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Fiberstar, Inc. introduces natural citrus fiber system


2019-08-21

The demand for plant-based foods has skyrocketed due to health, sustainability, and environmental concerns. One plant-based food in particular quickly entered the limelight – meat alternatives. Yet, to make these meat alternatives comparable to their animal-meat counterparts, product developers use a thermogelling and emulsifying ingredient such as methyl cellulose. This ingredient is highly synthetic. Having a stabilized gel emulsion with moisture control properties is critical for a meat-like texture and juiciness. Formulators heavily rely upon methyl cellulose to provide functional benefits that make plant-based meats convincing. However, there is now a cost-competitive clean label solution that contains Citri-Fi®. This natural citrus fiber solution is an effective thermally gelling emulsion system for meat alternative products. 

“We are excited to introduce the next generation of clean label vegan binders to the meat alternative market,” says President and CEO, John Haen. “This is timely since consumers actively read food labels and demand natural ingredients! Because of this, we have received numerous requests from plant-based meat manufacturers for a clean label technology replacing methyl cellulose.”

Methyl cellulose comes in multiple types and forms but provides meat alternatives two key functionalities; namely hot binding strength and emulsification. Citri-Fi natural citrus fiber forms stable emulsions at both hot and cold temperatures. When put together with natural hydrocolloids, the gelling and hot binding functionalities make the system complete. This allows products like burger patties to be cooked at a high temperature without falling apart. During the cooking process, water and fat release to simulate the texture and create a burst of juiciness and sizzle which is convincing to quasi-carnivores.

Citri-Fi natural citrus fiber is produced from byproduct of the juicing process. The clean and patented process opens up the fiber to provide high surface area. This surface area lends itself to high water holding, heat stability, and emulsification properties. In addition, the Citri-Fi system also allows formulators to lower the amount of saturated fats such as coconut or palm oil which improves the overall healthiness of their products.

Citri-Fi is non-GMO, allergen-free and gluten-free. In Europe, this natural citrus fiber has no E-number. Organic compliant Citri-Fi is available in the U.S. Citri-Fi can be labeled as citrus fiber, dried citrus pulp or citrus flour which resonate well in the clean label markets, the company said.