Gelatine is the most common gelling agent and, although there are other vegetarian alternatives, they often need to be labelled as ‘modified starch’.
Avebe’s food marketing manager Christer Andersson told ConfectioneryNews.com that one of the principal advantages of Etenia starches is that they can be listed as ‘starch’ rather than ‘modified starch’ on ingredient labels, therefore meeting manufacturers’ clean label requirements.
Similarity to gelatine
The Etenia starches share many of the same properties as gelatine, applicable for both thickening and gelling, but have the added advantage of coming from a vegetarian source. Like gelatine, they are thermo-sensitive, which means that they thin when heated and thicken when cooled.
Andersson said: “Normally, when you make a gel from starch it is not reversible. The main advantage over other ingredients like hydrocolloids, for example, is that the dosage levels are very low. It is also clean label and vegetarian, because it is made from potato starch.”
It is this similarity to gelatine’s functionality which makes the Etenia 568 version a possible solution for manufacturers looking to make gelatine-free jelly sweets.
“We have a lot of starches already available,” he said, “But they are mainly modified starches. And this [Etenia 568] is specially designed to fit the application in confectionery.”
It is estimated that there are approximately 12 million vegetarians across Europe. Over a quarter of those live in the UK, with about 3.6 million people claiming to be vegetarians, according to The Vegetarian Society. A survey by NEMS Market Research valued the UK market for vegetarian food at £718.5m in 2007, up from £670m the year before.
The Etenia range
Avebe has also launched Etenia Legato, designed as a fat replacer for use in cakes, which the company says can reduce fat content by 30 per cent.
The new applications build on the existing Etenia range, which was launched in dairy products at the Food Ingredients Europe trade show in London last year. In dairy, it is also used as a fat replacer, as it is said to give a better mouth feel and creamier texture than other fat replacers.
Avebe is a specialist starch company with operations in 20 countries and employing around 2000 people. Its potato starches, which are used in food as well as in the paper, textile, adhesive and building industries, are sourced in the Netherlands and Germany.