LASENOR LECITHIN FOR INSTANT POWDERS
Instant products are becoming increasingly popular among consumers due to their extensive range and optimal results obtained after reconstitution. Milk, coffee, cocoa drinks, desserts, soups, and health supplements are examples of foodstuffs available in the supermarket that suit our modern way of life. In addition, various functional ingredients in the food industry undergo the instantizing process to achieve a technological effect, such as proteins, whey powder, cocoa powder, caseinates, and many others.
IN SEARCH OF INSTANT PROPERTIES
Instant products are manufactured using technological components such as Lasenor’s specialty lecithin that play a crucial role in providing instant properties:
- Once the powder is poured over the water or milk in the case of cocoa powders or beverages, it must be covered by the liquid. This property is called wettability.
- These wet particles must become submerged. The capacity to go down below the surface is called sinkability and allows the entire powder to drop downwards.
- Lecithin improves the powder’s sinkability and enhances the particles’ distribution in different directions to obtain good solubility or dispersibility.
- If the mechanical energy is exerted with a spoon and a solution (or dispersion) is obtained, it is crucial to maintain it firm and homogeneous. Lecithin is again acting to give the desirable stability.
The selection of the most appropriate lecithin for the instantazing is not apparent at first sight. Optimal performance can only be achieved through combining several factors, the most important being the production process of the instant powders and the correspondent application.
PRODUCING INSTANT POWDERS
It is essential to know if the lecithination process will occur in a dry mix (simple mechanical mix) or if the lecithin is sprayed together with the product to be powdered in a spray-drier or sprayed in a fluid bed after spray drying.
In a dry mix case, all the powder-form ingredients are mixed in a blender (ribbon blender, V-blender, cone blender…), and lecithin is added in powder form or liquid form diluted in oil. The mix is homogenized, and the particles are covered with a thin layer of phospholipids.
For the spray-drying process, a solution is prepared with all the required components (such as proteins, caseinates, and glucose…) and is atomized through nozzles in a tower. In the fluid bed, fine particles can be recovered in cyclones and returned to the drying chambers to carry out agglomeration. This process fuses the particles into agglomerates with capillary channels, allowing the liquid to flow inside, producing a wetting action. It is in this second drier where lecithin is usually sprayed, either in an aqueous solution or in oil-diluted form.
It is also essential to know the type of product to be instantized to maximize the effect of the lecithination. Its hydrophilic nature determines the degree of polarity of the lecithin to be used.
High polarity lecithin is recommended for products with high-fat content:
- Whole milk powders
- Buttermilk powders
- Cocoa powders
Lower polarity lecithin is recommended for products with lower fat content:
- Skimmed milk powders
- Whey protein concentrates
- Drinks powders containing cocoa
No matter the source or the polarity, the product’s viscosity can be adjusted to satisfy the equipment’s restrictions.
Lecithin is used in baby food mainly for the production of infant formula. These are usually prepared for bottle-feeding in a powdered form that is mixed with water or another liquid and is generally considered a substitute for breast milk (Mian K. Sharif, … Faiz-ul-Hassan Shah, in Food Processing for Increased Quality and Consumption, 2018).
The microbiological and contaminant parameters are the main difficulties associated with producing baby food lecithin. In our factories in Barcelona (Spain) and Nagpur (India), the presence of a wholly equipped “clan room” allows us to ensure that, once the lecithin has been prepared via a unique thermal treatment process, no subsequent microbiological contamination of the product will be possible.
Clean room – LASENOR Olesa de Montserrat
Lasenor is a specialist in developing tailor-made lecithin according to consumers’ needs regarding the vegetable source (soy or sunflower), degree of polarity, and viscosity.
If you’d like to learn more about how Lasenor can help you and select the suitable emulsifiers for your application, please contact us.