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Title:
GELLED FOOD CONCENTRATE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/021190
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a food concentrate in the form of a gel where it is possible to cold blend additional ingredients, such as thickeners, during manufacture without destroying the final gel and a process for preparing such a food concentrate gel. The gel is free of syneresis and uses delayed gelation induced by the addition of a sodium source such as salt to an aqueous solution of low methoxy pectin.

Inventors:
BOTT, Katie (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
SADD, Peter (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
WHITMORE, Helen (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
TO, Kar-Mun (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
HISCOCK, Jan (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
ORGILL, Louise (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
Application Number:
GB2012/051905
Publication Date:
February 14, 2013
Filing Date:
August 06, 2012
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PREMIER FOODS GROUP LIMITED (Premier House, Centrium Business ParkGriffiths Way,St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
BOTT, Katie (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
SADD, Peter (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
WHITMORE, Helen (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
TO, Kar-Mun (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
HISCOCK, Jan (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
ORGILL, Louise (Premier House,Centrium Business Park,,Griffiths Way, St Albans Hertfordshire AL1 2RE, GB)
International Classes:
A23L29/20; A23L23/00; A23L23/10; A23L27/00; A23L27/10; A23L29/231; A23L35/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2007068402A12007-06-21
WO2011076528A12011-06-30
WO2011076528A12011-06-30
Foreign References:
EP0758531A21997-02-19
EP2468110A12012-06-27
EP2025247A22009-02-18
EP2005844A12008-12-24
EP2028954A12009-03-04
EP2077730A22009-07-15
EP2005838A12008-12-24
EP2468110A12012-06-27
Other References:
"Rompp Lebensmittelchemie", 1995, GEORG THIEME VERLAG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MURGITROYD & COMPANY (Scotland House, 165-169 Scotland StreetGlasgow, Strathclyde G5 8PL, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A gelled food concentrate which is free or substantially free of syneresis and characterised in that post manufacture and cooling the concentrate can tolerate the admixture of further ingredients without compromising the final gel performance, said ingredients being inert in the cooled concentrate, but capable of performing a technical function when the concentrate has been diluted in aqueous liquid in a ratio of 1 :10 to 1 :100 under the application of heat. 2. A concentrate as in claim 1 wherein the said ingredients perform the function of generating viscosity.

3. A concentrate as in claim 1 or 2 wherein the said ingredients may also include one or more of vegetable pieces, cut herbs, fruit pieces, flavourings, colours, aromas, thickeners, probiotics, vitamins or any other sensitive chemical compounds suitable for use in food.

4. A concentrate as in claims 1-3 wherein the gel comprises low methoxy pectin and a sodium source such as salt with a percentage equivalent of sucrose in the concentrate of less than 20%, preferably less than 15%, even more preferably less than 10%, most preferably less than 6%.

5. A concentrate as in claims 1-4 wherein the gel is free or substantially free of syneresis for at least three months, more preferably at least six months, most preferably at least twelve months.

6. A concentrate as in claims 1-5 wherein the concentrate is free or substantially free of dissolved calcium at the point of manufacture. 7. A concentrate as in claims 1-6 wherein the salt content of the concentrate is at least 5%, preferably at least 10%.

8. A concentrate as in claims 1-7 wherein a minority of the salt is replaced by alternative non-calcium salts to produce a low sodium concentrate.

9. A concentrate as in claims 1-8 wherein the concentrate includes taste imparting ingredients which may include one or more of liquid or dissolvable extracts or concentrates of one or more of meat, fish, herbs, fruit or vegetables, and/or flavours, and/or yeast extract, and/or hydrolysed protein of vegetable, soy, fish, or meat origin. The taste-imparting components may also comprise herbs, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, crustaceans, or particulates thereof.

10. A concentrate as in claims 1-9 wherein the time for a mass of 20g to dissolve in a litre of boiling water is less than four minutes, preferably less than two minutes.

1 1 . A concentrate as in claims 1-10 wherein the concentrate is packaged into consumer ready packaging.

12. A concentrate as in claims 1-1 1 wherein the concentrate is gelled such that the consumer can remove it from the pack in one piece.

13. A concentrate as in claims 1-12 wherein the concentrate provides a stock, soup, sauce, gravy or a seasoning ingredient for use in cooking by diluting said concentrate with aqueous liquid in a ratio of 1 :10 to 1 :100 under the application of heat.

