Protein Ingredients: Flavor Matters

Not all proteins are created equal; in fact, even within the same protein ingredient category there can be flavor differences. Experts shared this fact and more valuable information at the Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar held in May courtesy of Global Food Forums.

MaryAnn Drake, Ph.D., of the Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center at North Carolina State University, presented findings from the body of sensory research in a presentation titled, “Formulating with proteins: Processing and flavor challenges.”

An extensive body of research1 about protein’s off-flavors shows that all protein ingredients do not taste the same. Furthermore, dried protein ingredient flavor can carry through to the finished product.2

As companies experiment with ingredient substitution the flavor factor cannot get lost in the shuffle. Despite the fact that product trends change, taste is still a primary motivating factor behind consumer purchases. A consumer might try a product because of the label claims but the flavor or taste of the product is what prompts repeat purchases. In one bit of research Drake presented, when testing label claims against product taste, the protein label influenced the consumers’ “liking” of a product but NOT as much as the product’s actual flavor.

In the International Food Information Council (IFIC) annual survey, taste consistently rises to the top as a key factor in consumer purchases and this is corroborated by other research results from companies like Packaged Facts.

So while more than 50 percent of all consumers today are looking for more protein in their diet, the end product still has to provide the taste, structure and mouthfeel that prompts repeat purchases. As a side note, amidst the clamor over protein, other factors are equally as or more important to consumers. A Packaged Facts National Consumer Survey conducted in April 2016 noted that among ingredient issues “Especially Important” when choosing foods to eat  “natural” factor was the highest ranked ingredient feature amongst Millennials, with 57% of both males and females selecting “natural” compared to 45% for high protein.

Egg ingredients contribute a mild and pleasant taste to food formulations. Particularly within baking applications egg ingredients can supply the taste, texture and appearance that helps create gold standard products. Egg ingredients contribute to clean label declarations. And the list of functional properties includes more than 20 beneficial attributes for formulators from Adhesion to Whipping ability. Replacing the multiple functions of eggs with a single ingredient is not a likely possibility in scaled up manufacturing.

Egg ingredients give formulators a lot to consider. Taste is just one vital factor. For more information about egg ingredient functionality and its performance within formulations, click here.

1 Off-flavors are present in protein (Carunchia Whetstine et al., 2005; Russell et al., 2006; Drake, 2006; Wright et al., 2006; 2008)*

2 Dried protein ingredient flavor can carry through into finished products (Russel et al., 2006, Drake, 2006; Drake et al., 2008; Childs et al., 2007; Wright et al., 2008)*

*References courtesy of MaryAnne Drake, taken from her presentation

2016-07-18 15:28:24

Bridging the credibility gap

It’s no secret that consumers continue to ask increasingly probing questions about their food; where it comes from and how it’s made. And perhaps it is no surprise that chief among the questioners are Millennials, the generation that has grown up with sophisticated technology and an expanding universe of both valid information and sometimes misinformation.

Food manufacturers should take note however, that 43 percent of U.S. Millennials (Mintel) do not trust large food companies, compared to 18 percent of non-Millennials. And among all shoppers, 75 percent trust small companies more than large companies when it comes to producing all-natural products.

The big question is how to regain this trust? What should not be secret or should be increasingly transparent are the ingredients on your label. There have been some dramatic examples of reformulated products from major brands to meet this changing consumer environment. Because at least half of consumers of any generation worry about potentially harmful ingredients in the foods they buy. (Mintel)

However, with a definition about the word “natural” under FDA consideration, manufacturers are turning to other terms instead, such as pure, simple or real to promote these reformulated products that incorporate the simple ingredients consumers are seeking.

It doesn’t get more real than eggs. Egg ingredients fit into the traditional drivers for consumer purchases—after all, taste reigns supreme annually in the IFIC Food & Health Survey as the primary motivator for consumer food and beverage purchases. And eggs can fit into many of the evolving drivers as well, contributing to health and wellness factors such as satiety or a food’s protein profile, depending on the form of egg ingredient used and the amount. 

However, whether using a whole egg in a packaged breakfast sandwich or eggs as ingredients in baked goods, their “real” appeal and beneficial functional properties cannot be denied. We offer an extensive library of resources and ideas as thought starters for your product development efforts. Click here to view sample formulations for appetizers, desserts, main dishes, sauces and more.

2016-07-04 08:49:00