture in Beverage Product Development
Texture is an essential element of consumer acceptance of new product launches and it often drives the preference of one beverage over another. For manufacturers, texture can be a powerful point of differentiation.
When introducing a new beverage into a marketplace where a beverage with a recognizable texture already exists, it is important that the new product exhibit similar texture attributes or differentiated in a way that increases consumer acceptance. Hydrocolloids help formulators achieve that familiar texture or assist in creating an innovative, distinct and stable product.
Language for Describing Beverage Texture
In order to have more effective communication during the product development process, we compiled a set of lexicon terms called the Food Texture Terminology to standardize the way product texture is described. This allows our food scientists to deconstruct terms like “creamy” into individual texture attributes such as mouth coating, cohesiveness and mixes with saliva to help determine the specific attributes most important to our customers. Our goal is to take this complex process and turn it into something accessible and navigable.
Functions of Gums & Stabilizers in Beverage Applications
- Suspend particulates like protein, cocoa, and pulp
- Decrease awareness of particulates like mineral and vitamins
- Prevent separation and sedimentation
- Delay age gelation
- Increase viscosity
- Build mouthfeel
- Stabilize foam
- Improve process efficiency
- Boost soluble dietary fiber levels
Considerations when formulating beverages
- Texture targets--Does this beverage need to mimic the texture of an existing beverage or is texture being used as a point of product differentiation? Finding consensus on texture targets early in product development increases efficiency and reduces unexpected delays.
- Viscosity requirements--What is the desired viscosity of the finished beverage? Some gums and ingredients can provide mouthfeel, stability, suspension, and even soluble dietary fiber while maintaining a low viscosity while others can increase the viscosity of the formulation.
- Protein content--Will the beverage contain protein? If so, what will be the source of the protein? Stability requirements can vary between dairy-based proteins and the many dairy alternatives that are entering the market.
- Nutrition fortification--Aside from protein, will other insoluble ingredients like minerals or vitamins present in the formulation? Some gums can suspend insolubles and improve the drinking experience by reducing the awareness of particulates in the finished beverage. If you happen to be working with alternative proteins, we also have ingredient systems that provide vegan protein fortification.
- Sugar content--Will this be a reduced sugar or no sugar beverage? Ingredient systems can replace the texture and sweetness lost when sugar is reduced or removed from a beverage formulation.
- Processing conditions--How will the beverage be manufactured? If it will be processed using UHT, HTST, or retort. Maybe you’re working on an instant beverage. Our solutions off the ability to withstand harsh processing conditions>.
- Desired label claims--Will the beverage carry label claims like organic or non-GMO? If the finished product doesn’t carry those claims now, is there the possibility that those claims could be adopted in the future? We offer a full line of USDA certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified gums and ingredient systems. It’s important to identify the label claims that are important to you so we can help you meet your goals.
- Interactions with other ingredients--What other ingredients will be present in the formulation? Ingredients like fruit or vegetable juices can decrease the pH of the formulation so gums or ingredient systems chosen must be stable under those conditions.