How sustainable is soy?

SPI Group has been the home of many protein products over the years (whey, wheat, rice, pea, beef).  But our favorite has always been soy.  Why?  First it is sophisticated, we can use soy protein for nutritional or functional improvement in almost every food product.  Second, soy is a complete protein, with a PDCASS of 0.99 it contains all of the essential amino acids required for growth in infants and at risk populations.  Soy is an equivalent protein to animal protein for school food service and it costs less in-use.  Third, it is available.  Soybean use for food is 2-5% of the US crop meaning we can always expand how much humans consume.   This also means soy protein production is dependent on nothing, it is not a waste stream or intermediate product.  Soy protein comes from soybeans.  Straight up.

The last and most important reason that soy protein is important today is that we can grow more soy protein with fewer resources than any other complete protein source:

One acre of farmland can produce:

  • 20 pounds of beef
  • 78 pounds of eggs
  • 82 pounds of milk protein products
  • 356 pounds of soy protein

Have you ever visited my favorite soy video?  Something about the music and the way the data jumps off the screen is compelling. Click here for the DuPont video.

MGP’s Fibersym® RW Reduces Risk Factors Associated with Metabolic Syndrome

Results of an independent study recently conducted at South Dakota State University (SDSU) show that MGP’s Fibersym® RW resistant wheat starch, a patented, non-GMO dietary fiber source, reduces risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.  Such factors include high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, elevated fasting blood sugar, and high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels that increase the chance of developing heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes.  The American Heart Association estimates that 34% of Americans have metabolic syndrome.

For additional details about Fibersym RW, visit and contact SPI Group today!

Why use rice starch?


There are many different types of starches that a formulator can use when developing a new product.  Today’s blog is going to feature one of our favorite starches:  rice starch! Here are a few things we like about rice starch:

Smallest granule size – rice starch has the smallest starch granule size (2-8 μm)., compared to other commercially available starches, such as corn starch.

Because of it’s small granule size, rice starch is excellent as a whitening agent and smoothening agent.  The small granule size also has an impact on oil binding characteristics.  Rice starch is also a good structuring agent in cream fillings and spreads.

Rice amylose is a branched (not linear) polymer – giving you a more soft, creamy gel texture compared to other food starches. Also, rice amylopectin has a unique molecular structure which leads to a reduced tendency for retrogradation – which means that it has excellent freeze thaw and shelf life stability.

One of the most important characteristics of rice starch is it’s neutral flavor – allowing it to be used in many different applications including meats, sauces, soups, bakery products, frozen desserts, and more! Contact us today for how rice starch can benefit your current project.

Changes to the FDA definition of fiber

Have you heard about the FDA’s changes to the definition of fiber? First:  The formal interpretation of the ruling is below:

FDA’s new definition of a dietary fiber is a fiber that has a “physiological effect that is beneficial to human health.” The definition is limited to fibers that are 1) non-digestible carbohydrates (with 3 or more monomeric units) and lignins intrinsic and intact in plants, such as whole grains and natural fruit and vegetable fibers, or 2) added fibers, such as isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrate fibers, including both insoluble and soluble prebiotic fibers, as long as FDA has pre-approved the fiber as a dietary fiber or as long as the ingredient is already the subject of an FDA-approved health claim.

The list of approved fibers is short at the moment (as of July 2016)-  For now, it includes only cellulose, guar gum, pectin, locust bean gum, and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC).  Oat beta-glucan and psyllium husk are the subject of health claims so therefore approved as well.

Second: We know that our partner suppliers are to be filing proper documentation to get approved.  Insoluble fiber manufacturers are working together for a more industry wide approach. Click here for more information. 

Food companies have 2 years to comply so there is some time.  These changes are part of the new nutrition facts panel.  FDA is also planning to raise the daily value for dietary fiber from 25 g to 28 g for a 2,000-calorie diet—a level in line with current Institute of Medicine recommendations.  This means the levels of fiber required for “good” and “excellent” source claims are higher as well at 7g and 14g (that’s a lot of fiber!)  Stay tuned for updates regarding fiber, and be sure to stay in touch with us at SPI Group!

Salt is hot in the media right now!

The FDA calls for sharp reduction in salt added to foods

FDA Guidelines target the sodium hiding in our diets 

All because of Draft Guidance published in the CFR for proposed sodium reductions in the “Processed Food” category.  Some of the proposed reductions include the following (values are milligrams per serving):

  • Dry Soup Mix from current average 1892 to 1290
  • Frankfurters, Hot Dogs from current average 1012 to 730
  • Bone-in Batter and Breaded Poultry from current average 599 to 380
  • Flavored Potato Chips from current average 774 to 380
  • White and Wheat Bread from current average 523 and 471 down to 300 for bothBut never fear.  SPI Group is proud to present our sodium reduction toolbox – highlighted here are salt replacers:
  • Saltwell Sea Salt: Water from the ancient Atamcama Sea naturally high in potassium for a 30% sodium reduction and the clean label of “Sea Salt.”  Saltwell allows a 1:1 replacement of salt in label, flavor, and functionality. Saltwell
  • NuTek Salt:  Patented process to form single crystals of potassium chloride with the bitterness masked and functionality of salt.  Clean and simple label: “Potassium Chloride, Maltodextrin” Get more salty taste without the sodium content.saltwell 2
  • Provesta 029: “Autolyzed Yeast, Potassium Chloride” for partial replacement of salt, provides salty flavor while enhancing your existing salt and flavor system

