IFF Unveils SEAFLOUR, a Whole Food Algae Stabilizer Offering “Exceptional Stability” in Plant-Based Beverage Formulations, and a Clean Label

While IFF already provides carrageenan – an extract of red seaweed – SEA MEAL is a complete food ingredient (after harvest, the red seaweed undergoes “natural preservation process‘ before being dried and ground, according to IFF) which contains protein, fiber and minerals and may be described on ingredient lists in the United States as “natural seaweed”.

The light ocher colored powder “offers exceptional stability, high suspension capacity and excellent mouthfeel,” and has “a unique synergy with plant proteins, keeping plant-based beverages stable and appealing, and providing a smooth, creamy texture and mouthfeel throughout their shelf life,”​ said Michael Cammarata, Senior Beverage Technologist, IFF, Nourish Division.

At low levels of use of a plant-based drink, it imparts no color or flavor, he said. “We performed sensory analysis to ensure that there are no marine notes that you can detect in the final products.

Suspension and mouthfeel

So how can SEAFLOUR potentially shorten some ingredient lists?

The true industry staple for this type of​ [plant-based milk] application would be gellan gum to provide stability,” said Cammarata. “But in many cases our customers also need to add another type of thickener, something like xanthan gum, guar gum, or locust bean gum, to get some of those more forgiving textures and drink applications.”

“But we were able to achieve that with just the use of this ingredient, in certain applications… The fact that it can do what gellan gum does from a suspension standpoint, and​ [also] do what an additional thickener will do from a mouthfeel standpoint, which makes it quite special in our opinion.

As for how SEAFLOUR – which has self-affirmed GRAS status – compares to carrageenan, he said: “We found some really interesting differences.

“The industry knows about carrageenan and its synergy with casein micelles ​[dairy proteins], when this is not the casehave the same interaction with vegetable proteins. But with SEAFLOUR, we see benefits when used in combination with certain plant proteins, especially soy and pea.

“So, for example, when adding pea protein to an almond-based drink, you can achieve perfect consistency over several months of shelf life. We have also found that when SEAFLOUR is used in combination with specific vegetable proteins, the dosage level needed to optimize stability is lower and viscosities are higher.

“So with this unique ingredient in certain plant-based beverage applications, you can achieve the stability, consistency that our customers are looking for over shelf life, and the mouthfeel and viscosity that consumers are looking for.”

He added: “With this unique ingredient, manufacturers have the potential to reduce fat and sugar levels in their products without compromising texture or mouthfeel.”

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