Kerry launches ingredient to replace locust bean gum amid rising costs for ice cream makers


September 16, 2022 — Kerry has launched Sherex Supreme, an innovative texture system that replicates the functionality of Locust Bean Gum (LBG) in hard ice cream.

Over the past few years, high demand, limited availability, and extreme price increases for LBG have led to the search for solutions to deliver and match LBG functionality at a reduced cost.

The company’s validation trials on premium, economy and standard hard ice cream show that Sherex Supreme delivers the texture, mouthfeel and other taste attributes consumers expect from traditional ice cream, all at a cost up to 50% lower and without modification of the label or the manufacturing process.

“This cost reduction is very attractive and a huge demand driver when you consider the rising inflation costs that ice cream makers are facing,” said Tricia Hayes, global senior manager of emulsifiers, systems of texture and acacia gum at Kerry. FoodIngredientsFirst.

“Importantly, we wanted this solution to be transparent for manufacturers to implement, so it doesn’t require any changes to the ingredient label or manufacturing process, the only change is cost.”

Global demand for ice cream is accelerating
Ice cream is a huge and growing global market. Market researcher Innova Market Insights notes that in 2021, LBG was used in 50% of new global ice cream launches and 64% of ice cream launches in Western Europe.

The demand for LBG has increased in recent years due to its outstanding functionality and suitability for many rapidly growing herbal product applications. Yet supply has not kept pace given the 10-year growing period needed for the carob tree to bear the LBG-producing pods.

Sherex Supreme mimics the functionality of Locust Bean Gum (LBG) in ice cream.According to Hayes, this imbalance has increased LBG prices by 800% over the past five years – and only a sixfold increase since 2020.

“LBG is a popular ingredient in ice cream making that offers extensive functionality, but over the past few years the demand and costs have also increased,” she points out.

“Our Sherex Supreme is a texture system that provides the creamy mouthfeel, good aeration, desired viscosity and controlled melting that consumers expect from ice cream while offering up to 50% cost savings over standard texture systems. Most importantly, Sherex Supreme maintains the rich, indulgent taste of ice cream so popular with consumers.

Sensory testing shows no difference from control ice cream
In every recipe tested, Kerry’s validation trials on Sherex Supreme – examining attributes such as viscosity, particle size, mix stability, overrun, melting behavior and sensory appeal – revealed that it met or exceeded the desired results in three categories: premium, budget, and standard Hardpack.

In a blind tasting conducted to assess sensory qualities (texture, mouthfeel, aftertaste, creaminess, sweetness, etc.), nine out of ten panelists found no difference with the control product.

According to Hayes, the hardest part was finding a solution to match the unique functionality of locust bean gum, both in the ice cream mix and the final frozen product.

“We also wanted a solution that would benefit a range of ice cream recipes, providing versatility for our customers. Sherex Supreme does not compromise on functionality whether an economy, standard or premium ice cream recipe is used.

“Although this product was developed for the application of hard-pack dairy ice cream, it has the potential to provide some benefit in other applications, where a blend of emulsifier, guar gum and LBG would typically be used, and where cost savings are desired,” she continues. “An example of this would be in plant-based frozen desserts where ice crystal control, viscosity and emulsification are important parameters.”

Additionally, Sherex Supreme is made with ingredients (LBG, Guar Gum, and Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids) already listed on ice cream labels, meaning no label changes are required. .

Researched natural ingredient
Grown from the carob tree which grows in drier and warmer regions around the Mediterranean coast in Portugal, Spain and Italy, LBG is obtained from the crushed seeds divided by minimal processing, meeting labeling requirements for “clean” and “natural”.

Carob trees are drought-tolerant, low-maintenance, and long-lived. After about ten years of growth after planting, the pods of the tree can be separated into pulp and seeds.

Due to its versatile functionality, LBG has become an integral part of many ice cream products and, in recent years, new plant-based drinks.

LBG works as a natural plant-derived thickener, stabilizer, emulsifier and gelling agent that improves texture and enables clean labeling. Until more newly planted carob trees reach maturity over the next decade, there will be an urgent need for solutions to LBG’s price/supply challenge.

“Sherex Supreme reduces dependence and pressure on LBG raw material supplies, mitigates ice cream product price inflation, and helps protect manufacturers’ market share – all without label or process changes. manufacturing,” adds Hayes.

Edited by Elizabeth Green

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