How to produce lean-label ice cream

Industrially produced ice cream use functional ingredients such as emulsifiers and stabilisers categorized as food additives, to ensure eating qualities and shelf life of the ice cream. Emulsifiers and stabilisers serve several functions in ice cream:

  • Prevent whey separation (syneresis) in the mix 
  • Improve the whipping properties
  • Improve the texture and modify sensory attributes of the ice cream
  • Improve stand up properties of extruded type ice cream
  • Prevent ice crystal growth (during storage)
  • Improve the melting resistance

Definition of ‘Food additives’

In Europe food additives are defined as below and are characterised by an E number:

“‘Food additive’ shall mean any substance not normally consumed as a food in itself and not normally used as a characteristic ingredient of food, whether or not it has nutritive value, the intentional addition of which to food for a technological purpose in the manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment, packaging, transport or storage of such food results, or may be reasonably expected to result, in it or its by-products becoming directly or indirectly a component of such foods;”

This definition apparently doesn’t distinguish between natural and synthetic/artificial origin of the ingredients.

In the eyes of the consumer’s additives are equal to chemical or synthetic components which for health reasons should be avoided. However, many additives are of natural origin produced without any chemical modifications. In several countries outside Europe many of the functional ingredients holding an E number are natural ingredients e.g. locust bean gum, guar gum and pectin, and consumer products containing these ingredients may be labelled free from additives.

Locust bean gum (left) and guar gum are natural products but hold E numbers which must be declared in Europe, whereas consumer products containing these functional ingredients may be labelled free from additives in several countries outside Europe.

Fulfilling consumer demands

However, to fulfil the consumer’s demands for leaner label products Palsgaard has developed a new range of emulsifier and stabiliser systems for ice cream.

Emulsifier and stabiliser blends for ice cream traditionally contain at least three E numbers but four or five E numbers are very common. As each added ingredient in the blend has a specific functionality, removal of any of the ingredients influences the ice cream quality.

Palsgaard has, however, succeeded in developing new blends with two or even down to one E number while still obtaining high scores on the important quality parameters mentioned above e.g. sensory properties, stand up properties, melt down properties and storage stability. In the development process ice creams with the following composition were made:

Normal process conditions were applied, i.e. pasteurisation, homogenizaton, cooling and ageing followed by freezing. Heat shock stability was tested by exposure of the ice cream to -10°C for four days.

Figure 1: Melt down properties of ice cream with 1 E number. Before and after heat shock.

Palsgaard® ExtruIce 304

Palsgaard® ExtruIce 304 holds the declaration mono- and diglycerides (E471) and vegetable fibres meaning that an ice cream with only one E number coming from the emulsifier/stabiliser blend can be produced. With this blend a creamy, refreshing but full-bodied ice cream with excellent stand up properties, heat shock stability and slow melt down is obtained.

For more information

Should you like to know more about the lean label possibilities of Palsgaard® ExtruIce 304, please contact your local Palsgaard office.