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Low-cholesterol, low-fat mayo to taste like the real thing

By Stephen Daniells, 17-Feb-2012

Related topics: Emulsifiers, stabilizers, hydrocolloids, R&D, The obesity problem

A combination of soy milk with guar gum, xanthan gum and select emulsifiers could produce low-fat, low-cholesterol mayonnaise that ‘closely matches’ commercial full-fat alternatives, suggests new research.

Writing in the peer-review journal Food Hydrocolloids, researchers from the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad in Iran report that a combination of soy milk, sunflower oil, 36% guar gum, 57% xanthan gum, and some mono- and diglycerides as emulsifiers produced a product that is low in cholesterol (no eggs) and low in fat, but with excellent textural and sensory properties.

Big business

Mayonnaise continues to be one of the best-selling products in the US. According to a report by Business Week in 2010, the best-selling condiment in the US is Hellmann’s Mayonnaise with total sales over $400 million.

Annual sales for all mayonnaise in the US are estimated at around $1.25 billion, according to SymphonyIRI Group.

Commercial mayonnaise is said to contain between 70 and 80% fat, and consumers are increasingly demanding low-fat versions of their favorite foods.

Some products, like Nasoya Nayonaisei, claim to be egg-free and low in cholesterol; Nayonaisei is formulated with soymilk, sunflower and/or soybean oil, and other ingredients, including guar and xanthan gums, and sodium alginate. This product offer 3.5 grams of fat per serving.

New formulations

According to the Iran-based scientists behind the new study, “there is no published data in the literature on application of soy milk with gums and emulsifiers to completely replace egg yolk and reduce cholesterol and fat in mayonnaise”.

In a formulation that is similar to Nayonaisei, they optimized a mixture of soy milk, sunflower oil, vinegar, salt, mustard powder, sugar, xanthan gum, guar gum, mono- and diglycerides, and water.

Results showed that the best mixture contained 56.7% xanthan gum, 36.7% guar gum, and 6.7% mono- and diglycerides.

The researchers noted that a combination of xanthan and guar gums should be used as this leads to the best physical properties, like stability, heat stability, viscosity, and firmness, as well as the best sensory properties, as tested by consumers.

“By using desirable levels of xanthan gum, guar gum, and mono-& diglycerides, producing low cholesterol-low fat mayonnaise with properties closely similar to those of commercial ones is possible,” they concluded.

Source: Food Hydrocolloids
Volume 28, Issue 2, Pages 344-352, doi: 10.1016/j.foodhyd.2011.12.023
“Optimization of low-cholesterol–low-fat mayonnaise formulation: Effect of using soy milk and some stabilizer by a mixture design approach”
Authors: V. Nikzade, M. Mazaheri Tehrani, M. Saadatmand-Tarzjan