Etenia rivals gelatine in gelling and functionality, says Avebe

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Edible thickening agents Starch

Avebe is launching a new range of starch ingredients called Etenia,
intended to be used as gelling agents in dairy and other food
products but with clean-label and vegetarian-origin benefits to

Market manager Paul Sheldrake told that one of the key benefits is that the potato starch-derived ingredient can be labelled as 'starch' rather than 'modified starch', meeting clean label requirements that are being put in place by manufacturers and retailers. This, he said, is an important consumer driver, as there is a general shift away from food additives and ingredients that are seen to be of artificial origin. In contrast to other starches on the market, Etenia is said to have gelling as well as thickening properties. Moreover, it has some of the same properties as gelatine, the most common gelling agent, but it is vegetarian. For instance, both gelatine and Etenia have thermosensitive gelling properties - that is, they thin when heated and thicken when cooled. Indeed Sheldrake called Etenia "the first starch-based ingredient with the same level of functionality as gelatine".​ The ingredient is expected to make its debut in dairy products, such as yoghurts. In particular, it can be used in low-fat products, since it is said to give a better mouth-feel and a creamier texture compared to other fat-replacers. The company announced the introduction of Etenia this month but has not disclosed details of the underlying technology, which has been patented. But Sheldrake called it "a major innovation and step-change in the way these products [dairy] are made."​ Avebe is continuing to explore the ingredients' use in other food applications, and these will be communicated in due course. The result of several years' development work, Etenia's official launch will take place at FIE in London in October. Avebe started talking about the range with industry partners once technical development had reached the stage where commercialisation was viable. Consequently, the company is in advanced discussions with food companies over the use of Etenia in products, although no firm indication could be given of the timescale for the first products to reach supermarket shelves. Sheldrake believes this interest from manufacturers is a positive indication of the potential success of the ingredient range in the marketplace. "A product has to be successful to prove it is innovative,"​ he said.

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