Palsgaard counters milk costs for ice-cream makers

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Milk

Palsgaard is the latest company to develop an ingredient solution
that reduces the need for expensive commodities, with an
emulsifier-stabiliser technology that calls for less milk solids in
ice-cream.

Due to a conspiracy of circumstances, including a reduction in EU livestock, hot waiter in summer 2006, and increasing animal feed costs due to crop diversion to biofuels, the price of dairy derivatives like butter and cheese have increased by some 50 per cent in six months months. For instance, New Zealand diary player Fonterra recently revised its forecast for milk solids in the 2007-8 to $6.40/kg, up $2/kg from last season and $0.83/kg from its initial forecast. "Since milk solids are a key ingredient in any ice cream formulation, the direct impact on production costs is immediately felt,"​ said business unit manager Michael Bo Bern. While manufacturers could plump for cheaper concentrated whey proteins instead, these too are linked to milk prices so have become more expensive - and they come with less functionality. Palsgaard's solution is its new Palsgaard IceTriple system, which it says allows for a 20 to 25 per cent reduction in total milk solid content in a standard ice-cream, depending on the recipe and processing conditions. Moreover, the Danish company says it actually comes with functionality benefits. The three characteristics alluded to in the name are creaminess, ability to withstand heat shock, and melting resistance. The system is made up of a combination of emulsifiers and stabilisers based on proplylene glycol esters of fatty acids (PGMS), mono-diglycerides and hydrollodoids. The exact combination can be tweaked according to local and individual customer needs. PGMS are understood to prevent changes to the smooth texture of ice cream when it is exposed to heat shock. The mono-diglycerides, meanwhile, are said to contribute to creaminess, which is defined by distribution of air bubbles in the final product. The emulsifiers also control protein desorbtion during the ageing of the emulsion, and affect fat crysallisation. "As such, they play an important role in preparing the mix for freezing and aeration," said Bern. Although the company has not released pricing information, it did say that, in context of the high price of milk solids, the cost implications of the ingredient system "can thereby be minimised and in most cases totally neutralised". Palsgaard's compatriot Danisco has also been developing emulsifier solutions to help reduce the impact of prising commodity prices on its customers' bottom lines. Danisco's first two launches in this are allow the vegetable oil content in margarines and spreads to be reduced and replaced with water; for the gluten in bread to be reduced without affecting bread volume. Regional emulsifier director for Europe Dorte Petersen told FoodNavigator.com that emulsifiers typically make up 0.5 per cent of a formulation. If emulsifier prices go up 10 per cent, this will have less of an impact than if the price of palm oil, which makes up 80 per cent of a margarine, doubles (as indeed it has done since 2005). Frost & Sullivan valued the EU emulsifiers at US$574m in 2006 and expects it to be worth some $911.3m in 2013, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.8 per cent.

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