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Peanut flour offers instant powder beverage innovations

By Stephen Daniells , 11-Feb-2010
Last updated the 12-Feb-2010 at 14:43 GMT

Partially defatted peanut flour could provide the foundations for an instant shake-style beverage with excellent consumer acceptance, according to a new study from the US.

Scientists from the University of Georgia report that it is possible to mimic commercially available popular meal-replacement shakes and protein shake mixes using milled peanut flour and other additives, and allowing an alternative formulation to satisfy increasing consumer demand for “convenient, on-the-go products”.

“Since peanut flour is free-flowing and nonsticky, it can be easily mixed with other food ingredient powders; this method can allow manufacturers to create an “instant” beverage powder solely from dry ingredients, eliminating the need to subject a liquid version to drying processes,” explained the researchers in the Journal of Food Science.

According to the Georgia-based researchers, the number of instant tea powders, energy drink powders, and nutritious meal replacement drink powders available has been increasing, with manufacturers attracted by the long shelf life potential of instant powders. “Because dry powders have an extremely low water activity, they are protected from spoilage, contamination, oxidation, browning reactions, and loss of nutrients,” they added.

Led by Yen-Con Hung, the researchers used partially defatted peanut flour (12 per cent fat, provided by the Golden Peanut Co.) with sugar, non-fat dry milk (Kroger Co.), along with various stabilising gums (xanthan gum powder from TIC Gums) to produce an instant shake-style beverage.

The colour of the resultant beverages were dictated by the percentage of peanut flour used, said the researchers, with darker drinks obtained with higher peanut flour levels.

Higher levels of the non-fat drymilk were found to lighten the colour, and decrease the level of separation.

“Results from this study showthat an instant beverage mix can be made from finely milled peanut flour,” stated the researchers. “The intended smoothness value was accomplished, as indicated from the low grittiness ratings in the sensory evaluation. In fact, the highest smoothness ratings were given for samples with the highest levels of peanut flour in the formulation.”

Remaining hurdles

“The main problem that panelists found with the beverage was its viscosity. As evidenced by the purchase behavior questionnaire, most panelists seemed to prefer extremely thick beverages, such as milkshakes, and the peanut beverage was too thin for their liking,” wrote Hung and co-workers.

The researchers also noted problems with dissolving in solution. “Perhaps future studies can employ the process of agglomeration to enhance the ‘instant’ properties of the powder.

“Overall, however, the production of the beverage powder was a success, and the product was generally accepted by the sensory panel,” they concluded.

The research was financed by the Southeastern Peanut Research Initiative and the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station.

Source: Journal of Food Science
January/February 2010, Volume 75 Issue 1, Pages S8 - S19
"Analysis of Ingredient Functionality and Formulation Optimization of an Instant Peanut Beverage Mix"
Authors: Brandy M. Howard, Yen-Con Hung, S. Kay McWatters

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