Egg Yolk Products

Egg yolks are the yellow portion of a whole egg. They comprise 30% to 33% of the total liquid weight of a whole egg and contain the entire fat content of the egg in a balanced mix of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids with no trans fatty acids. Yolks also contain a little less than half of the protein of the whole egg and a high proportion of vitamins and minerals. Further, the yolk’s lipid profile includes a number of functional and healthful nutrients, including lecithin, choline and carotenoids.

  • The phospholipid lecithin, which acts as an emulsifying agent in foods such as sauces and dressings, can also be used to coat ingredients, aiding in their dispersion in a food matrix. In baked goods, lecithin reduces the rate of moisture loss as well as exerts a tenderizing effect.
  • Choline is an essential nutrient shown to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer, as well as contribute to fetal brain development.
  • The xanthophyll carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to contribute to eye health, assisting with preventing macular degeneration that can lead to blindness. The carotenoids make the yolk yellow, providing a rich color to baked goods, sauces and dressings.
  • Egg yolk is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D, a nutrient associated with bone health. Vitamin D deficiency is a growing concern among the American population.

Egg yolks are available in a wide variety of forms, including dried, frozen and refrigerated for a host of applications. They are a nutrient-dense ingredient that contributes to a clean label.

2014-02-17 12:58:09

The New Generation of Heat-and-Eat Meals

Many consumers, who traded down from restaurant meals in favor of retail-prepared foods that require simple heating prior to eating, are predicted to continue the habit even as the country’s financial situation improves. A major influence on this dining shift is the premium positioning of recent retail rollouts, ranging from frozen skillet meal kits to extended-shelf life refrigerated casseroles to microwaveable shelf-stable entrees.

Egg products can contribute to the quality of these meals in terms of functionality and nutrition. After all, eggs provide “20-plus functions,” including aeration, or how eggs lighten up foods; coagulation, or how eggs solidify; crystallization, or how eggs prevent ice crystal development; emulsification, or how eggs improve creaminess; protein, or how eggs are an economical source of high-quality protein; and texture, or how eggs provide structure.

For example, most pasta-based, heat-and-eat entrées contain cooked pasta made with eggs. Egg white proteins provide structure and coagulative properties to noodles, which is especially important for cooked noodles held in a liquid or a high-moisture frozen medium. This is exemplified in the new pasta-based Healthy Choice frozen steaming entrées.

Cooked pasta can also use whole egg products. The egg yolk contains xanthophyll, a carotenoid that has a yellow-orange pigment and gives the yolk its characteristic color. This pigment contributes a rich color to pasta, which is important in frozen entrées such as new Contessa Shrimp Primavera.

An attribute that many of the new generation of heat-and-eat entrées possess is simplicity. This involves ingredient lines with readily recognizable ingredients that a consumer could buy and have at home, such as eggs.

Simplicity is an attempt include the essential ingredients in a food formulation, according to the Natural Marketing Institute, Harleysville, PA., which has identified “pure & simple” as one of the top trends for the new decade. In the heat-and-eat entrée category, simplicity has become the ultimate sophistication.

Egg products are recognized by product developers as bringing more to product formulations with less. “With 20-plus functions, some might say egg products are anything but simple. But the truth is, egg products are uniquely pure and simple,” says Elisa Maloberti, director of egg product marketing, American Egg Board, Park Ridge, IL. “Their inclusion on ingredient statements is simple — egg, egg white or egg yolk — making egg products a natural fit for gourmet heat-and-eat entrée formulations.”

2014-02-03 05:00:18

Egg Products: Always a Safe Choice

Food manufacturers can have confidence in the egg product supply, as all further-processed and packaged egg products sold in the United States are pasteurized according to strict standards to ensure their safety. Quality control departments require that each and every egg product meets federal, state and internal safety checks. Eggs products make the grade…always.

The egg product safety record assures food processors of the knowledge that they are using a safe ingredient when including further processed, pasteurized eggs. The nutritional and functional power of eggs is supplied by nature, while the safety record is provided by producers’ hard work and conscientious effort to implement best practices.

Government and private industries work together to achieve this safety record, which conforms to the Egg Products Inspection Act that Congress passed in 1970. The Act requires all egg products distributed for consumption to be pasteurized to destroy Salmonella. Since the Act was passed, there have been no recorded outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to pasteurized egg products. This safety record is especially impressive considering that more than 76 billion eggs are consumed annually, with slightly more than 30% in the form of egg products in liquid, frozen or dried form.

The first step in producing an egg product is removal from the shell. This is followed by filtering and cooling to maintain quality while waiting for further processing, which may include the addition of non-egg ingredients, mixing or blending, stabilizing, pasteurizing, cooling, and packaging for freezing or subsequent drying.

