As the demand for labels to be clean, allergy-free and vegan-certified increases worldwide, starch manufacturers are looking at ways to create products that meet these current trends.

To resolve allergy issues, Ingredion Inc. has introduced some new starch solutions that could potentially replace egg albumen in certain applications, like chewy candies, available for customers depending on their formulations, says Joe Eisley, principal food technologist at Ingredion.

The Westchester, Ill.-based manufacturer has been producing gluten-free starches and flours for some time. Noting licorice typically uses wheat flour, Eisley says, “It’s a challenging thing” to maintain the elasticity and ability to process and extrude a confection such as licorice. Ingredion is working to develop gluten-free starch and flour solutions that will attain the elasticity and extrudability of wheat flour.

A lot of companies are testing potato starches for gelatin replacement applications because of the higher cost of gelatin and because of the increased demand for vegan, kosher, halalcertified products, says Eisley. “We have more and more requests for it,” he says. “More manufacturers are looking to use it.”

Potato starches also have a higher elasticity and better clarity than corn starches, he notes. High amylose corn starches gel faster allowing a manufacturer to speed up drying time, but they aren’t good gelatin replacers, explains Eisley, because they tend to be opaque and have a shorter, less elastic texture than gelatin.

In an effort to comply with the needs of manufacturers who need to meet organic compliance, Cargill will be launching a moulding starch that no longer contains mineral oil. “Organic compliance is still a niche market,” says Wen Shieh, technical leader for Cargill’s Texturizing Solutions. “Yet it is a market that traditional moulding starch will not be able to meet the regulations.”

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And, even though the economy continues to improve, gummy manufacturers are still looking at ways to effectively cut costs. One Way to do this, according to Shieh, is to shorten the drying time while continuing to get a good texture for gummy candies. “The drying time can be easily shortened by more than 50 percent compared to the traditional operation conditions,” he says, noting this new product can be applied to all sugary gummy confections.

“The industry is always looking for new textures,” adds Shieh. Traditionally gelatin or starch was used in manufacturing gummy candy, but adding pectin creates new textures, he says.

Gelatin is always very chewy, he continues, while pectin has a short texture and starch has a long texture. By adjusting the ratio of ingredients, new textures can be formed.

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“Pectin has a good texture, great flavor release, and readily available,” says Shieh. Mixing up the ingredients and changing the ratio of gelatin, pectin and/or starch can make a confection less chewy, with a good fl avor release, he notes.

Tate & Lyle cites a report by the global research company MarketsandMarkets that states modified starch consumption is expected to grow from 13.6 million tons in 2012 to 16.28 million tons in 2017.

The London-based company produces a cold-water swelling corn starch called MIRA-GEL 463 that is suitable for clean label positioning, says James Blunt, senior vice president, product management specialty food ingredients at Tate & Lyle. It provides a firm texture in low-temperature or cold-processed confections and is labeled as corn starch.

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The company offers several other starches for candy applications including MIRA-THIK 468 and MIRA-SET 285 that deliver a gelled texture enabling high amylose starch replacement. Blunt notes that those two modified starches, along withMIRA-GEL 463, a food starch, all provide a cost-savings benefit achieved through low or no cook processing while flavor loss caused by heating is reduced.

Specialized starches can aid manufacturers in developing “clean labels” in confectionery applications, such as fruit chews.

(Photo courtesy of Tate & Lyle.)