Videos in the Food R&D Roundtable Series

Part I

Clean Labeling (runtime 12:10)

Part II

Ingredient Replacement (runtime 9:50)

Part III

Organic Foods (runtime 4:40)

Part IV

Future of Hydrocolloids (runtime 5:09)

Part V

Hydrocolloid Benefits [this video] (runtime 7:19)

Part VI

Food Industry Developments (runtime 5:18)


Matt Patrick: If you take a look at TIC's website and wander around and find the company's vision and mission, there's a statement that mentions our focus on food product stabilization and texture. So what is texture? What does texture mean to TIC? What are we doing there? Dan?

Dan Grazaitis: Yeah, I mean, texture, how I look at it is every single product we have provides texture. It doesn't matter what you put in, if it's water, sugar, fats, proteins, gums, everything is going to provide some texture and they're actually all unique. Every single product, every ingredient you add provides a unique texture. So what we're trying to do is really look at what do our products provide to a customer, how can we make the customer's product better or maybe differentiate it from the marketplace. But how can we control and manipulate that text using our ingredients? So we're really driving the kind of profile of each gum, what texture it provides, and how we can incorporate that to differentiate products, change texture. And it really becomes important especially if you were to replace ingredients like fats or sugars or other ingredients. You want to make sure you're hitting that texture the customer desires. You want to make sure it's exactly what they're expecting. Kind of like what we were talking about before, sometimes you take ingredients out, yeah, we can put a new ingredient in but you may not get the same standard. With texture, we want to make sure if we take an ingredient out and put a new one in we are hitting that texture, it is delivering what the customer wants. It's very difficult and we're spending a lot of time on it but we'll get there.

Matt Patrick: Okay. Alright. Great. Sometimes when I'm outside of work and I'm talking to folks and I tell them what I do for a living and the materials I work with, I often get the question oh gums, gums, are those good for you or are those bad for you. So I'm going to ask you guys. Are gums good for you or are gums bad for you?

Karen Constanza: Good. The simple answer, good. One thing I think people don't always realize about gums is that they're an excellent source of soluble dietary fiber. All of our gums are soluble dietary fiber. We have some that can be used for fortification like gum arabic and inulin. But technically if you're putting in gum, you're getting some aspect of fiber and we all know fiber is good for us in terms of our cholesterol and weight management.

Matt Patrick: So are customers always buying hydrocolloids for some functional reason like texture or whatever and they're getting the fiber as an added benefit, or do we actually find customers that are formulating with hydrocolloids purely to get the fiber benefit?

Karen Constanza: Both. Some people do seek out hydrocolloids just for their fiber advantages or to increase the fiber of their products. And then others kind of get it as an added bonus with whatever desired functionality they're looking for.

Matt Patrick: If you're purely after fiber, is there one particular gum that you like to recommend?

Karen Constanza: Typically, as I mentioned before, gum arabic and inulin are probably my two biggest just because if you're looking to really increase your fiber those two will not increase the viscosity of your product as much. So if you're, say, working in a beverage, sometimes those, or a product that you don't want it to be super, super thick, whereas something like guar gum, also soluble fiber, but it will contribute more to viscosity and the texture of the product. So it depends on your product and what you're looking for.

Matt Patrick: Okay. Alright. Great. So you mentioned texture and different types of products but I know different food products have different kinds of textures. So how do you talk about it? What is a texture?

Dan Grazaitis: I guess from an R&D standpoint, I look at it probably different than a normal consumers. Most consumers, you'll see a lot of marketing words that they threw out there to get people's attention. It's usually you're going to see one word, crispy, crunchy, creamy. A good example would be creamy especially with beverages, protein beverages. You almost always see creamy. Ice cream, you always see creamy. Everything dairy, that's kind of what you think is creamy. But as a formulator, if I'm taking the fat out of a dairy product, if I'm making a fat free ice cream, how do I replace creamy. It's very difficult. Typically, creamy for me is going to be a multiple of several different types of textures trying to bring them down to the basic attributes of a texture. So what I would look at is what basic actions do these comes provide and there could be a couple like how long does it stay in your mouth, how much does it coat your mouth, how long does it take to clear you mouth. And usually building up a couple of these terms, you actually equal creamy. And typically when I think of creamy, I think of how fast it clears, how much it coats and how thick it is. Creamy, I'll usually think of something kind of thick and decadent. So usually with those three words, I'll then rank what type of creaminess you're getting.

Matt Patrick: So is this terminology or these methods, do you just use that internally in the R&D department? Do you share those with customers, do you work with customers?

Dan Grazaitis: We typically work extensively on the R&D side but we work with our customers, train our customers because it all comes down to communication. We can do it all day in R&D, but if we try and tell it to our customer and they have no idea what we're talking about it doesn't really help. So usually sitting down with the customer, getting face to face and working through it and explaining what we're doing and getting them on the same page makes the communication a lot easier and usually quicker. We usually get to the final product a lot quicker.

Matt Patrick: Great. Great. So when you're working on a project to reformulate texture or a project to help replace an ingredient, many of the formulation activities that we've talked about today have a heavy customer interaction component. How does that happen? How do customers find you?

Karen Constanza: They can find us through our website. We also do have a hotline they can call and a chat feature so they can get in touch with a gum guru pretty much any day of the week.

Matt Patrick: How do you work with most customers? Is it usually just over the phone? What are the different ways you work with customers?

Karen Constanza: It depends on the nature of their product. It can be as simple as a phone call. We can do project work for them, that's where our technical service group will come in. Our sales team is also trained to answer a variety of different gum related questions. But if you need a little bit more help, we can send a gum guru out to you for plant trials.

Matt Patrick: Okay. Do customers come here sometimes?

Karen Constanza: They can come here and work in our pilot facilities so it depends on what the customer' need is.

Matt Patrick: Okay. Great. Great.