IFT 2018: Beneo talks clean label starch and FDA dietary fiber clearance

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

"Starch is everywhere," says Beneo regional product manager of North America and now food manufacturers have a clean label option. ©GettyImages/EvgeniiAnd
"Starch is everywhere," says Beneo regional product manager of North America and now food manufacturers have a clean label option. ©GettyImages/EvgeniiAnd

Related tags Beneo Ift Starch Clean label

Starch can be found in nearly every corner of the CPG industry from shelf-stable pasta sauces and salad dressings to canned soups and jarred baby food because of its thickening and stabilizing properties. However, clean label options that deliver the same functionality as modified starches are still fairly new, according to Andy Estal, Beneo director of customer technical service, Americas region.

At the IFT show last week, Beneo highlighted its new RemyPureS52 (the successor to RemyPureS51 launched last year), a rice starch with all the stability characteristics of a modified starch that hasn't undergone the same chemical processes.

"We know there’s no definition of that [clean label] and every company has their own interpretation, but modified starch doesn’t meet any of them,"​ Estal said. 

In an effort to replace modified starch, some food companies turned to other options such as carrageenan or a combination of hydrocolloids and other gums as a workaround.

“But a lot of the gums are not considered clean label anymore,”​ Estal said.

“Companies have really scrambled to take carrageenan out of their formulas and they were left really without a good food solution."

The challenge with replacing modified starch has been to maintain functionality under conditions such as gentle pasteurization to more severe retorting in both neutral and acidic food applications.

“A starch would not survive that unless it was chemically modified,”​ Estal told FoodNavigator-USA.

While its predecessor RemyPureS51 had high heat stability, it did not function as well under high shear conditions (referring to the resistance to force such as being sliced by a knife or chewed), according to Estal. With RemyPureS52, customers now have a high shear component.

“Now manufacturers have an alternative to chemically modified starch in applications where they were not able to achieve stability with a clean label starch previously,”​ Estal said.

On a food label, RemyPureS52 can be labeled plainly as ‘rice starch’ and is non-GMO, according to the company.

To achieve its ‘clean label’ status, RemyPureS52 undergoes a thermal inhibition process technology that strengthens native rice starch granules to enhance their functional properties.

“At a certain moisture level, it’s treated with heat for a certain amount of time, and that changes the bond in the starch molecule,” ​he explained.

Interest for RemyPureS52 is high, according to Estal, with existing customers using RemyPureS51 looking to switch over to the newer version and new customers approaching them for a clean label starch to use in formulation.

Advancing the fiber conversation

Now that Beneo has received the green light from the FDA​ that its chicory root fiber (Inulin/oligofructose) can be classified as a ‘dietary fiber’, the company is able to step up innovation and research of applications and associated health benefits of its Orafti inulin and oligofructose.

The FDA made the ruling last month on eight additional fibers including inulin, polydextrose, and resistant maltodextrin that can be classified as dietary fiber, accepting industry petitions including one from Beneo that demonstrated multiple health benefits associated with chicory root fibers.

Beneo described the ruling as a huge win for the company and the industry.

“Chicory root fiber is the second most studied fiber in the history of the world, only behind oat. About two and half years ago the FDA decided to question what is and what is not soluble dietary fiber,”​ Estal said. 

The ingredients company submitted various clinically-studied health benefits associated with chicory root fiber during this limbo period when the FDA was mulling over its final ruling.

Out of the multiple research health benefits Beneo submitted to the FDA, the agency went with the one that had the broadest public health impact, according to Anke Sentko, VP of nutrition communication.

“In our case it was osteoporosis, specifically, the increased calcium absorption regarding osteoporosis,”​ Sentko told us.

“Our citizen petition that we submitted, the FDA actually used, because our science was so sound, as a guideline for some of their decision making process of the other fibers,”​  added Estal.

Beneo’s Oligofructose-enriched Inulin Orafti Synergy1 product that contains a designated chain length pattern has been found to be particularly efficient in enhancing the bioavailability of calcium and supports calcium absorption, according to the company.

While increased mineral absorption is an important health benefit of chicory root fiber, Beneo is continuing to explore the fiber’s effect on the microbiome​, a topic that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of, Sentko noted.

“The prebiotic effect and influencing the microbiome is the key benefit of chicory root fibers,”​ Sentko said.

Beneo anticipates that the FDA inclusion of chicory root fiber will only help ramp up use of its Orafti inulin and oligofructose by introducing it to more customers looking for a dietary fiber source with multiple well-documented health benefits.


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