The continuing popularity of yoghurt - and in particular its health benefits - has led to a raft of new product innovation as companies in market sectors outside the dairy industry seek to capitalise on yoghurt's reputation. And ingredient suppliers have been quick to respond to this demand for both yoghurt taste and functionality.
One of just four European companies offering yoghurt ingredients is France's Epi Ingredients , which launched its Low-Fat Yoghurt Powder 48 several years ago, and recently extended the range to include a number of new products with different functionalities.
In order to use the term 'yoghurt', the powder has to be created from starter strains recognised by the Codex commission, the company said, in this case Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
The principal low-fat yoghurt powder contains 34 per cent proteins and is obtained by the fermentation of skimmed milk and then spray drying, Epi Ingredients said. Its main use is as a filling for chocolate confectionery makers or by sauce manufacturers for its taste contribution, although it also has texture modifying properties.
The new instant granulated low-fat yoghurt powder closely resembles its low-fat cousin, but its granulated aspect means that it disperses instantly in water, the company claimed. This makes it ideal for use as a mixture in diet foods, Epi added.
The company has also extended its Epilac range of fermented milk powder products to include two new yoghurt products. Epilac 903 is more acidic than previous Epilac products, and is said to provide a greater sensation of freshness in the mouth. The company said that it is already being used by certain ice cream manufacturers.
Epilac 905, meanwhile, has been processed to increase its resistance in acidic media, as well as its resistance to thermal treatments such as pasteurisation. This makes it ideal for use by fruit beverage manufacturers, Epi claimed.
The Epilac fermented powders range also includes: Epilac 901, which contains 25 per cent proteins and live starters and is marketed as a cheaper alternative to the yoghurt powders with many of the same nutritional qualities; Epilac 902, a pasteurised version of 901; Epilac 906, a powder obtained through the same process as the yoghurt powders but pasteurised; and Epilac 910, a 60 per cent protein powder ideal for diet food and drink products.