“The USDA-approved pasteurization (heat treatment) methods assure food manufacturers that they’re using high-quality, safe egg products. The companies involved in producing egg products conduct thousands of quality assurance tests to be sure harmful bacteria are destroyed during the pasteurization process,” says Dr. Patricia Curtis, Auburn University Professor and Director of the National Egg Processing Center.

FDA regulations require qualifying statements when the terms “no hormones or antibiotics” are declared on labels for eggs. Additionally, no hormones or therapeutic antibiotics are used in the production of eggs for human food. Antibiotics may be used occasionally, but eggs from treated hens are removed from the market for a specified period of time in accordance with applicable regulations.

Although pasteurized refrigerated eggs may have a limited shelf life of a few weeks, both frozen and dried egg products, when properly stored, maintain a stable shelf life for months. It is important that food processors manage incoming raw egg products to keep them safe. For example, frozen egg products should not be allowed to thaw until it is time for immediate use. Refrigerated egg products should always be kept at 40°F or below. Dried egg products should flow freely and not be caked up or hardened, possible signs of degradation. Like all ingredients, further processed egg products should be used well within any expiration dates.

Creating appealing food products with great taste is challenge enough. Exceed your expectations and take the worry about safety out of your formulation concerns with real egg products. For more information about the wide variety of pasteurized, government-inspected, further-processed egg products, contact the American Egg Board, 877/488-6143 or 847/296-7043, or visit

2014-01-20 05:00:34

Whole Egg Products

From the Nutrition Facts to the ingredient statement, discerning consumers often base purchase decisions on what is included or missing from a food label. Formulating with whole egg products helps keep labels clean and simple, as “whole eggs” or “eggs” on ingredient statements conveys purity and naturalness, as compared to chemical-sounding ingredients. And with 20-plus functionalities, no other single food ingredient can directly replace whole eggs in product formulations.

Whole eggs can provide prepared foods with exceptional richness in terms of color, flavor and texture. They also can assist with emulsifying, stabilizing, increasing volume, improving machineability and more. Plus, whole eggs are considered nutrient dense, as an average Large egg (50 grams) contains 6.25 grams of high-quality, complete protein; 5 grams of fat, the majority of which is unsaturated; and a range of essential vitamins and minerals, including choline, vitamin D, phosphorous, and riboflavin..

To enable ease of distribution, storage and use, the egg products industry offers whole egg products in three basic forms: dried, refrigerated liquid and frozen.

With dried whole eggs, most of the moisture is typically removed through spray drying, providing product developers with a highly concentrated egg product. Sucrose, corn syrup or sodium silicoaluminate are sometimes added as anti-caking agents to assure a free-flowing product. Without these ingredients, the dried whole egg product could harden and solidify, making it difficult to incorporate into food systems. These ingredients also help preserve the whipping properties of dried whole egg. Dried whole eggs have the advantage of long shelflife and stability and are easily mixed with other ingredients.

Refrigerated, liquid whole eggs are the most convenient form of whole egg products. As with all types of egg products, they are pasteurized to maintain safety and quality through shelflife. Quick and easy to use at the commercial level, some liquid products may contain small amounts of other food ingredients in order to maintain product quality and functionality.

Frozen whole eggs can be thawed as needed, and used in a similar manner to refrigerated, liquid eggs. Frozen whole egg products also often contain other ingredients to preserve quality and functionality. For example, sugar, corn syrup, citric acid or salt can be added to prevent gelation during freezing, as gelation leads to an increase in viscosity.

2014-01-07 16:05:29

Home Entertaining Innovations

Call it an appetizer, a side dish or simply a snack, gourmet finger foods and premium condiments purchased at the supermarket and consumed at home are one of the hottest trends in prepared foods. This is likely a result of Americans having traded down from gathering with friends at restaurants to home entertaining. In response, retailers are dedicating larger amounts of refrigerated and freezer merchandising space to such products, which range from premium cracker spreads to frozen hors d’oeuvres.

Ethnic seasonings and regional dishes are influencing product development efforts, with many formulators also relying on egg products to ensure quality and premium positioning. For example, gourmet dips and spreads often use egg yolks to achieve a rich and creamy consistency, as egg yolks are a concentrated sources of phospholipids and lipoproteins, which are excellent emulsifiers for stabilizing oil-in-water solutions. Egg yolks also help bind the many flavors, spices and particulates added to dips and spreads, thus preventing separation.

Indeed, many frozen appetizers are fried or baked prior to being packaged, and egg products in the dough help prevent freeze-thaw deterioration. Egg products in batters also help with adhesion, or the binding of the breading to the food. It is the proteins in egg products — specifically in the whites — that assist with adhesion.

