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5 reasons to take a whole-label view to ingredient replacement

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Analysing all ingredients on the label at the same time will not only achieve ‘clean label objectives’ but also reveal areas where processes can be improved or rationalised and more consumer acceptable substitutes made. Chemical, biological and physical processes can provide fresh solutions to old challenges around colour, preservation and texture.

Here are five achievable benefits from taking a whole-label view to ingredient replacement:

  • Enhance nutritional value – a move to ‘natural colours’ will boost the nutritional value of the product. The anthocyanins that produce purple-blue and red colouring in blueberries and cherries are also powerful antioxidants and protect the body from infections and even some types of cancer


  • Reduce need for other additives – vitamin C is a powerful preservative but can bleach colour. Understanding the chemistry can help get the quantity correct and reduce need for other correctives


  • Create new features – controlling the rheology of molten chocolate with the use of physical methods such as an electric field not only removes the need of emulsifiers, with names such as sorbitan tristearate, but also allows the chocolate to be moulded in new ways


  • Reduce cost – thickeners like carrageenan and antifungals such as sorbic acid can be eliminated in yogurt and other fermented products by careful culture selection


Boost consumer confidence – ‘chemical’ preservatives such as sodium lactate or propionic acid can be replaced through use of natural fermentation with the products labelled as ‘fermented sugar’ or ‘cultured beet sugar’

I believe that looking at the entire ingredient list is the way to go, not the piecemeal approach that is often used at the moment. To improve the ingredient line sustainably, food manufacturers need to look at the function of all the chemicals on the list and then pick the correct technique or approach to address all of the issues at the same time.

Likewise, unpicking some of the older recipes with the benefit of this knowledge is providing new insights into how to improve current processes.

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