Battery egg law prompts egg replacer development

By Claire Videau

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Arla foods, Milk, Chicken

Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a new formulation of its whey protein Nutrilac to replace eggs in meatballs, which can help food companies cut down costs.

The new protein, called Nutrilac SA- 7802 is part of a growing portfolio of emulsifying egg replacement solutions.

The initiative was prompted by the impeding ban on conventional cages for laying hens from the European Commission . As cages are replaced by the January 2012 deadline, Arla predicts egg prices will rise dramatically , increasing production costs for its customers.

In the last ten years, the company has been working on egg replacement for the bakery industry. Hans Henrick Wikman, senior sales group manager at Arla Foods explained, “we took the knowledge we had from bakery and we twisted the protein so it would be suitable for meat applications as well​”.

“Denmark has a long tradition of eating meatballs, which contains eggs. So we were actively trying to push this concept for the meat industry​”.

Costs efficiency

Costs saving can vary depending on the meatball recipe, but Arla calculated that up to 2% could be saved from the final recipe. One of Arla’s major meatball producers saved 400,000€ by using Nutrilac SA- 7820, the company claims.

But costs isn’t the only advantage: handling the ingredient is another. When making meatballs, 7% of liquid egg is needed against 0.5% of concentrated whey protein. The ingredient has a neutral flavour and a white colour, which ensure the sensory properties of meatballs are not affected.

Although designed for the meat, the ingredient can also be applied to fish and poultry. The texture stays soft and malleable, which is an important criterion when producing meatballs.

In the development process the company worked closely with its customers. The tests were run at Arla’s pilot plant and by a trained panel. To maximise results and meet its customers’ needs Wikman said “we try to get their recipes and then we try to find the raw materials that are as close to the raw material as they are using themselves​”.

Arla is always looking for new development for its protein range and has many products on the pipeline. “We are coming out with a milk replacer specifically for the meat industry and also for the ready meal industry in the nearest future​” Wikman said.

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