When it comes to reducing sugar, everyone worries about how it will affect taste, but what about the texture? With tougher labeling laws and even sugary drink taxes in some countries, there are far greater and more complex challenges than taste.
Major sugar reductions can cause significant damage to the texture of well-known and favorite foods such as yogurts, sweets and even salad dressings. Take for example, a product like pudding… the sugar added to it contributes not only to the pudding’s taste but also to the texture. If sugar is reduced, food companies need to find a creative way to maintain its creamy texture. One option is to add a stabilizer to the product. This solution is not ideal as it may harm the “clean” image of the product. Also, some stabilizers can be difficult to disperse and consequently will require a larger amount to be added to the product. This would cause an additional issue of cost since stabilizers are already an expensive raw material, so adding a larger amount to ensure efficient dispersing would result in a further increase to the production cost. Filtering will also be needed to remove the agglomerates caused by poor dispersing, making the process even that much more complex.
Leading food companies are going for a simpler and “cleaner” alternative to improve texture – using very efficient rotor-stator mixing equipment with high shear abilities that produce a homogenizing effect in the product. The product passes through the rotor-stator multiple times in a short period of time, allowing the powder to be exposed to a large surface area in an efficient and fast manner. This process prevents the formation of powder blocks that do not dissolve in the traditional mixing processes and achieves a uniform size of the molecules that creates a smooth and creamy mouth feel.
The Admix Rotostat and Rotosolver are two leading in-tank mixers that enable dispersing and mixing at a much higher level than conventional equipment, getting to an agglomerate-free state in just a few minutes.
Switching from conventional high shear mixing equipment usually results in ingredient cost savings. This is because all powders are fully utilized rather than filtering unmixed agglomerates out. And when less stabilizers and sugar are used, it reduces production cost and promotes a healthier product!