Quite apart from high inflation and exploding energy prices, the volatile availability and price fluctuations on raw materials markets are a huge challenge for the food industry. New solutions are needed in order to respond to consumers’ shrinking budgets. Accordingly, cost reduction remains a focus at Hydrosol. “More and more customers are asking us to help them make their recipes more economical,” reports Hydrosol Product Manager Katharina Schäfer. Hydrosol, a specialist in stabilising and texturing systems, is working hard to find ways to reduce cost-driving raw materials in stabilising systems, as well as to develop new systems on this basis.
One example is ice cream. Locust bean gum is a familiar ingredient here thanks to its many functional properties. For example, it gives a slow, gentle melt and prevents the formation of ice crystals. It also gives ice cream a fuller mouthfeel, and makes it creamier and “warmer”. Prices have dropped back down a little bit after a huge jump in the spring, but locust bean gum still costs four times what it did a year or two ago. “We try to retain the many functional properties of locust bean gum using more economical ingredients,” reports Katharina Schäfer. “First and foremost are other galactomannans like tara gum, which can often produce the desired properties in ice cream when combined with other ingredients like carrageenan. You need to make adjustments with care, in order to reduce or entirely replace locust bean gum – depending on how far the price needs to be reduced.” Another application where locust bean gum is used is breakfast cream. Here again, Hydrosol has developed alternative solutions.
Identifying cost drivers
In the deli category, mayonnaise is a big focus. “To reduce the egg content in compounds, while retaining its beneficial properties, we make use of the interplay of hydrocolloids and starches,” says Katharina Schäfer. This also applies to replacing xanthan, which is likewise used in mayonnaise and likewise rising in price. Together with the customer, Hydrosol defines the cost drivers in recipes so as to replace them as well as possible.
For example, with Hydrosol’s new functional systems the meat industry can reduce ingredients like carrageenan or alginate in cured meats and sausage products, to compensate for rising meat and raw material costs. “In our systems, these ingredients are substituted by improved formulations and combinations with other functional ingredients like starch and fibre,” explains Hydrosol Product Manager Florian Bark. “Our experienced meat technologists adjust the manufacturing processes on site, if needed.” Another possibility is to prolong product shelf life. With the help of improved shelf-life extender, meat and sausage products can stay in stores and with the customer longer.