Beverages have traditionally been divided into two distinct groups based on the pH: Carbonated soda, fruit juices, and yoghurt drinks are acidic in nature with pH ranging from below pH 3 to about pH 4.2; while chocolate/flavored milks, soy beverages, and coffee beverages all come in around a neutral pH 7.0.
A gap, or ‘beverage white space’, ranging from pH 5.0-5.9 has posed technical problems for the formulation of juice-based protein beverages because the acidic juice will degrade the protein and produce a beverage with a powdery or gritty mouthfeel.
CP Kelco’s new stabilizer system – a combination of its Genu-branded carrageenan and Kelcogel-branded gellan gum – promises beverage makers the opportunity to “formulate mildly acidic milk and soy beverages in a pH range that, until now, was not technically possible”, said the company.
The stabilizer system, branded Hi-pHive by the company, could also open up clean label opportunities, particularly for coffee-based beverages: Coffee typically has a pH of about between pH 5.2 and 5.6, and therefore manufacturers would sometimes have to add (alkaline) phosphate ingredients to increase the pH above 6.5 to obtain milk or soy protein coffee beverages. In addition to being included on the label, phosphates may also detrimentally affect the flavor of the beverage, said the company.
Speaking with FoodNavigator-USA during a recent visit to CP Kelco’s San Diego-based Innovation Center, Kathleen Deely, account manager, explained that the ingredient would allow formulators to remove phosphates from beverages, an initiative that considerably cleans up a label.
The patent pending stabilizer system was officially launched in September 2010, and is already being used a number of successful products. Deely noted a commercially available product in Brazil, which combines pineapple puree with a defatted coconut market, stabilized by Hi-pHive to a pH of about 5.2.
According to CP Kelco, the system works via the carrageenan fraction stabilizing the proteins and preventing them from clumping together (aggregating) during high temperature processing. The gellan gum component then works by suspending the stabilized protein in the finished beverage.
Such a system allows manufacturers to produce a beverage with “more acidic, more fruity fruit flavors,” said the company, “and allows milk to be formulated with real fruit juice”.