Overcoming sensory and shelf-life challenges with egg white protein
The novel ingredients, rolling out under the group’s Eggxellent brand, are high in protein and free from carbohydrates and fat.
Nutritional snack formulations
Bouwhuis Enthoven said that nutritional snacks – and high-protein bars in particular – face some ‘persistent challenges’, including hardening and off flavours that limit shelf-life and reduce sensory quality.
“As bar hardening is a complex area it’s not easy to give one reason why and how any ingredient influences the textural changes upon storage,” Bouwhuis Enthoven business developer Astrid Kemper told FoodNavigator.
Nevertheless, she continued, egg white protein delivers demonstrably better results on this metric. “To date it is hypothesized that the globular structure, particle size and density and relatively high water activity of egg white proteins (as compared to other proteins commonly used in nutritional bars) are the characteristics that have a positive effect on the shelf-life,” she explained.
The egg white ingredients offered by Bouwhuis Enthoven are also an ‘excellent protein source’ that is well-suited to active nutrition categories. According to the European egg specialist, its Eggxellent egg protein isolate (EPI90) has a protein content of above 90% and the egg protein concentrate (EPC80) varies between 80% and 90%. “These ingredients provide a solid answer to the demand for nutritional bars,” the company suggested.
Moreover, the ingredients do not cause off-flavours, because egg white proteins naturally have a very neutral taste, the company noted.
Egg-spertise in eggs improves taste and functionality
Bouwhuis Enthoven is a global supplier of functional, sustainably produced egg ingredients.
By ‘fine-tuning’ the production process of the egg white powders, Bouwhuis Enthoven was able to improve the taste and functionality of its protein ingredients, according to Kemper.
“Most important for the shelf-life optimization is that by fine-tuning the manufacturing process of the egg white protein powders Bouwhuis-Enthoven is able to create protein ingredients with varying physical properties important for optimal quality bars [that are] formulation specific,” she explained.
The company influenced the characteristics of egg white proteins that are important for the optimal sensory quality of bars, such as protein structure, hydrophobicity, particle size, and water activity. Furthermore, EPI90 and EPC80 contain no fats or sugars that could otherwise participate in chemical reactions, such as lipid oxidation. This is a common cause of off-flavours.
Kemper explained that Bouwhuis Enthoven’s expertise and ‘unique knowledge’ in egg production processes supported this innovation.
“Bouwhuis Enthoven produces a wide selection of egg white protein ingredients. The production process of egg white powders consists of a number of steps. The critical steps for the nutritional bar category are, besides the de-sugaring, the powder drying and hot-room or dry heat treatment process steps.
“Bouwhuis Enthoven is the only global egg white protein supplier with three different powder drying process options: plate drying, spray drying and spray drying with agglomeration. After the initial drying step, the subsequent dry heat treatment of the powders helps to create the final desired physical properties of the protein ingredients.
“By combining and carefully controlling this complete drying process Bouwhuis Enthoven can thus create ingredients that vary in their gelling and foaming properties, characteristics important for creating texture in the nutritional bars, and ingredients that vary in their water activity, particle size distribution and density, characteristics important for the shelf life of the nutritional bars.”
In this way, Bouwhuis Enthoven is able to create new and improved functional properties of egg white proteins that enable the creation of gels, mousses, and foams in layered bars.
Outside the active nutrition segment, the company suggested low-carb and high-protein versions of traditional egg white-based confectionery products, such as nougat or meringue, offer opportunities for ‘entirely new products’ that cannot be created with alternatives, such as whey or soy.