The Swiss ingredients firm first introduced its Lupidor product to the market at the FIE trade show in London last year, where it spoke mainly about its use in milk-free chocolate for the lactose-free market.
But Vincent Lebet, managing director of Hochdorf Nutrifood, told FoodNavigator.com that the past year has brought considerably more work on different applications, and there are now four different variants of Lupidor.
By broadening the uses, the lupin seed ingredient may well become more established on the market; until now lupin flour has been used in bakery products, but this lacks the functionality, Lebet said.
The functionality of Lupidor, by contrast, is brought about by adjustments to the protein and fibre balance. The protein has an emulsifying effect, whereas the fibre is important for water-binding.
The new applications will be showcased at HIE in Paris next month.
Lower fat products
For foods like baked goods and meat, the ingredient is said to enable the elimination of the structural ingredient – usually a fat – but without affecting mouthfeel.
This is in tune with a major aim for the food industry: To develop products with a healthier profile, but which still meet the sensory expectations of consumers.
Although it was not the primary objective, in some areas the use of the lupin ingredient could help lower formulation costs. “Fat is expensive,” Lebet said.
An alternative to milk and soy
The company is also targeting the lactose-free market, and especially confectionery and ice cream, which are traditionally made with milk.
As much as two-thirds of the population are thought to have a deficiency of the digestive enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose – and African and Asian populations are particularly sensitive.
“Lactose-free sweets including ice-cream or chocolate are hardly available, although alternatives to milk exist,” it says.
The use of lactose-free milk in product formulations is said to be uneconomical, since costs are high and production technologies complicated. Soy, rice and water alternatives are said to perform unfavourably in terms of taste and texture.
Spray-dried Lupidor is therefore positioned for ice-creams, to which it is said to give a “creamy texture”, neutral taste, and “natural colour” that works well with vanilla, for example.
The roller-dried Lupidor, on the other hand, is targeted at replacing milk powder 1:1 in chocolates, and can work with existing manufacturing practices like blending, rolling and conching.
The flavour is described as “pleasant roast, which rounds off nicely the sweet neutral taste”.
A search of Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD) reveals relatively few product launches mentioning lupin (or lupine, the common US spelling) on the label – just 1237 worldwide.
However there was a huge jump in listings of new lupin-containing products in Europe between 2005 and 2006 - from 76 to 212. In 2007, 221 were listed in GNPD.
But Lebet said that it caters to demand for alternative proteins and fat reduction.
“Lupin is not very well known, but there is strong interest in it as an alternative to soy.”
Although like all proteins lupin is a potential allergen, another use is in gluten-free preparations.
In addition to the protein and flour elements, lupin is also rich in oil and other minerals. “It has a good package of nutrients, but they have not been studied for a health claim.”
Hochdorf Nutrifood is offering the lupin-derived ingredients on a worldwide basis, but for now the main focus is on Central European markets.
“We see quite a lot of potential in Eastern European countries and Asia, but that will be more in the future.”
The company sources its lupin seeds from Australia, where they have a historical use as animal feed. Although some lupin is now grown in Europe (in northern and eastern Germany, northern France and Poland), Australia still delivers favourably on quality, according to Lebet.