14. A method of producing a gelled food concentrate which is free or substantially free of syneresis and characterised in that it uses delayed gelation induced by the addition of a sodium source such as salt to an aqueous solution of low methoxy pectin where the percentage equivalent of sucrose present is less than 20%, preferably less than 15%, even more preferably less than 10%, most preferably less than 6%. Said method comprising the steps of:

a) fully dissolving the low methoxy pectin in hot water

b) optionally adding sugar, maltodextrin and taste imparting

components and allowing the mix to homogenise

c) adding salt, re-homogenising and cooling d) adding ingredients for the later generation of viscosity and/or which are non-heat tolerant to the cooled but unset concentrate and re- homogenising, and

e) filling the concentrate into a mould or consumer ready packaging to set

15. A method as in claim 14 wherein the strength of the final gel is enhanced by cooling as soon as possible after the addition of the salt even in the presence of the final ingredient addition step.

16. A method as in claims 14-15 where dissolved calcium is not required at the point of manufacture.

17. A method as in claims 14-16 wherein the quantity of salt present is at least 5%, preferably at least 10%.

18. A method as in claims 14-17 wherein a minority of the salt is replaced by alternative non-calcium salts to produce a low sodium concentrate. 19. A method as in claims 14-18 wherein the concentrate is removed in one piece from the packaging by the consumer.

20. A method as in claims 14-19 wherein the concentrate provides a stock, soup, sauce, gravy or a seasoning ingredient for use in cooking by diluting said concentrate with aqueous liquid in a ratio of 1 :10 to 1 :100 under the application of heat.

Description:
GELLED FOOD CONCENTRATE

The present invention relates to a food concentrate in the form of a gel. It further relates to a process to prepare such a food concentrate. It further relates to the use of said food concentrate to prepare e.g. a stock, soup, sauce, gravy or as a seasoning ingredient for use in cooking. It further relates to a gel which is not destroyed during manufacture by the cold blending of additional ingredients, such as thickeners. Concentrates for preparing stocks, soups, sauces and gravies are well known, both as dry powders and liquid concentrates. Dry variants have the advantage of easy portioning, but require the use of fully dried and hence lower quality taste imparting ingredients such as herbs. Hence there is a desire for concentrates combining the advantages of both formats (e.g. unit dosing, but allowing the use of undried ingredients).

A number of patents have been disclosed for gelled stocks (e.g. EP2025247, EP2005844, EP2028954, EP2077730, EP2005838 etc.) however they are based on gelling systems which are either non-vegetarian (gelatine) or perceived as artificial by consumers (xanthan, locust bean gum, modified starches etc.). This defeats the point of having a stock in a more natural looking gelled format.

A further problem with such food concentrates is that the system can re-gel after make up with hot water and subsequent cooling. The diluted system does not necessarily make a firm gel, but a surface skin may form and the product will show more viscosity than expected. This can also be perceived as artificial by consumers. WO201 1076528 teaches a method of avoiding this problem by adding polyols to the recipe, but as such ingredients would not normally be added to stocks or gravies this makes the product even less consumer acceptable.

EP24681 10 discloses a gel composition based on low-methoxy pectin and calcium ions. However the text admits that combined gels with xanthan are preferred to produce an optimum degree of syneresis (liquid separation), thereby losing the benefit of a consumer friendly ingredients declaration. The sources of calcium exemplified (such as calcium chloride) are also undesirable from a consumer point of view. Furthermore significant levels of calcium are required when making gels of sufficient strength that they could realistically be removed in one piece from the packaging, and the physical stability of the gels so disclosed is only claimed for a period of some weeks. A further disadvantage of products made according to EP24681 10 is that the process uses a pasteurisation step which makes it impossible to incorporate any flavouring or other ingredients which cannot tolerate such heat conditions.

Hence, there is a need for a food concentrate in the form of a gel that addresses one or more of the shortcomings of existing gels. There are advantages in terms of consumer acceptability of making a concentrate in the form of a (packaged) gel, which gel can quickly dissolve in boiling water (e.g. a mass of 20 g would dissolve in a litre of boiling water in less than four minutes and preferably less than two minutes). The concentrate needs to have the appearance of an intact gel when the consumer opens the pack and to remain free or substantially free of syneresis throughout a shelf life of typically a year. Furthermore the gel needs to be a sufficiently elastic, but not too rigid a gel so that the consumer can remove it from the pack in one piece without leaving any residue behind. The person of average skill in the art of food products can recognise a gel when they see one. The appearance of a gel generally can be achieved in an aqueous environment when sufficient gelling agents are used in the formulation. A gel will usually have a smooth surface appearance, be shape-retaining at ambient temperature when exposed to gravity, but easily deformable (to some degree in an elastic way): i.e. a material which has some elasticity but is not pourable at ambient temperature and will break on stretching (like a sweet jam).

