The starch and ingredients major presented case study work at ISM/ProSweets’ Snack Technology conference in Cologne on using starch and flour coatings to alter texture and visual appeal to regular roasted or fried nut snacks.
Anne-Sophie Vercruysse, market development manager for cereal, baked goods and snacks at Roquette, said coating nuts gave manufacturers a raft of flavor and texture opportunities.
Companies could, for example, adapt coatings to create a variety of textures from crunchy to crispy – done by increasing the percentage of starch-flour coating used or changing the level of starch in the formulation.
“However, not all starches from cereals have the same properties,” she warned. “A waxy maize starch is good because of the amylopectin content which helps expansion. Another parameter to take into account is the particle size of the starch – using coarse products are better to avoid dusting and it will absorb water more easily,” she said.
Adding visual appeal
Beyond texture, Vercruysse said manufacturers could also develop colorful, ‘veined’ or ‘cracked’ nut products that resembled animal prints using two coatings.
“The first layer is made with waxy, pre-cooked starch to bring a large expansion - in this layer you can also add coloring so you can have a contrast between the two layers. In the second layer, you’ll have less waxy starch – so you have a limited expansion. And so, during cooking the first layer will expand and crack the outer layer which is less expanded,” she explained.
What was important, she said, was that all these color and texture variations could be achieved with simple formulation changes, rather than production changes. Manufacturers, she said, could still fry or roast and then season the nut snacks as usual.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com after the conference, Vercruysse said some companies had already developed such products, particularly with peanuts in the UK and Netherlands but that there remained a significant gap for nut makers to play into.
“What’s interesting too is you have possibilities with different nuts, particularly premium nuts. We see a lot of coated peanuts on the market, but I’m sure there’s room for a more premium product,” she said.
“…You have large possibilities thanks to the formulation. Depending on how much coating you’re adding around the nut; depending on the ratio; and the choice of the starch, you can make your product have a contrast of textures.”