At QualDes our Food Technology Consultants are challenged everyday with new and exciting formulation development. With the demand for Vegan suitable products on the rise, and increased rates of allergy’s, QualDes consultants have had the opportunity to develop egg free products.
Individuals who follow a Vegan Diet do not eat eggs because they do not support the way chickens are treated. Even for home based free range chickens, taking the chickens egg away from them is against the vegan diet beliefs and morals, as they believe it is still exploiting the animal.
Individuals with an egg allergy also have to avoid eggs or they could have an allergenic reaction such as hives, swelling, tummy pain, vomiting or more serious anaphylactic shock. See Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia https://allergyfacts.org.au/allergy-anaphylaxis/food-allergens/egg
Eggs are eaten for their good nutrition contribution. They are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D and Choline, and antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, while contributing little calories.
Eggs are used in food products for food functionality such as binding, leavening, moisture adjustment, flavour and appearance. Unique factors of eggs include the presence of naturally-occurring emulsifiers and antimicrobial enzymes, in addition to proteins that can coagulate. Egg yolks are used to stabilise the emulsion in mayonnaises. Egg whites are used to make Pavlova meringues. Without eggs in baked goods, they would be dry, flat or flavourless.
Alternatives to eggs
Alternative’s to eggs in products are not just used for the vegan market. Food technologists also use alternate options when developing food products, for improved food safety, allergen reduction, healthier nutritional profiles, easier handling and storage, and less price volatility. With the growing trend of vegan products and egg free products, ingredient suppliers, especially manufactures of starches and gums, are dedicating more research and development into new ingredient substitutes.
Food technologists may utilise the following ingredients when developing egg free products:
Plant Proteins – soy, mung bean and algal proteins to provide coagulation the way egg proteins do.
Fruit Purees – such as Apple or Banana Puree is a good replacement used for texture and binding.
Flaxseed Meal – Flaxseed and chia seed when grinded and absorbed into water forms a gel type product that can be used for stickiness and binding.
Vegetable Gums such as Agar Agar, methylcellulose, carrageenan’s help to stabilise the formulation with binding and texture
Starches such as potato and tapioca help to stabilise a formulation
Soy or Sunflower Lecithin has binding properties similar to eggs and can be used as a replacement in some recipes
Raising agents and acids can be used as an egg replacement in some formulations for aeration
Natural colours such as Turmeric to add the colour of eggs
The following case study is an example of the challenges that our QualDes consultants experience when developing food products.
CASE STUDY – ORGANIC VEGAN MAYONNAISE
It is one thing to develop a vegan mayonnaise but another to add the organic twist. This means that not only can we not use eggs or dairy ingredients but all ingredients have to be organic. The added complication being that a no added cane sugar claim is also required.
How do we do this? – We started by checking what organic ingredients were available. Apple cider vinegar and sunflower oil are available as organic, as are some of the herbs and spices. This was a good start. We did find organic starch but it was not acid stable and so not suitable for our application.
The ingredients available that we needed to use to replace the egg in the mayonnaise were not organic so we had to formulate keeping this in mind. We knew that we could use up to 5% of the formulation (excluding water) as approved non-organic ingredients. We made the product high in oil as this meant less water in the formulation and so we were able to utilise the full 5% non-organic ingredients for the egg replacers. First we used stevia for sweetening and a fibre product for emulsification.
We had to keep manipulating the formulation to keep within the organic boundaries until we got a good texture and flavour in our mayonnaise that we knew would be stable and microbial safe. Good result in the end but we had to think outside the square to solve all the problems.
That’s the challenge with new product development don’t you think!!!
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I think the egg, you think the chicken