Wheat emulsifier allows clean labels for cheap sausages

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Clean label, Wheat, Price

Ulrick and Short developed a new wheat-derived functional binder and emulsifier for use in economy sausages and burgers, enabling clean label claims at a lower price point.

The UK-based company, which specialises in clean label ingredients, has an established line of clean label wheat proteins known as Complex.

But Andrew Ulrick told FoodNavigator.com that clean label ingredients tend to be more expensive than chemically modified starches. This means there is a limit to how much retailers and consumers are prepared to pay for lower priced goods.

The ingredients in the Complex range are made by putting wheat flour through an aqueous process to split out the carbohydrate, protein and pentozan fractions. The pentozans (functional gums) are then broken down into still smaller parts, and selected fractions are re-assembled in different combinations.

The new version, called Complex E, is composed to make a lower price point possible.

“It’s a price point we want to meet,”​ said Ulrick. The recession has ushered in new interest in the lower cost sector of the market.

“The economy burger had gone out of fashion, but now it is coming back in again.”

He added that the new addition will rejuvenate the Complex line, which has become a mature product in its lifecycle.

Inspired by skin

Ulrick and Short originally drew inspiration for Complex from cosmetics ingredients, as a similar method of fractionating the pentozans was used for a skin care ingredient to help retain moisture. However cosmetics ingredients are in a different price ball-park to food ingredients, so the company scaled up the process to make it cheaper, and do not split the pentozans down as far.

The original idea was for Complex ingredients to be used instead of soy, as in the late 1990s it was very difficult for food companies to source identity preserved (IP) soy (genetically modified soy dominated the market). Although IP soy is now available, there is still a big market for soy replacements, not least because the price is around 75 per cent that of soy.

Ulrick added that use of wheat instead of soy removes one allergen from the product. In low priced meat products wheat is often already present in the form of rusk.

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