With consumers’ increased interest in new flavors and cuisines, premium appetizers are an ideal option for enjoying without over indulging. Egg products can assist with quality, and at the same time keep ingredient statements simple and clean, as if the products were prepared fresh by a chef.

2013-12-23 05:00:07

Prepared Egg Products

Eggs are the original high-quality, high-protein breakfast food. For convenience sake, egg products can be readily included in many packaged, prepared products for on-the-go dining. Egg product suppliers eliminate the egg preparation step by supplying precooked eggs in the form of egg patties, omelets and scrambled eggs, which are quick-frozen to ensure freshness and easily adapted to assemblage lines.

Convenience breakfast items can be microwaved at home or at a foodservice establishment, and include sandwiches, burritos and bowls. They rely on fully cooked, pasteurized egg products that provide consistency and portion control in the final application. They are ready-to-go, just like the breakfast item in which they are featured.

These precooked egg products offer manufacturers flexibility in creating breakfast items.  All three forms—patties, omelets and scrambled—can be customized to include the addition of other ingredients, including herbs, spices and diced veggies. Sometimes they will contain other ingredients to maintain product quality and assist with freeze-thaw stability.

2013-12-09 05:00:24

Value-Added Specialty Egg Products

Product developers can turn to value-added specialty egg product ingredients when consistent and efficient functionality is required in food formulations. Through the use of physical processing, the chemistry of these ingredients has been fine-tuned by egg processors to provide improved performance.

When the foam is a critical characteristic of the finished product, as in the case of angel food cake or meringue, formulators should consider using high-whip egg whites. Available in dried, refrigerated liquid or frozen, high-whip egg whites whip into a food foam faster and more consistently than regular egg white. Liquid and frozen high-whip whites typically contain sodium lauryl sulfate to enhance foaming.  Dried high-whip whites are produced by holding the egg white solids at high temperatures for an extended period of time.

Egg product manufacturers can also enzymatically treat the egg yolk’s inherent all-natural emulsifier lecithin. This changes its chemistry to a form with increased solubility, improved emulsification and enhanced heat stability. Because this enzymatic treatment is not considered a processing aid, enzyme modified egg yolk does require declaration on the ingredient panel.

Available in dried, refrigerated liquid or frozen, enzyme modified egg yolk is extremely useful in applications that rely on egg yolks for emulsification, such as mayonnaise, salad dressings and sauces.

For more information about other value-added specialty egg products, including an in-depth explanation of the science behind their physical transformation, please consider viewing the video titled: Fine-Tuning Performance: When Value-Added Specialty Egg Products Are the Right Choice.

2013-11-25 14:18:21

Baked Egg Ingredients May Improve Tolerances

Egg allergy affects around 2% of children younger than 5 years old. While studies show that 80% of children eventually outgrow egg allergy, and most in the general population do so by school age, there are still many children retaining egg allergy into their teenage years. It appears that the longer the egg allergy persists, the less likely tolerance develops. This makes eating a variety of foods, in particular outside the home, very challenging, as eggs are present in many prepared foods.

According to a study published in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, research indicates that some egg-allergic individuals can tolerate baked egg (as in a muffin), as heating decreases allergenicity by altering the protein structure responsible for triggering an allergic reaction. Recognizing this, researchers characterized the  immunologic changes associated with ingestion of baked egg and evaluated the role that baked egg diets play in the development of tolerance to regular egg.

Results indicated that the majority of subjects with egg allergy can tolerate baked egg. Long-term ingestion of baked egg is well tolerated and accelerates the development of tolerance to regular egg. These findings present an important shift in the treatment paradigm for egg allergy, as clinical management can improve the quality of life of egg-allergic children and ideally, promote earlier tolerance development.

2013-11-11 05:00:50

Role of Egg Proteins in Meatless Formulations

Product developers are wise to understand that many health- and wellness-conscious consumers are seeking meatless, but high-quality protein, main dish options.

It’s worth noting that during the past decade scientists have discovered that high-quality protein influences numerous bodily functions, most notably prevention of muscle loss and maintenance of muscle function. High-quality protein also provides a sense of fullness, which in turn can assist with weight loss and weight management.

Egg products are an economical high-quality protein ingredient for meatless formulations. Not only do they contribute complete proteins to the formulation, they also provide a number of desirable functions.  According to Mintel GNPD, 101 egg-containing meatless new products positioned as an alternative for similar meat-containing products have emerged between January 1, 2008 and September 30, 2013 in the United States.

There are more than 40 different proteins in a whole egg, some exclusive to the white and others to the yolk. Egg whites, which are mostly water and protein, when dried, are a concentrated source of high-quality protein. Yolks are also a source of essential fatty acids.

Egg proteins influence the rate of denaturation and coagulation, which in turn are responsible for a number of the more than 20 unique functionalities that egg products bring to product formulations, such as binding ingredients, foaming and tenderization. Egg proteins also contribute to desirable browning.

