US – IFF has unveiled a new stabilizer that offers ‘exceptional stability’ in plant-based beverage formulations while at the same time enabling formulators to shorten their ingredients lists and offer cleaner label products.

Known as Seaflour, the new ingredient is a hydrocolloid from red seaweed that is comprised of protein, fiber, and minerals and can be described on ingredients lists in the US as ‘natural seaweed.’

IFF touts the new ingredient as a potential stabilizer in higher-protein plant-based milks made with pea or soy.

The light tan-colored powder “offers exceptional stability, high-suspension ability and excellent mouthfeel,” said Michael Cammarata, senior beverage  technologist, IFF, Nourish division.

When used in production, Cammarata notes that Seaflour has “a unique synergy with plant proteins, keeping plant-based beverages stable and appealing, and providing smooth, creamy texture and mouthfeel throughout their shelf lives” .

He further noted that at the low usage levels in a plant-based beverage, it doesn’t impart any color or flavor.  “We’ve run sensory analysis to ensure that there’s no marine off notes you can pick up in the final products.”

A potential candidate for a short ingredient lists

In the plant-based industry, gellan gum is currently used to provide stability while other types of thickeners such as xanthan gum, guar gum or locust bean gum are use impart more indulgent textures.

Seaflour however shows potential to do what gellan gum does from a suspension standpoint, and [also] do what an additional thickener will do from a mouthfeel perspective, Cammarata notes.

This provides beverage formulators with opportunity to shorten their ingredients and position their products to consumers who prefer foods that are minimally processed and made with a shorter list of ingredients.

“So with this one ingredient in certain plant based beverage applications, you can get the stability, the uniformity that our customers are looking for through the shelf life, as well as the mouthfeel and viscosity that consumers are looking for,” Cammarata said.

He added: “With this single ingredient, manufacturers have the potential to reduce fat and sugar levels in their products without compromising texture or mouthfeel.”

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