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Egg Ingredient Spotlight: Does Clean Label Still Matter?

The short answer is “yes,” however there are different reasons why it still matters and why using REAL Eggs makes sense for formulators.

Despite the flurry of lawsuits over the word “natural” on product labels, consumers are still looking for real and authentic ingredients and fewer of them. Some industry experts are using terms like “transparent” or “transparency,” in terms of desired company values, practices and ingredients. As Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as the dominant market force, their values and purchasing habits become more important. This is a generation interested in authenticity and sustainability, which dovetails with the clean label philosophy

In addition to shorter labels, consumers prefer ingredients similar to those found in a typical kitchen. Egg ingredients, available in dried, liquid or frozen forms, can generally be listed as “eggs” on the label. Most consumers, in fact 94% of them, have shell eggs in the refrigerator at home and are familiar with and enjoy eggs.

Egg ingredients can supply more than 20 different functional properties within formulation, a fact that means a great deal creating a clean label product. When one ingredient can perform multiple functional tasks within formulation this translates into a shorter ingredient deck.

Concerning sustainability, the egg industry recently completed a landmark, 50-year study documenting progress towards an improved environmental footprint. The U.S. population increased 72% over the last 50 years, yet egg farmers increased the hen supply by just 18% to meet this greater demand. Today the industry releases 71% lower greenhouse gas emissions, has reduced water usage by 32% and improved hen feed to deliver a scientifically nutritious diet, while requiring fewer corn and soybean crops.

American farmers supply most of the further processed eggs used in this country, for a reliable domestic source, saving transportation compared to ingredients from overseas. And further processed egg ingredients are pasteurized according to strict standards to ensure their safety. Domestic sourcing, improved sustainability, incredible functionality and a safe track record – REAL Eggs make sense for clean labels.

2014-12-22 21:03:14
 

Protein Power of Real Eggs

Protein used to occupy its quiet slot on the nutrition facts panel with little notice from the average consumer. Today its muscled its way to the package front and is no longer the sole province of weight lifters and professional athletes. Multiple studies confirm consumers are sold on protein-fortified foods and the benefits protein supplies to a healthy diet.

However, formulators are left with the puzzle of fitting extra protein into a food that still needs to achieve target goals for structure, taste, appearance and texture. Eggs already are considered a perfect protein and the standard against which all other proteins are measured. Equally as important egg ingredients supply critical functional properties, an acceptable flavor profile and also enjoy a high degree of familiarity and acceptance among consumers.

The perfect complement to fortification is functionality, but it’s a rare protein that can supply both. Egg ingredients provide more than 20 functional benefits to food applications, among them foaming and aeration, coagulation, gelation and shelf life extension. The proteins found in the whites, yolks or contained in whole egg ingredients are responsible for the majority of these functional attributes.

The fact that egg ingredients supply more than a single function multiplies the benefits to the formulator for a synergistic effect with other ingredients. A product’s mouthfeel and texture cannot be attributed to any single ingredient and outside factors such as time and temperature can affect this aspect of a food product. Other ingredients for example can create an emulsion but egg proteins help form stable emulsions that remain true through storage, shipping and shelf life. Egg proteins provide structure and coagulative properties to noodles that hold their shape when either held in a liquid or a high-moisture frozen environment while maintaining a desirable texture.

Egg ingredients contribute to gluten-free formulating, prevent staling in baked goods, control crystallization in frozen foods and help create impressive gels. And it is well-known that no other natural food ingredient can create as large a foam as egg whites. Egg whites, when whipped, create a foam six to eight times greater in volume than the original volume of the liquid, and this helps aerate baked products to provide structure, appearance, mouthfeel, texture and shelf life.

Egg yolk is well-known for emulsification properties primarily supplied by lecithin and low density lipoproteins. Proteins also aid in coagulation and help form gels. Protein functionality in egg white and egg yolk help create structure that also aids in extending shelf life due to entrapped moisture.

According to Elisa Maloberti, Director of Egg Product Marketing, “No other single protein ingredient can supply the multiple functions formulators can rely upon from egg proteins, not to mention the benefits derived from the wealth of vitamins and minerals contained in a whole egg.”

REAL eggs might possess one of the best reputations among proteins as well, when it comes to consumer sentiment.

A recent NPD study indicates 78 percent of consumers agree with the statement that protein contributes to a healthy diet. And when asked which protein they are consuming more today than in the past, 55 percent of respondents said they are eating more eggs.

Maloberti says this increased egg consumption bodes well for food formulators’ use of eggs when it comes to label concerns. “A consumer increasing their at-home consumption of eggs will be comfortable with eggs on a product label,” she says.

As a final note, the protein contained in REAL eggs is easily digestible and readily available. This helps create nutritious foods consumers will find filling, tasty and satisfying. “When formulators choose REAL eggs to use in food products, they’re choosing the whole protein package – functionality, flavor, familiarity and depending on usage levels, fortification.”

2014-12-05 19:34:46