The term'clean-label food' has moved up the agenda to become one of the most frequently discussed topics in the food industry, as well as among the consumers. Lyckeby Starch unpacks what this nebulously defined term means and outlines how its Lyckeby Careful portfolio of products, developed in close collaboration with food manufacturers, meets the associated expectations for quality, safety and performance.
During recent decades, 'clean-label food' has become one of the most important trends in food - for those in the industry as well the eventual consumers at the end of the chain. There have been several initiatives to try to reach a consensus and define what 'clean label' means, but there is no common definition yet.
From the consumers' perspective, the idea of clean-label food seems to vary. It can be perceived as more natural or healthier; made from simpler, recognisable raw materials and ingredients; or simply as a minimum or total absence of E-numbers on a product's label.
At the same time, consumers are reluctant to compromise on quality criteria such as taste, appearance and convenience. So, with an increasing number of consumers today wanting high-quality clean-label food, the food industry is responding. Clean-label ingredients have become an important strategic issue across the entire food manufacturing chain.
The development of clean-label starch products meeting all these new expectations is a real challenge. In 2010, the Swedish starch manufacturer Lyckeby Starch produced and launched a clean-label starch range, Lyckeby Careful, with starches carefully designed for a specialised range of applications. Since then, additional products have been developed in close collaboration with the food industry.
Today, the Lyckeby Careful portfolio offers ten products, based on potato starch, barley or waxy maize, designed for the processes used in selected applications such as fermented dairy, soups and sauces, chilled or frozen ready-made meals, fruit preparations and bake-stable fillings.
The Lyckeby Careful clean-label starches fulfil the high expectations of the food industry and consumers as they combine clean taste and a white colour profile with excellent function and stability.
In order to find the optimal clean-label starch product, manufacturing factors such as temperature, shear, pH, brix (sugar content), storage conditions and so on always need to be taken into account but, of course, there are some guidelines.
Modified starch is widely used in ultra-high temperature (UHT) processes for products with prolonged shelf life.Reliable UHT-tolerant clean-label starches are therefore high up on the wishlist. Lyckeby Careful 370 and Lyckeby Careful 390 are designed for extreme processes like UHT.
In fermented dairy products like yoghurt and crème fraiche, starch ingredients need to be neutral in taste and colour, and provide smoothness and a pleasant mouthfeel. Several Lyckeby Careful starches are suitable for these applications.
In applications with requirements for shininess and smoothness, or when storage and freeze-thaw stability properties are important, the Lyckeby Careful 200 range provides several alternatives.
Processed cheese and cream cheese are products with a firm and solid structure. Here, the gelling starch Lyckeby Careful 150 is highly recommended. This can also be used in soups and sauces to increase body and improve mouthfeel.
Choosing the right clean-label starch for a specific process and recipe - whether in new product development or when replacing modified starch in an existing product - can be tricky. That is why Lyckeby Starch offers specialised knowledge about starch, and how it performs in different processes and applications.