The Guar Off-Note Experience
Formulator: We’re formulating a commercial vanilla ice cream with guar gum, and I’m definitely picking up an off-note. We really want to avoid using more vanilla, but love the cost-effectiveness of guar.
Formulator: We love the texturizing qualities of your guar gum, but we’re noticing that it’s conflicting with the vanilla flavor we have in our ice cream. What options do we have to maintain texture but also protect the flavor?
Formulator: We are currently using guar gum to keep our label simple, but it feels like we need to keep adding more vanilla to combat the grassy/beany flavors coming from the guar gum. Is there anything we can do to avoid this?
If you’re asking these questions, you’re not alone.
The Gum Gurus® at TIC Gums have been fielding many of these flavor masking questions from ice cream formulators recently. In order to confidently answer these requests, TIC Gums initiated and executed a sensory study that was specifically geared towards ice cream developers facing flavor and taste challenges associated with guar gum.
If you remember from our blog post dedicated to GuarNT® USA Flavor Free 5000, TIC Gums developed a flavorless guar gum to enable formulators to use guar in more of their applications without concerns over flavor masking.
Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis, an analytical method that identifies different substances within a test sample, several volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were identified as natural contributors to the beany or grassy flavor and smell associated with standard guar gum. Of these VOCs, hexanal and hexanoic acid were identified as the main sources of these perceivable off-notes. The proprietary manufacturing process for GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000 significantly reduces the VOC levels present in the finished product. Comparing this innovative variation to standard guar gum powder, the hexanal concentration and the total measured VOCs were reduced by nearly 90%.
What does this have to do with ice cream?
When formulating ice cream, many developers take advantage of the texturizing and stabilizing capabilities of gums, which give ice cream the eating experience consumers have come to expect. To optimize freeze thaw stability, enhance texture and allow your special flavor to shine through, we suggest our Caragum® 200 FF blend which includes GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000.
Show me the data!
In order to better showcase this VOC data in action, we conducted additional sensory testing in vanilla ice cream. The Gum Gurus worked with sensory experts to demonstrate that when we suggest Caragum 200 FF for your ice cream needs, we can say with complete confidence that you will see a difference in flavor perception.
We sent our ice cream that featured the Caragum 200 FF to a sensory panel that used a 0-15 point intensity scale to test such attributes as flavor, overall aroma, cooked/milky taste, viscosity when melted and mouth coating.
The panel tested 3 variations of vanilla ice cream:
A control vanilla ice cream featuring a blend with standard guar gum
A vanilla ice cream with Caragum 200 FF and 5% reduction in vanilla flavoring
A vanilla ice cream with Caragum 200 FF and a 10% reduction in vanilla flavoring
When using Caragum 200 FF in the ice cream formula, a trained panel determined that a 5% reduction in vanilla flavoring achieved a comparable flavor experience to that of the control with an improved overall aroma. The 5% reduction also showed an improvement in the mouth coating attribute without negatively affecting viscosity when melted.
For the more aggressive flavor reduction at 10%, vanilla flavor perception was lower than the control and 5% reduction, but the overall aroma was high and textural attributes were maintained. Data indicates that a 5-10% flavor rate use reduction should be tested and evaluated for best results.
What does this mean?
Unpredictable vanilla prices is a challenge that formulators have been facing in recent years. In their article, Madagascar vanilla crop improves, but prices may stay high, Food Business News reflects on the expectations and realities of sugar pricing, noting that, “’Industrial demand for extraction grade Madagascar vanilla remains strong enough to support the record high prices that show no signs of abating in the near term.’”
Up against the often fluctuating and frequently increasing vanilla prices, formulators can now reduce the amount of vanilla flavoring they are using in delicately flavored applications that previously used standard guar, or a blend that includes standard guar. Formulators are able to achieve cost savings while maintaining flavor, texture and stability.
We calculated the cost of hydrocolloids and flavor based on a standard vanilla ice cream formula (figure 1). We then calculated the cost savings that can occur by using Caragum 200 FF and reducing the amount of vanilla flavoring by 5% and 10% (figure 2). The results show considerable cost savings per gallon. The Gum Gurus encourage formulators to calculate their own cost savings based on their own formulations and production capabilities.