Look Good on the Label: Non-GMO Ingredient Options

A wide difference of opinion exists between US consumers and the scientific community on whether genetically modified organisms are safe. According to the FDA, genetic engineering includes certain methods that scientists use to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism. For example, food crops may be genetically engineered to enhance growth or nutritional profile. While these techniques are sometimes referred to as genetic modification, the FDA considers genetic engineering to be the more precise term. 

The FAO of the United Nations and the Council for Biotechnology Information have similar definitions as the FDA, but the Non-GMO Project defines GMOs as “living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional cross-breeding methods.”

“The next logical question is, ‘What is non-GMO?’” stated Randy Kreienbrink, vice president of marketing for BI Nutraceuticals, in his R&D Applications Seminar presentation titled “Look Good on the Label: Non-GMO Ingredient Options.” He explained that, according to the Non-GMO Project, GMO-free means a “plant, animal or other organism, or derivative of such organism, whose genetic structure has not been altered by gene splicing. A process or product that does not employ GM processes or inputs. Cloned animals and their progeny are considered GM, as are synthetically modified organisms.” 

Non-GMO Project certification includes ongoing testing of all at-risk ingredients with focus on polymerase chain reaction testing by ISO 17025 accredited laboratories, along with review of specification sheets for low-risk ingredients. GMO content of 0.9% or below is required for a product to be Non-GMO Project certified. Traceability and segregation practices throughout the supply chain are monitored for ingredients; annual audits and on-site inspections occur regularly. 

Skeptics of the meaningfulness of Non-GMO Certification ask questions like “who determines what low-risk ingredients are;” “Why 0.9%;” and “Are the Non-GMO inspectors going to audit the fields, seed, farmer purchase orders, or manufacturing production processes or ingredients?” Likely not. 
GMOs, as explained by Kreienbrink, “were introduced in 1996 to reduce yield loss by increasing resistance to disease, insects, severe weather conditions, weeds and pesticide usage; and to reduce water consumption or to enhance nutrition. Common GMOs include corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets, papaya, zucchini and yellow summer squash. Several products that have possibly been cross-pollinated with GMOs include, but are not limited to, flax, rice and wheat, he said.

“Although not currently required under US law, several retailers and consumers are demanding disclosure making third-party certifiers, like the Non-GMO Project and their seal, a relevant feature to be stocked on grocery shelves,” stated Kreienbrink. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods, was signed into law in the U.S. in 2016, but standards have yet to be set, and USDA has until summer of 2018 to do so.
Sourcing non-GMO ingredients has complexities. Examples include enzymes grown using common GMOs or GMO yeasts as feedstock, then utilized as an ingredient or processing aid. They also include citric acid and maltodextrin—excipients that originate from common GMOs; and probiotics cultured on GMO sugar beets. Vitamins fermented with GE corn, such as vitamin C, or distilled from GE soy oil, like vitamin E, are also in question. 

Trending non-GMO botanical ingredients available for foods include flowers like chamomile; seeds like guarana; and bark like French maritime pine. Botanical ingredients such as cinnamon, turmeric and ginseng are being called adaptogens. Even though there is no legal definition for the term, the commonly understood meaning is that they are good for health, enabling the body to adapt to stress emotionally, mentally and physically. 

“Look Good on the Label: Non- GMO Ingredient Options,” Randy Kreienbrink, vice president of marketing, BI Nutraceuticals, 310-669-2100, randyk@botanicals.com 
—Summary by Elizabeth Pelofske, Contributing Editor 


Managing Food Allergen Risks Using Pulse Ingredients

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies rose 50% between 1997-2011 with four out of every 100 children experiencing a food allergy. In Canada, 7.5% of the population has at least one allergy (Ben-Shoshan, et al, 2010). Hospital admissions for severe reactions in children grew seven-fold during the past decade and have doubled in the last four years. 

For these reasons, food manufacturers are replacing wheat and corn in batters and breadings; eggs, wheat and soy in meat binders; wheat, soy and corn in snacks and bakery items; and eggs and egg whites in bakery. 

One new innovative application is the use of whole navy bean flour to replace eggs. Interestingly, whole navy beans have more naturally occurring albumen then eggs.

Offering new ingredient options was Margaret Hughes, vice president of sales and marketing at Best Cooking Pulses. In her R&D Applications Seminar presentation, she shared a few ingredient substitution examples.

“A three-step tempura batter was made for chicken nuggets with whole yellow pea flour replacing wheat and corn ingredients in the pre-dust and batter. Crispier, golden nuggets with improved quality retention, longer hold time and a roasted-savory flavor that could allow for a reduction in sodium resulted,” said Hughes. “Pea hull fiber was also included in the batter coating, which helped provide a fiber claim, and increased iron and calcium.” 

