Focus on reformulation

The food industry is constantly reinventing itself with a stream of ingredient innovations. Carole Bingley, Technical Specialist at RSSL, explains how to get to grips with these changing dynamics.

Product reformulation has become a driving force in many manufacturers’ development strategies. Consumers seeking new taste experiences, adopting flexitarian eating habits or choosing sustainable brands are just some of the recent trends influencing new directions. Factor in the added pressure of high-profile health initiatives - such as achieving the 20% sugar content reduction target content set by Public Health England - and it’s not surprising that revamping product portfolios remains firmly on the agenda.

From a technical perspective, however, any change to a product’s formulation can’t be viewed in isolation. Such is the inherently complex nature of product recipes, processing and packaging regimes that an adjustment in just one ingredient can potentially impact any number of product characteristics; from texture and flavour to stability and flow behaviour.

That’s why it is so important to take a holistic view; where every aspect of the impact of the specified ingredient is analysed and understood in the context of the overall product concept, so that any necessary adjustments measures can be taken to ensure consistently positive product performance.

Oxidation of fats or oils is a complex process initiated by free radical reactions at the double bonds of unsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, the greater the number of double bonds or degree of unsaturation of the fatty acids, the greater the susceptibility to oxidation. The process of oxidation is affected by many factors including atmospheric oxygen, heat, heavy metals, exposure to light, and other chemical components that promote initiation of the oxidation process.

In the world of health and wellness, redesigning products to align with the latest trends is nothing new. But for formulators focused on creating the required nutritional profile or integrating the latest fashion-forward ingredient, understanding how these changes impact overall product quality is essential.

Published in the Spring 2019 issue of Nutraceuticals Now.

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