The challenge in replicating the function of egg in a meringue lies in the fact that egg white proteins can be denatured quite easily, simply by using mechanical force such as a whisk, said NPD technologist Tom Bull, who developed the new product.
“By whisking and thus unfolding the protein, you expose the long chain of amino acids that makes up a protein.
“The unfolded protein chain arranges itself in such a way the proteins lie on the interface between water and air, stabilising air bubbles within the water & providing the stable foam needed for a meringue.”
Boosting the plant-based movement
However, with the plant-based bakery sector on the rise, and the release of products featuring a vegan or plant-based claim growing by 28.55% year-on-year (Innova Market Insights), no forward-thinking baker can afford to ignore the demand. Meanwhile, the world is facing an egg shortage, thanks to a particularly aggressive avian flu outbreak, and together with rising feed costs, the price of eggs have skyrocketed 69.3% over the past 12 months in Europe.
Ulrick & Short’s new ingredient – called ovaprox 14 – is a complete functional egg replacer for various sweet-bakery applications, but most notably in meringues.
According to Bull, it has been specifically designed to behave very similar to egg white in a meringue application and aerates when whisked. This creates a stable foam, which ultimately provides a good internal structure and a crisp eat throughout shelf life.
It can also be used in other sweet baked goods like muffins and sponges, providing not just the volume rise, but also a good and consistent crumb structure. As well as being plant-based, the ingredient comprises only the natural functionality from its crop bases, so adds to a consumer-friendly back-of-pack declaration.
We’ve managed to create a genuine plant-based alternative using our clean label proteins,” added Bull.
“It produces a stable foam when whisked, and very closely replicates the structure, bite and mouthfeel of egg-based meringues. Indulgent plant-based bakery is growing, and we’re confident this new ingredient will move the sector on even further.”