Whole yellow pea flour and pea hull fiber were also used to replace wheat flour in a fish nugget breading system resulting in crispier, golden nuggets with superior quality retention, increased batter viscosity and batter pick-up, with the opportunity for a reduction in gums. 

“And, the pea hull fiber increased the total dietary fiber to six grams, allowing for a high source of fiber claim,” Hughes stated.
In a French-fry batter system, whole yellow pea flour replaced 100% of the wheat and corn flour. The whole yellow pea flour provided a golden color to the batter, which allowed for the removal of caramel color. Increased batter viscosity also occurred, allowing for removal of xanthan gum in the battered fries. 

It is important to be aware of the significant flavor and functionality variation in available commercial flours. In summary, using whole yellow pea flour and pea hull fiber provides consistent flavor; replaces allergenic ingredients; can replace gums and the need for caramel color; boosts nutritional value; improves water absorption; and allows for shorter and cleaner ingredient lists. 

In beef patties, pea hull fiber replaced wheat crumbs for a cleaner and clearer label, as well as a 6% yield increase. The final burger had less shrinkage; was moister and juicier; and was more economical to produce. At less than 5% usage levels, sensory attributes are unaffected by the light color and neutral taste of pea hull fiber. 

Wheat flour replaced with yellow pea flour in cookies is a good protein substitute with the added benefit of fiber; it helps bind and give good texture, which is a real challenge in gluten-free baking. Hughes suggested that, in addition to pea flour, other pulse flours and grits are often used to replace wheat, soy and corn ingredients in healthier-for-you extruded snacks, cookies, cereals, flatbreads and pizza dough. 

One new innovative application is the use of whole navy bean flour to replace eggs. Interestingly, whole navy beans have more naturally occurring albumen then eggs. In cookies and muffins, eggs and egg whites can be replaced with whole navy bean flour. Whole navy bean flour may also be whipped and used to replace egg whites in meringues or macaroons. 

Pulse flours are available gluten-free (<5ppm) and certified organic. Inherently sustainable, free of labeled allergens, functional, well-tolerated in terms of digestion, and economically priced, they are a “new” innovative tool in the food scientist’s kit. 

“Managing Food Allergen Risks Using Pulse Ingredients,” Margaret Hughes, vice president of sales and marketing, Best Cooking Pulses, 204-297-6146, margaret@bestcookingpulses.com 
—Summary by Elizabeth Pelofske, Contributing Editor 


Use of Functional Cellulosic Technologies in Gluten-free Bakery Applications

Functional cellulose food gums are derived from a sustainable resource—plants, trees and vegetable matter. At 95% purity, the water-soluble dietary fiber is non-digestible, non-fermentable, non-allergenic, non- GMO (except for the highest viscosity grade), GRAS, kosher and halal. Common applications include bakery, both wheat and gluten free; fillings, sauces, toppings, formed or extruded foods, salad dressings and marinades, whipped toppings, batters and coatings, and meat or fish preparations. 

Vicki Deyarmond, senior customer application specialist at Dow Food Solutions, a DowDuPont Specialty Products Division business, explained the key properties of functional cellulose food gums in her R&D Seminar presentation titled “Use of Functional Cellulosic Technologies in Gluten-free Bakery Applications.” 

“At elevated temperatures, gelation and hot binding occur. Gel strength depends on temperature and on specific gum. Advantages of thermal gelation include forming and shape retention, boil-out control, egg replacement, increased baked volume and air cell stability,” Deyarmond stated. 

Gluten, the protein in wheat flour, is composed gliadin and glutenin. Gluten binds the dough, making it elastic. Without gluten, the dough becomes a batter, with very low viscosity, which is not moldable. There is no structure to trap the air pockets and CO2; therefore, the bread cannot rise. 

“Functional celluloses can help gluten-free bread rise, due to its gel strength and surface activity that enhance and stabilize air pocket structure in dough. Medium viscosity is needed to thicken the dough; if too thick, it will not rise or will be difficult to work with. A higher gelation temperature of 70-90 C is needed, so it gels later in the baking process,” explained Deyarmond.

Cellulose gums promote film forming, which surrounds the gas cell walls in dough and bread, reducing starch retrogradation and staling. The air cells showed a more continuous surface with a thicker appearance than a control—as shown on photographs with 750 and 1500X magnification. Additional benefits of using functional cellulose ingredients include reduced proof time, typically by 25-50%; and egg reduction, leading to reduced costs and lower fat. Plus, they are user-friendly, making it easy to incorporate in lab scale and production. 

