Natural additives for the food and beverage industry
The recognition of a healthy food culture and greater attention to nutritional labels and the preference for natural and healthy food - with reduced sugar and fat content or enriched with vitamins, mineral salts, polyphenols and Omega 3 - are among the key factors which have influenced the choice of the consumers. This awareness is reflected in the industrial world, where there is an increased preference for the food companies to use natural ingredients.
Thanks to the knowledge in the vegetable extracts sector and the valuable international experience that Silvateam technicians have acquired in the hydrocolloids business has allowed Silvateam to provide effective solutions to meet the requirements of its customers. The main available extracts are Tara gum and pectin.
Tara gum is a natural additive obtained by grinding the endosperm of the seeds of Caesalpinia spinosa, of the Leguminosae family. Silvateam is the world leader in the production and commercialisation of Tara gum from its Peruvian plantations which occupy 450 hectares located in the mountain region of Huánuco and the desert area of Ica in Peru.
Tara gum is comprised of polysaccharides, mainly galactomannans, of high molecular weight which are soluble in hot water and partially soluble in cold water. Tara gum functions mainly as a thickener and stabiliser.
Tara gum is used in a wide range of food applications such as baked goods, dairy products, frozen desserts, water jellies, fruit preparations, meat based products, sauces and dressings.
The same natural characteristics are typical of pectin extracted from citrus peels particularly limes, lemons and oranges which Silvateam produces in its state-of-the-art facility in Rende (Calabria, Southern Italy).
Pectin has an important influence on the middle lamella between plant cells since protopectin, insoluble pectin, and cellulose form the structure of the cell walls, binding cells together and controlling the water in the plant.
Pectin is traditionally used as a gelling agent in a wide range of fruit-based products such as jams, marmalades, jellies, fruit preparations for yoghurts and desserts and fruit filling for bakery products. Pectin can be used to improve the mouthfeel and the pulp stability in juice based drinks and as a stabiliser in acidic protein beverages. Pectin also reduces syneresis in jams and marmalades and increases the gel strength of low calorie jams. Pectin is used in confectionery jellies to give a good gel structure and a clean bite.
Pectin is a natural part of the human diet, being present in fruits and vegetables, but does not contribute significantly to nutrition. Pectin passes through the small intestine more or less intact. Pectin can therefore be one of the most important sources of dietary fibre.
Silvateam also has developed a range of tailor made stabiliser blends and botanical extracts.
The natural extracts are obtained using raw materials from South America. Yerba mate extract is well known for its tonic and diuretic properties but also as a stimulant to reduce fatigue, suppress appetite and aid gastric functions. Green tea extract, a concentrate of the leaves and delicate young leaf buds of Camellia sinensis, is recognised as a powerful antioxidant that neutralises free radicals and provides a number of noted benefits including treating headaches, correcting poor digestion and lowering cholesterol. Maca extract, an indigenous plant of the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes Mountains, is mainly used as herbal supplement to provide energy boost and help with stress.