Kerry creates emulsification alternative to help bakers surmount the conflict-driven sunflower supply and cost challenges

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Kerry’s Beyond the Label research found almost 80% of US consumers actively scrutinising ingredients listed on food packaging. Pic: Kerry
Kerry’s Beyond the Label research found almost 80% of US consumers actively scrutinising ingredients listed on food packaging. Pic: Kerry

Related tags Kerry Acacia sunflower lecithin emulsification Clean label non-GMO sustainable Russia-Ukraine conflict monoglycerides diglycerides

The Wisconsin-headquartered taste and nutrition specialist has launched a texture system that enables bakers overcome the current sunflower supply challenges caused by the war in Ukraine.

Prior to Russia’s invasion, Ukraine had the highest production volume of sunflower seeds of any country in the world, producing around 17.5 million metric tonnes in the 2021/2022 crop year. However, the war has made farming, producing and shipping all but impossible, squashing supply and skyrocketing global prices.

Sunflower is a common source of lecithin, which is composed of the same components that give whole eggs their emulsification abilities. In bakery, lecithins also ensure even mixing of the batter, strengthen dough, decrease its stickiness and improve the product’s shelf life. It also acts as a release agent during the mixing and machining processes, contributing to an easier cleanup of equipment on a production line.

New go-to ingredient

With the existing supply chain challenges and pricing instability of sunflower lecithin, Kerry has developed Puremul, a new go-to ingredient that replaces sunflower lecithin and mono- and diglycerides across multiple applications, including baked goods and plant-based beverages.

According to Kerry, as it’s produced from naturally-sourced acacia, the texture system also solves the perpetual clean label challenge, simply listed on the ingredients list as ‘acacia, natural flavour’. This means products will carry a back story that consumers will feel good about: replacing ingredients perceived as unhealthy, namely mono- and diglycerides with a cleaner label alternative.

Kerry’s Beyond the Label research found 82% of US consumers believe clean label is important, with almost as many actively scrutinising ingredients listed on food packaging. According to 2021 data from FMCG Gurus, 74% of US consumers find natural, non-GMO claims highly appealing, while over 70% report they are concerned about the use of synthetic ingredients. Many consider mono- and diglycerides undesirable ingredients.

Natural, sustainable, plant-based, non-GMO

“The Kerry Puremul texture system is an exciting ingredient innovation developed out of our long-time research experience with acacia, a natural, sustainable, plant-based ingredient source for food and beverage applications,”​ said Tim Cottrell, business development director for Emulsifiers, Texturants and Gum Acacia, North America.

“We believe manufacturers and product developers in bakery and plant-based beverages will find this an exciting, clean label emulsification alternative for use in both reformulations and new-product development.”

Kerry uses acacia for Puremul from the drought-resistant acacia tree cultivated by farmers in the Sahel region in Africa, giving it a clean label. It also exhibits a host of technical benefits, such as excellent emulsification, high-quality texture and stability, improved process efficiencies, sensory and taste maintenance, and reliable supply available through vertically integrated supply chains. Additionally, it is sustainable, non-GMO, free from major allergens, certified kosher and Halal-suitable. 

“The global emulsifier market is at capacity and there are significant sunflower lecithin price volatility and supply issues,”​ added Cottrell.

“Puremul is the only clean label solution in the market that successfully replaces the functionality of sunflower lecithin and mono- and diglycerides, helping product makers meet growing the rising market calls for clean, natural, sustainable solutions. The Kerry team is proud to release this natural-texture ingredient system into the marketplace and looks forward to working with our partners to innovate and create sustainable nutrition solutions with help from this technology.”

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