Draw On The Worldwide Market Potential Of Instant Products

Friday, December 10th, 2021 | 789 Views


Whether baby food, sport drinks or diet shakes, sauces or dressings, it’s not just the ingredients that determine whether a product will be popular with consumers, but also the ease of preparation.


To be well accepted by consumers, instantised foods need to dissolve easily in water or milk, without clumping. This can be very simply and effectively achieved with sprayable lecithin. Sternchemie offers lecithin blends based on soy, rapeseed or sunflower lecithin. A toolbox system of customer-specific solutions makes it possible to keep up with the growing requirements in terms of workability, quality, functionality and legal requirements.

Market challenges

Instant products, especially milk and protein powders, are showing strong growth. In a market environment with high competitive and cost pressures, efficiency increases are a must. At the same time these products are often exported, and so need to meet varied regulatory requirements. For example, in China, the largest target market for milk powder, especially in the infant nutrition category, there is a GB standard that must be met. Failure to do so can result in penalties up to and including market exclusion. There are also sometimes substantial differences in the approval and marking of lecithin as a food ingredient. For example, in the US chemically modified (such as acetylated or hydroxylated) lecithins are permitted and used, whereas they are prohibited for in foods in Europe. Here, enzymatically hydrolysed lecithins from the Sternchemie portfolio can be used instead.

Just keeping up with the legal requirements in the different markets takes a great amount of attention. On top of that there is the need for marketing and product development. Health & Nutrition is an example of a sustained megatrend that offers attractive market potential. Enriched instant products, such as for drinks or meal substitutes, offer added value here.

Instantising made to measure

With lecithins from Sternchemie’s SternInstant and SternPhil series, manufacturers of instant products can focus on their core business and on developing high-revenue, added value products. Thanks to its toolbox system, Sternchemie is able to offer the right lecithin for each product, customer need and market requirement. Christine Schwarz, Technical Product Manager SternInstant, explains: “The most important criteria in the manufacture of instant powders are their wettability, sinking behaviour and easy stirring. Liquid lecithin is a proven way to get these properties. With SternInstant, we offer a sprayable, all-vegetable lecithin-oil mixture whose special composition gives it very low viscosity.” During instantising, the lecithin forms a fine film around the individual powder particles, thus improving their wettability. The lecithin shows its effects when the power is mixed with liquids like water or milk. “It reduces the surface tension between the powder and the liquid to where the powder can distribute and dissolve evenly in the liquid. In this way fatty powders can dissolve easily even in cold liquids.”

SternInstant is suitable for milk powders of all kinds, whether whole milk, skim milk, coffee creamer or cocoa drink powder. It also improves the application properties of instant protein products like sports drinks and diet shakes. Enzymatically hydrolysed lecithin from the SternPhil series likewise optimises the properties of fat powders like powdered whole milk and cream. As an emulsifier, it brings lasting improvements in the wettability, sinking and distribution of very fatty particles.

Customer-specific solutions

In the instant category, Sternchemie works to provide tailor-made solutions for every customer. These are individually adapted to specific needs, be they regulatory or functional. “Our goal is to give the customer the best powder properties and high production efficiency. Naturally we also take into account individual wishes, like clean label, non-GMO, RSPO-certified and organic,” notes Torben Werner, Product Manager SternInstant. In the company’s own Stern-Technology Center, Sternchemie tests the lecithins in its toolbox with the customer’s powder products in order to identify the best lecithin for the specific application. Together with extensive advisory services, this ensures that the lecithin meets all functional, quality and regulatory requirements.

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