Egg white, also known as albumen, contains 56% of the whole egg’s total protein along with the majority of the egg’s niacin, riboflavin, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, sodium and sulfur. Alone, egg whites are about 88% water and 10% protein. They are virtually free of fat and cholesterol, making them a nutrition powerhouse, as egg white proteins play an important role in the body since they have a high biological value. In recent years, egg whites have been used to increase the protein levels in nutritional bars and sports energy products.
Egg whites also possess important functional properties that assist product developers with formulating all types of foods — from mainstays such as canned chicken noodle soup to on-trend appetizers such as frozen crab rangoon and hand-held stuffed sandwiches. Egg white proteins provide structure and coagulative properties to noodles, which is especially important for cooked noodles held in a liquid or high-moisture frozen medium. Frozen appetizers rely on egg whites to prevent ice crystals from forming. When combined with other ingredients such as water or milk, egg whites create the perfect glaze for sealing breads, rolls and pocket-style sandwiches. The glaze helps prevent the crust from drying out and becoming tough. It creates a desirable transparent shiny surface on breads and rolls and can act as an adhesive for holding topical ingredients such as nuts and seeds.
But what whites are best known for is producing high-volume foams, which serve to leaven soufflés, meringues, angel food cakes, frostings and candies. They also provide leavening to increase volume and lightness in cakes.
Egg white products come frozen, dried and in refrigerated liquid form. Dried egg white products can be spray-dried, pan-dried and instant-dissolving, with each form possessing unique functionalities that make them particularly well suited for specific applications.