Pectins are widely used and well accepted in food applications. Two types are commonly used which differ in their degree of esterification (DE). High methoxy pectins (DE>50%) require large amounts of soluble solids and a low pH for gel formation, and are used in traditional jam making. Low methoxy pectins

(DE<50%) can form gels with lower solids levels, but require the presence of divalent cations such as calcium to make a gel network and are typically used in low sugar jams.

It is not feasible to use low pH or high sugar levels with stock concentrates for flavour reasons, as these are un-acidic savoury products, but surprisingly it has been found that a suitably firm gel can be obtained by using a low methoxy pectin with a salt level far higher than would be expected in a conventional pectin jam or jelly (and which would be quite unpalatable if consumed directly without dilution) and no added calcium. By 'no added calcium' it is meant that there is no calcium- containing ingredient which is added to the concentrate specifically to promote gel formation (i.e. with the specific intention that the ingredient will promote gel formation). There may be other ingredients present in the recipe which may contain calcium ((typically in small amounts, e.g. (hard) water), but the presence of calcium in such ingredients is considered as being incidental to the inventive concept described herein, since such calcium has not been added as a specific entity with the intention of promoting gel formation.

This packaged concentrate may be achieved as follows:

30-60% water (weight %, preferably 40-50%),

5-15% of common salt (weight %, preferably 10-12%),

1-8% of a low methoxy pectin (weight %, preferably 2-5%)

20-64% (weight %) of taste imparting components.

pH of the mixture will typically be 4-5. Weight % is preferably based on total packaged concentrate.

To confirm that the invention does not rely on calcium or the taste imparting components, gel strength was measured using a penetration test on a Stable Micro Systems Texture Analyser for a model system of 2.5% pectin, 8.2% maltodextrin and sugar and 10.5% salt. The test used a 5 kg load cell and 1 .5 cm diameter aluminium cylindrical probe to penetrate into the sample and gel strength was defined as the force at 8 mm penetration (test probe speed 2 mm/second). No satisfactory gels were formed without salt being present and there was no significant difference between soft or deionised water (Table 1 ). The calcium present in the hard water did modify the gel's firmness, but hard water was not a necessary ingredient for the recipe.

Table 1 .

Without wishing to be bound by theory, it is hypothesised that the concentrate is so saturated with sodium ions that the pectin is forced out of solution after it cools. Because the gels of this invention do not rely on calcium bonds the concentrate is not damaged by shear during or even immediately after cooling as there are always excess sodium ions available to form bonds whatever the orientation of the pectin chains. This benefit would be lost if calcium was added to the system.

A consequence of this tolerance to shear is that it is possible to safely blend additional food ingredients (which are not heat tolerant) into the concentrate when it is cool but has not yet firmed up into a gel. The concentrate will then slowly firm up over time without the need to add any additional gelling agent or other treatment. Suitable additional ingredients might be vegetable pieces, cut herbs, fruit pieces, flavourings, colours, aromas, thickeners, probiotics, vitamins or any other sensitive chemical compounds suitable for use in food. This cannot be done with conventional pectin systems as the result would be a damaged gel Other options for taste-imparting components may include one or more of liquid or dissolvable extracts or concentrates of one or more of meat, fish, herbs, fruit or vegetables, and/or flavours, and/or yeast extract, and/or hydrolysed protein of vegetable, soy, fish, or meat origin. The taste-imparting components may also comprise herbs, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, crustaceans, or particulates thereof. Such taste-imparting components can be in a not completely dried state. Generally speaking such "wet" ingredients will have a higher quality or higher quality image. Also wet ingredients may be included which do not contribute to taste, but which are there for visual reasons. Such can be e.g. pieces of certain vegetables. Such may be present in the same amount as the taste-imparting components. In the above, "meat" is to be understood to include beef, pork, lamb and chicken (and other fowl). Preferably the amount of taste-imparting

components as set out above is 20-64% (by weight on the total packed concentrate). The taste-imparting components can be in a not completely dry state (i.e. partially wet), or be completely wet, but also frozen or dry taste- imparting ingredients may be used herein.

The packaged concentrates described herein are preferably non-sweet, which is characterised by a sweetness as an equivalent to a percentage sucrose of lower than 20%, preferably lower than 15%, even more preferably lower than 10%, most preferably lower than 6%, and resulting in an end-product that is lower in sweetness than 0.5g/l of sucrose equivalent, preferably below 0.3 g/l of sucrose equivalent, more preferably below 0.2 g/l of sucrose equivalent. The sweetness refers to an equivalent sweetness to sucrose that is calculated via the sweetness index of the used sweeteners. Thus, the concentrate according to the invention has a sweetness as expressed by a sweetness index of below 0.5 g / liter sucrose equivalent, preferably below 0.3 g/l of sucrose equivalent, more preferably below 0.2 g/l of sucrose equivalent. The equivalent amount to sucrose refers to an equivalent sweetness to sucrose as it is calculated via the sweetness index of the used sweeteners. As used herein, "sweetness index" is a term used to describe the level of sweetness of the dosage form relative to sucrose.

