New tara gum blends – Cost-effective, high-performing, lean-label
One of the projects Marilyn and her colleagues have worked on recently is a new range of emulsifier-stabiliser blends that use tara gum as an alternative to locust bean gum (LBG).
“LBG has been common in ice cream for many years, but it’s highly susceptible to price fluctuation, and a lot of manufacturers want to be less reliant on it,” she explains. “We wanted to help customers find an alternative that wouldn’t change their product profile too much. Tara gum came into the picture because it’s from the same family, but the cost is lower.”
Through extensive testing, Palsgaard has found that tara gum performs as well as, or better than, LBG. “Structurally, it’s actually very similar”, she says. “We’ve tested it in a controlled meltdown chamber; the amount of melted ice cream is very small, and the shape retention is excellent. During churning, the product mix is stable, and the over-run is similar to what you get with locust bean gum. We’ve also realised that we can achieve a very low mix viscosity, which is something a lot of customers need.”
The new blends are in line with many current consumer demands ― they are free from PHOs and can be used in vegan products. They also have benefits for manufacturers who want to shorten their ingredient lists. “Another thing that’s good about it is that it only contains two or three E-numbers,” Marilyn says. “Ice cream tends to have a long list of ingredients, so if customers are looking for a leaner label, this is a very good product to introduce.”
The new trends shaping ice cream markets
A big part of Marilyn’s job is studying market trends to identify new product concepts that might be of interest to customers.
Unsurprisingly, 2020 has seen new interest in ingredients associated with immune health. There’s demand for ginger, turmeric and matcha ― even in ice cream. “The idea of those kinds of ingredients is actually really well accepted, as long as the flavours work,” she says. “Also, making ice cream seem healthier is popular because it gives people permission to indulge!”