Clean label reformulation with gelatin

FEATURED SPEAKER Fi Europe 2017 Conference
Consumers are looking for short ingredient lists and natural products. Gelatin is a versatile and sustainable ingredient that has a wide range of applications in the food industry. We caught up with Dr. Paul Stevens, Global Research and Application Director at Rousselot ahead of his presentation at the Fi Conference, to ask him how the use of gelatin aligns with the growing demand for clean label ingredients.

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Can you explain a bit more about the health benefits of gelatin?d
‘Gelatin is a natural, safe ingredient with a long tradition. It has been used by consumers for hundreds of years and applied in the food industry for a very long time. At Rousselot, we focus on the natural origin of this unique ingredient. Being a protein (it contains 18 amino acids), it is a highly nutritional and functionally beneficial ingredient. Its multiple functionalities mean you can also use it to help reduce sugar or fat contents in food preparation, thus producing healthier products.’

There has been increased interest in non-animal proteins lately. How does gelatin compare to these alternative proteins in terms of application and quality?
‘The world’s population is growing. Feeding nine billion people is a challenge and we need all the proteins we can get, both vegetable and animal. Meat proteins have always been a very important source and will continue to be in the future.’

‘Our gelatin produced here at Rousselot fits into the zero waste trend, as we revalue products from the meat industry and contribute to a sustainable circular economy.‘

‘Gelatin is highly versatile; no other non-animal protein offers as many functionalities. With gelatin, food and nutrition manufacturers can create the ideal texture, the perfect taste and the best look. Gelatin is neutral in taste and odor and that makes it easy to integrate in any kind of application. It is a trusted ingredient to bring enjoyment to end consumers. Last but not least, gelatin is a protein of natural origin, with no e-numbers. This makes it a clean label ingredient. With gelatin, you can create the perfect product without having to use less desirable additives.’

Why can gelatin be described as clean label?
‘According to the Euromonitor (2016, Passport: clean label revolution), clean labelling means:

  • That the labelled product contains recognizable and relatively few ingredients
  • That it contains no artificial or chemical ingredients
  • That the ingredients are sustainable
  • That the ingredients have been naturally sourced

Our gelatins meet all these criteria and can help formulators to successfully develop clean labelled end products.’

Can you give us some examples of how gelatin can be used to replace non-clean label ingredients?
‘Thanks to its emulsifying functionality, gelatin can substitute non-clean label emulsifiers, for example, in meat preparations, sauces and dressings. Its texturizing functionality means gelatin can substitute other hydrocolloids, most of them being additives, in applications such as confectionery, dairy and so on. Because gelatin is so versatile, there are many other examples we could give.’

As an ingredient manufacturer, how does Rousselot make sure it stays on top of consumer trends in order to develop new and innovative products?
‘Gelatin is one of the most versatile food ingredients out there and Rousselot gelatins offer formulators almost limitless possibilities. Our R&D Center in Ghent, Belgium, and our four application labs in the world are continuously working on unlocking the potential of this exceptional ingredient. We invent and create innovative end products for our customers over the world. At this time, we have several research projects on the go that are based on current market trends and consumer expectations. Our constant aim is to provide food manufacturers with innovative ways of tapping into food market growth.

‘Also, for more than four years now, we have been organizing successful and inspiring Innovation Days with our customers. During these days, our customers fully benefit from our expertise, and we benefit from theirs. Such close collaborations create shorter and more effective routes to innovations and increases the number of successful product launches containing gelatin.’

What are your predictions for the food industry in the next 3-5 years?
‘Over the next few years, we believe that the clean label trend will gain a lot of ground. Consumers are looking for more natural and healthier products as well as shorter ingredient lists. As the global population grows, we also think that demand for protein will keep rising. All proteins – both vegetable and animal – have a role to play in satisfying this growing demand. Considering significant, global trends like these, it is evident that gelatin has a major contribution to make.’

Be sure to catch Dr. Paul Steven’s presentation ‘Gelatin: the all-in-one solution for clean label, indulgence and surprising texture’ at the Fi Europe 2017 Conference during the session on Clean Label & Natural Ingredients – Part 1 on Tuesday, 28th November 2017 10:50–14:00.