When using the functional cellulose HPMC in gluten-free bread dough, the HPMC must reach specific hydration temperature of 77F to fully dissolve, thicken doughs or to gel when heated to hold bread structure. When dispersing HPMC, it should be dry-blended with other dry ingredients to prevent clumping, undissolved HPMC and uneven thickening in dough. 

Mixing speed is also important. HPMC dissolves at room temperature and develops with gentle mixing. There is no need for high shear or excessive kneading, which can produce too many air cells. 

CMC is also functional in gluten-free and other bakery goods by providing high water absorption and retention; improved dough stability and machinability; delayed retrogradation of amylose; prolonged freshness; improved texture and gloss; increased plasticity and elasticity; freeze-thaw stability; and a good barrier for fillings. Labeling for HPMC is “modified cellulose,” while CMC is labeled as “cellulose gum.” A commercially available blend of both HPMC and CMC would together be labeled as “modified  cellulose.” 

“Use of Functional Cellulosic Technologies in Gluten-free Bakery Applications,” Vicki Deyarmond, senior customer application specialist, Dow Food Solutions, a business of Dow Dupont Specialty Products Division, 989-638-1416, vldeyarmond@dow.com
 —Summary by Elizabeth Pelofske, Contributing Editor 


Clean Taste Pulse Ingredients: Functional and Flavor Solutions for New Application Areas

Pulses are the dried seeds of plants in the legume family including peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. According to Innova Market Insights, interest in vegetable-based ingredients is skyrocketing with 61% growth experienced from 2010 to 2014, and now one in three consumers prefer non-animal protein. 

Supporting many of the label claims consumers look for, pulses are vegetarian, non-GMO, gluten free, and have a low glycemic index. Pulses are high in protein and dietary fiber, rich in minerals like iron, zinc, and phosphorus, and are a source of B vitamins, folic acid, and potassium. 

Pulse based ingredients provide unique functional benefits and address a number of trends in the food industry today, allowing product developers to enhance nutrition, simplify labels, and save money.

According to Karen Constanza, principal technologist, technical development, for Ingredion, “pulse ingredients are sustainably sourced, which is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Pulses use less non-renewable energy relative to other crops and can produce their own fertilizer by fixing nitrogen in the soil.” 

The challenge, she noted, is that “the flavor profile of conventional pulse-based ingredients limits their usage level and application areas.” 
Conventional pulse ingredients can taste bitter and astringent due to phytochemicals like isoflavones, saponins, and phenolic acid. Beany, grassy, and earthy flavors due to volatile and non-volatile products of lipid oxidation can also lead to flavor challenges in conventional pulse ingredients.

“The solutions,” offered Constanza “are clean taste pulse ingredients derived from yellow pea, yellow lentil, faba bean, chickpea, red lentil, or green pea.” These clean tasting pulse ingredients are made from conventional pulses that go through a proprietary physical treatment resulting in cleaner tasting pulse flours and protein concentrates. The proprietary process deactivates enzymes and removes most off-flavor compounds while maintaining a clean label and ingredient functionality.

The process creates an opportunity for wider application areas and usage levels for pulse ingredients. Where with conventional pulse ingredients, small amounts could be added to pasta, crackers, and extruded snacks; with clean tasting pulse ingredients, higher use levels are possible along with additional applications, such as sauces and dressings, bars, yogurts, smoothies, and baked goods.

Gluten free crackers with clean tasting pea flour were formulated and scaled up on pilot scale sheeting equipment with no sticking or breaking issues observed. A cultured vegan yogurt alternative was created using clean tasting faba bean protein concentrate. Clean taste faba bean protein concentrate functioned beneficially through its gelling, water-holding, and viscosity building properties; helping provide better texture, appearance, and stability in this application. Nut-free chocolate spread was also created with clean tasting faba bean protein concentrate. The formula was adjusted to mimic the texture of the leading brand chocolate spread. 

The faba bean protein concentrate contributes to microbial stability in the nut-free chocolate spread due to a reduced microbial load resulting from the proprietary clean taste process. Faba bean protein concentrate also adds physical stability through emulsification to prevent oil separation. Compared to regular chocolate spread, this version is nut-free, has 10% fewer calories, 27% less calories from fat, 25% less fat, 24% less sugar, three times more protein, twice the fiber, and 249.8 mg more potassium per serving than regular chocolate spread.

Constanza closed by stating that pulse based ingredients provide unique functional benefits and address a number of trends in the food industry today, allowing product developers to enhance nutrition, simplify labels, and save money. Clean taste pulse ingredients have reduced beany flavor due to a proprietary technology, which allows for their use in a broad range of applications.   

“Clean Taste Pulse Ingredients: Functional and Flavor Solutions for New Application Areas,” Karen Constanza, principal technologist, technical development, Ingredion, 908-575-6133, karen.constanza@ingredion.com