An affordable price tag for quality fillings

Quality demands for filled cakes may be on the way up in Eastern Europe – but not at any price.

Price-sensitive bakery markets are regularly on the lookout for stabilisers that can give fruit bakery fillings an indulgent quality at an affordable price. At Nutrition & Biosciences, many of the requests we receive on this subject come from Eastern Europe – the region currently driving growth in the cake category.

Changing consumption habits, brought about by the rise of more middle-income consumers, have inspired demand for better quality cakes on Eastern European markets. The challenge for bakers, though, is that consumers still expect a reasonably low cost.

Providing superb flavour release, pectin is widely regarded the golden standard stabiliser for cake fillings. For low-cost solutions, though, a cheaper alternative is often used – in many cases, starch, which secures good fruit distribution, makes fillings easy to pump but is inferior to pectin in respect of flavour release.

The best of both worlds
One of our recent development projects has investigated the possibility to develop a stabiliser blend that gives a similar flavour release to pectin and the functional and price advantages of starch.

In doing so, we have drawn on cellulose gum - a stabiliser that, due to its high molecular weight, produces a high-viscosity filling without the gelling mechanism characteristic of pectin. Viscosity formation is almost instantaneous on addition.

To maintain a price level around that of starch, we tested the cellulose in a blend with modified starch and compared the result with a similar filling stabilised with starch or pectin.

Positive scores
The spider diagram (opposite) shows our findings in respect of five parameters: flavour release, pumpability, fruit distribution, creaminess and flavour release.

Although pectin is still clearly the top performer on flavour release, the flavour release score obtained by the blend is noticeably superior to that of starch. Creaminess indicates the extent to which flavour lingers in the mouth.

The blend also creates the most pumpable filling of the three solutions – pectin forming a strong gel that is hard to work with. This indicates the high suitability of the blend for industrial processing lines, where fillings are injected into cakes after baking.

Excellent fruit distribution points to another opportunity for saving costs, by reducing the filling’s fruit content. When fruit is well distributed, a lower fruit concentration is more likely to go undetected in a sensory evaluation. In general, our test results indicate that, at low pH, the stabiliser blend performs over a broad soluble solids range with very little sign of syneresis formation.

Reducing cost further
This leaves us with a task to reduce cost-in-use even further. While our trials show the blend performs well at a lower price than pectin, we believe additional tests could bring cost-in-use even closer to that of starch. That would give an even better basis for sharing in the potential of the growing East European market.

We tested GRINDSTED® AP 75 Stabiliser System from the DuPont™ Danisco® portfolio.

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