UK-based food research centre Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association (CCFRA) is currently looking into helping companies assess starches in relation to the way they have to be declared on the product label.
This is very specific work. Starches are widely used to modify the rheological properties of foods, but changes in the starch or the process can have significant effects on product properties such as mouthfeel, processing characteristics and product stability.
In addition, native starches have limited functionality, as they are not tolerant to low pH, high shear or freeze/thaw.
Physically modified starches on the other hand can help overcome these problems and, unlike chemically modified starches, can be declared as starch, giving a clean label.
CCFRA compared the characteristics of native, physically modified and chemically modified starches in formulated microwaveable starch-based sauces. These included a lower pH tomato sauce, a higher fat cheese sauce and a high sugar toffee sauce.
Rapid visco analysis was used to measure starch gelation and behaviour, and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to measure the heat needed to melt the crystalline regions.
CCFRA claims that the work has yielded data on the properties of the starches that could help manufacturers developing clean label products a growing consideration for manufacturers.
This is because consumers are now more aware than ever of what goes into the products they buy, and are increasingly put off by the presence of artificial additives.
A clean label one that does not contain any artificial additives therefore caters to consumers' desire for healthy and natural products.