Sucrose, defined as the standard, has a sweetness index of 1. For example, the sweetness indices of several known sweet compounds are listed below: Sorbitol 0.54-0.7, Dextrose 0.6, Mannitol 0.7, Sucrose 1.0, High Fructose Corn Syrup 55% 1.0, Xylitol 1.0, Fructose 1.2-1.7, Cyclamate 30, Aspartame 180,

Acesulfame K 200, Saccharin 300, Sucralose 600, Talin 2000-3000. Further values and reference literature can be found e.g. in "Rompp Lebensmittelchemie, Georg Thieme Verlag, 1995". It can also be preferred that by equivalent sweetness is herein understood the perceived sweetness by a consumer as determined by a trained panel matching the product sweetness to a standard sucrose solution. The detailed method is described in the appropriate DIN standard. For recipe design purposes this shall be assumed similar to the sweetness as calculated by the so called sweetness index.

A particular value of this invention is when it is advantageous for the product to develop viscosity when made up with hot water by the consumer (e.g. soups, sauces and gravies). Thickeners such as starch cannot be added during a hot blending stage for these sorts of products as the starch would hydrate

prematurely. Encapsulated ingredients might work in some cases, but at significant extra cost. However this problem can be entirely circumnavigated using the present invention because it is possible to cold blend additional ingredients without destroying the final gel. Almost any particulate solid can be incorporated, the only constraints being that the percentage of addition is not so high that the gel ceases to be the continuous phase or that the particles are too large to hydrate properly on make up. When such a gel is dissolved in hot water any starch present will swell, hydrate and dissolve as normal hence giving the desired viscosity while the product is still hot and being consumed.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the same principle would apply to any thickener that hydrates in the presence of hot water. Equally while the invention is particularly suitable for powdered ingredients it will also work for liquid ingredients such as oils, e.g. for oil soluble flavours, aromas or other compounds.

Other examples of suitable food thickeners are those based on either

polysaccharides (e.g. starches, vegetable gums), or proteins. Examples of suitable starches may include arrowroot, cornstarch, katakuri starch, potato starch, sago, and tapioca. Vegetable gums used as food thickeners include alginin, guar gum, locust bean gum, and xanthan gum. Proteins used as food thickeners include collagen, furcellaran, and gelatin. Sugars include agar and carrageenan. Functional flours are produced from specific cereal varieties (such as wheat, maize, rice, etc.).

Thus, in one aspect of the present invention there is provided a concentrate, preferably not containing a specific calcium-containing ingredient which is present in a non-incidental manner with the intention that it promotes gel formation, comprising water, common salt(s), pectin (preferably low methoxy pectin), taste imparting components, and one or more viscosity-developing ingredients, such as thickeners. Such thickeners are added to the concentrate in an inert state, and become activated once the concentrate is used in the preparation of e.g. a stock, soup, sauce, gravy or as a seasoning ingredient for use in cooking.

Further evidence of the novelty of this invention is that in contrast to traditional gel systems, where slow cooling allows better structural rearrangement to take place, final gel firmness here can be enhanced by rapid cooling. Final gel quality is also enhanced during the early weeks of shelf life as the product matures in pack. Hence time spent passing though the retail distribution chain is actually beneficial and the ultimate consumer sees and uses a superior product to that immediately leaving the production line. Typically the concentrate would be consumed as a stock or gravy after dilution with about 20 times its weight in hot water, so the salt level as consumed would be less than 1 %. This is well below the threshold for gel formation and so there is no risk of the pectin re-gelling as the stock cools. Hence the consumer will only see the viscosity that they would expect for a cool product.

In the case of ingredients which do not have any thickening function (such as vegetable pieces, cut herbs, fruit pieces, flavourings, colours, aromas, probiotics, or vitamins) the final products made from the invention are watery liquids with no sign of viscosity increase even at room temperature.

Another aspect of the present invention is a method of manufacturing a gel as described herein. In this regard, such a method generally comprises the following steps:

The water is heated to a temperature that facilitates the dissolution of the ingredients, e.g. 50-100°C, 70-90°C, typically to around 80°C, and the pectin added.

Once the pectin is fully dissolved, the sugar, maltodextrin and taste imparting components are added and the system again allowed to homogenise.