For example, Lightlife Foods, Turners Falls, MA, recently entered the frozen foods business with the debut of two product lines: Chik’n Entrees and Veggie Burgers. The company combines a variety of non-meat proteins, including egg whites, in order to tout the fact that each serving contains 14 to 20 grams of protein, varying by product.

Elmwood Park, NJ-based Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods is addressing meatless breakfast needs with a new frozen sausage-like patty product. The company combines soy and wheat proteins with egg whites and the traditional spices associated with pork sausages. A 38-gram patty contains 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, none of which quantify as saturated, and 7 grams of protein. Similar pork-based patties contain about the same amount of protein, yet are typically double the calories and the fat, and can be a source of saturated fat.

Egg products, in particular dried egg whites, can assist with the development of meatless center-of-plate offerings.

2013-10-28 14:26:45

Staling: The Invisible Problem Solved by Egg Products

Formulators of baked grain-based foods such as breads, muffins, and even cookies, are increasing the whole grain and fiber contents of formulations to help Americans better achieve their recommended daily intakes. Many are using less refined flours, ancient grains and fiber ingredients, all of which can increase products’ susceptibility to staling, also known as drying out.

Staling has always been one of the earliest signs of deterioration in baked goods. In chemistry books, this is referred to as retrogradation, and it is an irreversible process that not only liberates water but also collapses starch molecules into insoluble moieties.

Without protective measures in place, a bakery-fresh loaf of bread will lose its desirable tender crumb and aroma in a few days. Most neighborhood and in-store bakeries avoid artificial preservatives and ingredients, as are an increasing number of commercial bakeries. This is where egg products enter the picture.

Not only do egg products provide a wide variety of nutrients, including high-quality protein, trans-fatty acid free mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, and other highly bioavailable nutrients with recognized health and wellness benefits, they are able to assist with maintaining quality through a baked good’s expected shelf life. And the best part is that they do this while being very simply listed as egg, egg white or egg yolk on ingredient statements.

The process of retrogradation begins in the oven, when the starch chains located inside of the starch granules swell with moisture when heated. As the grain-based product starts to cool, the swollen starch chains lose their moisture content. Over time, moisture migrates to dryer regions of the product and then eventually evaporates into the surrounding atmosphere. Loss of moisture causes the starch chains in the swollen granules to collapse, and the crumb degrades, resulting in a firm texture and dry mouthfeel, eventually rendering the baked good inedible.

Here’s where egg products can help, specifically the all-natural emulsifier lecithin that is concentrated in the yolk. Emulsifiers, which are molecules that have one end that dissolves in water and one end that dissolves in oil, are thought to interfere with the collapse of the swollen starch molecules by lodging in the spaces between the highly branched starch chains, thus preventing their collapse. This retards the onset and rate of firming that occurs with age.

And here’s an added bonus. Egg yolks have a beautiful yellow-orange hue, as they are a concentrated source of the carotenoid xanthophylls. This pigment provides richness in terms of color when added to grain-based foods…and rich color contributes to perceived quality and freshness. For example, the egg yolks in Dunkin’ Donuts’ new Egg Bagels provide a desirable yellow hue, while contributing to a moist, soft, chewy inside.

Egg proteins, in particular those found in whites, can also assist with extending the shelf life of baked goods through foam formation. Foams entrap air, giving baked goods volume and springiness, attributes that suggest freshness. And when it comes to providing structure to baked goods, egg proteins accomplish this by the chemical process known as coagulation, which is the transformation of liquid egg into a semi-solid or solid matrix.

Essentially the same chemistry supports the functions of aeration and coagulation, with the former entrapping air and the latter binding water. Through a series of reactions, millions of egg protein molecules aggregate to form an insoluble three-dimensional network. As the proteins aggregate together, they entrap air—as in the case of a foam—and moisture—as in the case of a gel, as well as interact with gluten, thereby essentially building the baked good. In essence, they create cells where the cellular wall is composed of proteins and the cell contents are air or moisture.

Egg products, through their ability to retain moisture, slow down the staling process. This science has proven to be very useful in providing extended shelf life to gluten-free bread, as bread relies heavily on gluten for structure and palatability. Egg proteins can mimic gluten.

There are many other ways egg products can assist with preventing staling. For example, an egg wash applied to the surface prior to baking can seal in moisture. Further, eggs are a natural source of antioxidants, which may minimize oxidation of lipids during storage.

To learn more about how egg products can assist with extending the shelf life of baked goods, please view “Baked Goods: Extending Shelf Life.” This video, as well as the 11 others, can assist you with understanding the 20-plus functional benefits of egg products while earning free continuing education credits.

2013-10-14 05:00:34