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Pectin-rich ingredients show fat replacing potential

By Stephen Daniells , 15-Mar-2010

Using pectin as a fat replacer may produce baked goods with 30 per cent less shortening, while producing a more tender texture, says new research.

With obesity levels rising across the globe, consumers are increasingly seeking out low-fat and low-calorie versions of their favourite foods. As a result reduction of fat in products is a growing area of interest to food manufacturers.

The new study, published in Bioresource Technology, indicates that cookies formulated with a pectin-enriched material from apple pomace were considered to be more tender, with higher moisture content, than cookies formulated with shortening.

“The results suggest that pectin could be a fat replacer in baked goods, thus allowing production of potentially healthier food items,” wrote the researchers from Sejong and Hanyang Universities in Korea.

“It thus could be quite worthwhile for commercial applications since health and wellness is a dominant trend of the current food industry,” they added.

Pectin, with worldwide production estimated at 35,000 tonnes a year, is currently widely used as gelling agents in jams, confectionery, and bakery fillings, and stabilisers in yoghurts and milk drinks.

The majority of pectin used currently comes from citrus peel and apple pomace. The functionality of pectin is dictated by the chemical fine structure, and other sources of the ingredient, like sugar beet and pumpkin, have remained largely unexploited because of certain undesirable structural properties.

Led by Sejong University’s Suyong Lee, the researchers prepared water soluble pectin-enriched materials (PEMs) from apple pomace. This was subsequently used to replace shortening (Criso, The J.M. Smucker Co., USA) in cookies.

Compared to cookies made with shortening, the pectin-formulated cookies had less spread during cooking, while the height of the cookies was higher. The researchers also note that gas retention was less in the pectin-formulated cookies.

Replacement of shortening up to a level of 30 per cent was found to be possible without detrimentally affecting the texture of the finished baked good.

“Our results indicated that PEMs produced cookies with a more tender texture,” wrote Lee and co-workers.

“Extreme replacement levels of shortening with PEM gels (above 40 per cent) may produce thick and cake-like cookies due to the inclusion of a high amount of water in cookies,” they added.

Source: Bioresource Technology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2010.02.022
"Utilization of pectin-enriched materials from apple pomace as a fat replacer in a model food system"
Authors: B. Min, I.Y. Bae, H.G. Lee, S-H. Yoo, S. Lee

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