The salt is then added to the mix. At this stage, samples may be taken for quality control purposes (pH, total solids etc.).

It will be noted that there is no step of adding specific calcium-containing ingredients, which ingredients have more than incidental amounts of calcium.

After the salt is added, heat sensitive ingredients are to be incorporated as follows:

Cooling of the mix to a safe temperature.

Blending the heat sensitive ingredients into the gel mix.

The final mix is then filled into consumer ready packaging and can be allowed to cool and set in pack.

Thus, the present invention also provides a packaged concentrate, comprising the gel of the present invention contained within a package.

The invention further relates to the use of the concentrate according to the present invention and as set out above for preparing a bouillon, broth, soup, sauce, gravy or for use as a seasoning. Such use e.g. implies removing the concentrate from its packaging, and adding it to food or a dish, either during or after its preparation, optionally further applying heat, water and/or stirring the food or dish with such concentrate.

The present invention is now illustrated by the following, not limiting examples. In each case a base recipe is given into which a thickener or other heat sensitive ingredient can be incorporated. Because such added ingredients are essentially inert as far as the immediate gelling function is concerned, they may be added in any proportion suitable for the desired end use, so long as the final mix still has the desired appearance once the gel has finally set. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that ingredients which are inert during the relatively short time available during manufacture may still change during the longer timescale of distribution and shelf life (due e.g. to moisture migration driven by water activity differences) and that in some cases it may be advantageous to exploit such effects to achieve benefits such as enhanced shelf life.

The present invention is now illustrated by the following, not limiting examples. Example 1 - Beef stock

Factory standard softened water 39.0%

Salt 10.5%

Low methoxy pectin 2.5%

Sugar and maltodextrin 8.2%

Taste imparting components 38.6%

Antifoam agent 1 .0%

Preservative (potassium sorbate) 0.2% Manufacture of the concentrate is straightforward and does not require any unusual equipment:

The water is heated to 80°C and the pectin added.

Once this is fully dissolved, the sugar, maltodextrin and taste imparting components are added and the system again allowed to homogenise.

The salt is added to the mix and, optionally, samples taken for quality control purposes (pH, total solids etc.).

The mix is cooled to a safe temperature (20-55°C depending on the ingredients to be added next).

Heat sensitive ingredients are blended into the gel mix.

The final mix is now filled into consumer ready packaging and can be allowed to cool and set in pack.

Example 2 - Chicken stock

Factory standard softened water 39.4%

Salt 10.8%

Low methoxy pectin 3.0%

Sugar and maltodextrin 9.8%

Taste imparting components 35.8%

Antifoam agent 1.0%

Preservative (potassium sorbate) 0.2%

Manufacture of the concentrate is as in example 1 . Example 3 - Vegetable stock

Factory standard softened water 47.2%

Salt 10.5%

Low methoxy pectin 3.2%

Sugar and maltodextrin 6.0%

Taste imparting components 31.9%

Antifoam agent 1.0% Preservative (potassium sorbate) 0.2%

Manufacture of the concentrate is as in example 1 . The examples above include an antifoam agent to assist blending as well as a preservative, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that these are process conveniences which are not essential for the core gelling function. They could be removed by using different process equipment such as ultrasonic defoamers and in pack thermal treatment processes.

Those skilled in the art will also appreciate that it may be advantageous to replace a portion of the common salt in the recipe with one or more other salts (potassium, magnesium etc.) to produce a reduced sodium stock. This may lead to different gel strengths, but the pectin level can readily be adjusted to allow for this.

Equally it will be appreciated that it may be advantageous to trade off pectin level and activity, using higher levels of less reactive pectin or vice versa depending on the relative costs of ingredients from different pectin suppliers.

Where cost or other pressures mean that a pectin has to be used which produces a gel of unsatisfactory quality, additional firmness may be achieved by allowing calcium or other reactive ions to enter the solution slowly after filling. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that there are a number of possible ways for doing this, e.g. by incorporating a salt which is sparingly soluble or suitably

encapsulated.

Thus, there is also provided herein a gelling system comprising the concentrate as hereinbefore described in combination with one or more calcium-containing or other reactive ion species, wherein said calcium-containing or reactive ions species are initially present in said system in a form which, at the outset, does not contribute greatly to the promotion of gel formation, but where after time the calcium-containing / reactive ion species are exposed to said concentrate and thereafter promote gel formation. There is also provided herein a method of forming a gel, comprising the use of calcium-containing or other reactive ion species which are in a form that is protected from interaction with the concentrate, and wherein after time said species are exposed to the concentrate to form said gel.




 
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