New yogurt stabilisers address soaring gelatin prices: Cargill

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Milk

Cargill has unveiled a new stabiliser system that it says will help dairy food manufacturers avoid the rising cost of gelatin in yogurt production.

The US company’s Vitex AYS stabilizers are a customizable functional system that, in Cargill’s words “enables dairy food manufacturers to manage raw material costs in yogurt while still providing customers with the same creamy products they expect”.

The new Vitex AYS products include modified food starch and hydrocolloids, which the company says allows manufacturers access to a cost-effective gelatine alternative with no detriment to texture or flavour.

Gelatin prices rise

Discussing the products following their launch at the International Dairy Show in Atlanta, Cargill’s product manager for texturising solutions, Eric Zorn, told that the company's wider portfolio of Vitex blends was currently available in the US and Canada.

“Gelatin and starch prices have risen in the last year. To help our global dairy food manufacturing customers remain competitive in the face of these price pressures, we’ve developed Vitex AYS," ​he said.

Customers can provide the same creamy product their consumers expect in a more cost-effective manner, Zorn said. "Vitex blends are customizable based on application and a customer’s product goals so cost-savings are on a case by case basis," ​he told this publication.

Within the dairy industry, collagen-derivative gelatin is extracted from animal skin and bones. It is used in everything from cultured milk products and cream to cottage cheese, yogurt and ice cream.

Cargill concepts on show in Atlanta using Vitex AYS include a “smooth, creamy” ​yogurt prototype produced without gelatin.

The firm's AYS stabilisers form part of its Vitex stable of functional systems, aimed at reducing cost in new or reformulated food and beverage products.

The Vitex range, Zorn said, was designed to provide improved texture and body, optimum mouth-feel and sheen, clean flavour delivery, longer shelf life and increased product stability.

It could also be used in other dairy applications, he added. Namely desserts, dips, dressings and processed cheese, convenience foods such as dips, dressings, sauces and sups and confectionery.

‘Reference remains gelatin’

A spokesman for the trade body Gelatine Manufacturers of Europe (GME) told that EU law prevented him from commenting on supposedly high gelatin prices for dairy producers.

But told about the Cargill launch, and asked about the advantages of gelatine in comparison with modern replacers, he said: “The very fact we talk about replacers shows that the reference remains gelatin.

“It has been used for ages and it combines many properties in a single ingredient, whereas replacers tend to have one or the other quality ​[in a single ingredient]."

He added: “You can also replace a certain amount of fat using gelatin. For instance, gummi bears that have a melt-in-mouth texture, but it isn’t a fat, it’s a pure protein.”

“Gelatin also forms a thermo-reversible gel, so if food manufacturers are not satisfied with the results provided by a specific setting they can start again,”​ the spokesman said.

“Using replacers or hydrocolloids as ‘replacers’, most don’t have this quality, so gelatin prevents waste.”

Other Cargill dairy concepts presented at the Atlanta show include Dairyland Direct Max Gro 970 cultures, designed to provide fast, consistent set times for cottage cheese.

“Cultures allow for a reduction in set time and a faster vat turnover, as well as a large rotation of cultures to help combat phage ​[bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria and can cause fermentation failure] and reduce losses from slow and dead vats,”​ Cargill claimed.

The company is also showcasing its Aubygel semi-refined carrageenans, used in a chocolate milk prototype designed to cut input costs for manufacturers, by replacing the protein stability, texture and flavour release of cocoa particles.

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