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Options abound for low-fat, vegetable-based mayonnaise

By Stephen Daniells , 02-Mar-2010

Vegetable proteins to replace eggs and a combination of gums and citrus fibre are just two options for low-fat vegetable-based mayonnaise formulations, according to recent research.

Mayonnaise is an oil-in-water emulsion, stabilised by protein – traditionally egg proteins. The oil content of traditional mayonnaise is over 65 per cent, leading to the product being regarded as a high-fat food.

Combining xanthan gum, guar gum and citrus fibre may replace 50 per cent of the fat in mayonnaise formulations, according to new research made in Taiwan and published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

When consumers were asked to compare the low-fat mayo with a control product no differences were observed, said the scientists led by Ruo-Syuan Ho from Toko University.

The ingredient combination could also be extended to other low-fat formulations, they added, including salad dressings.

Researchers from NIZO Food Research in the Netherlands took a different approach and looked at replacing the egg protein with vegetable protein to produce a vegetable-based mayonnaise. Replacing egg protein with vegetable protein is desirable for several reasons, including cost, health, and sustainability, according to the Dutch contract research company.

In order to provide vegetable-based options, NIZO scientists have reportedly developed a recipe for making vegetable-based mayonnaise that is also indiscernible from traditional egg mayonnaise. They started off by developing a database listing the functionalities of vegetable proteins from a wide range of sources, which provides information on properties such as solubility, emulsifying capacity, acid stability, and gel strength.

“This knowledge enabled rapid selection of a few key vegetable protein preparations for testing in mayonnaise,” said project leader Stacy Pyett. And two vegetable proteins were found to be capable of yielding shelf-stable fully vegetable-based mayonnaises.

Tweaking of the formulation to counter the higher astringency and roughness of the vegetable-based mayonnaises led to the production of an improved protein preparation was developed, they said. Mayonnaises prepared from the improved protein preparation were rated similarly to traditional egg mayonnaises, with a clean taste and smooth mouthfeel, said the company.

“Applying the vegetable protein database allowed us to formulate an excellent product in a short time,” says Pyett. “We are excited to apply this knowledge to other product categories.”

Source: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.3888
“Development of low-fat mayonnaise containing polysaccharide gums as functional ingredients”
Authros: H.-P. Su, C.-P. Lien, T.-A. Lee, R.-S. Ho

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