Panodan 150 – The Problem Solver

While many consumers are looking for cleaner labels, there are those that demand products with convenience and value. For manufacturers  of these items, there are often emulsification challenges that are not easily overcome. That’s where DATEM can help. Technically Di-acetylated tartaric acid ester of monoglyceride blended with mono-diglcerides, and sold as Panodan 150.

First a brief overview of emulsification. An emulsifier is a substance which reduces interfacial tension in o/w and w/o emulsions. It can also increase the stability of the emulsion. Lipid emulsifiers contain a hydrophilic part and a hydrophobic (lipophilic) part. The hydrophobic part may consist of a fatty acid. The hydrophilic part that attracts the water may consist of a glycerol that has been esterified with acetic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid or citric acid.

So what makes Panodan 150 so good? In a word – versatility. In bakery applications DATEM can increase the volume of baked bread, increase the tolerance to machining and processing, and even help decrease the impact of flour inconsistencies. With sauces, DATEM impacts flavor less than starches, and acts as a powerful emulsifier, especially in high butter and cheese-based applications. It is especially useful in coffee creamers where DATEM creates an emulsion that can withstand heat, acid and water hardness. The DATEM can also add to production efficiency as it allows for higher solids during the spray drying process.

Contact your SPI Group Technical Team for recommendations and usage levels to your specific applications. Panaodan 150 is just one of the many solutions available from DuPont Health & Nutrition and SPI Group, their Preferred Distributor Partner.

Lecithin for better machinability of various doughs

Lecithin is used in bakery products for many very good reasons, including emulsification, volume, symmetry, crumb structure and tenderness, product shelf life and batter viscosity. But there is also another specific reason it’s being used in a large variety of bakery products. It’s for the excellent dough conditioning and machinability qualities that lecithin imparts to the doughs that make it so valuable to the baking industry.

Dough strength is a balance of two main properties of the dough, extensibility and elasticity. When Gluten is developed after the flour interacts with the water. These two characteristics are the vital attributes the dough has developed when properly mixed.

Extensibility is the ability to stretch and Elasticity is its ability to go back to its original shape. Strong doughs are not very extensible but very elastic. Weak doughs are very extensible but not very elastic. Lecithin helps during this gluten development stage by helping to strengthen the dough. It reduces dough stickiness and acts as a release agent during mixing and machining processes. This is especially important in reduced fat formulas or where sugar is a major component of the formula. The added lubricity from the lecithin is part of the dough conditioning that it contributes to the easier machinability and clean-up of equipment.

The versatility of lecithin in bakery products makes a must ingredient in all bakery application where dough is mixed, extruded, sheeted, panned, cut or leavened.

Whether you’re looking for a functional enzyme modified soy lecithin or a less refined soy lecithin. SPI Group carries a full line of de-oiled and liquid lecithins from Du Pont and can help you choose the right one for your bakery application.

*Information gathered from Du Pont and Progressive Baker.


Keeping Ready-To-Eat Prepared Refrigerated Foods and Entrees Fresh and Safe

Recent food trends indicate consumers want freshly prepared and less processed foods with clean labels. For manufacturers and food retailers, distributing fresh refrigerated foods require additional protection from spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms. Beyond the normal hurdles of a cooking step,lower pH,reduction of moisture, and competitive exclusion of unwanted microorganisms, food companies are investing or treating their prepared foods with HPP (High Pressure Pasteurization). Although the HPP process is very effective, it is very expensive (25 to 30 cents per pound) and is commonly used on many RTE (Ready-to-eat) foods like deli meat sandwich slices as a key Listeria and spoilage hurdle. In addition, HPP processing can negatively affect the color and texture of some foods, such as ground beef.

As an alternative to HPP, food developers and processors are considering cleaner labelled alternatives to synthetic preservatives by using lactic bacteria metabolites(commonly called “fermentates’) as additional hurdles to growth of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms. During their growth,lactic acid bacteria in the presence of a carbohydrate source like sugar(dextrose) or starch, produces metabolites,including organic acids, alcohols, bacteriocins,enzymes and various other compounds which inhibit the growth of unwanted microbes. These metabolite mixtures(fermentates) can vary in the culturing organism used and the fermentation conditions and thereby provide different protective qualities. For example, Propionibacteria strains can produce propionic acid and acetic acid as some of their protective metabolites, which are effective inhibitors of yeast and mold growth in bread. In this case the favored product is called MicroGARD 910,a cultured wheat starch product.

Similiarly, a DuPont Nutrition and Health fermentate, MicroGARD 730 is made by fermenting dextrose with specific LAB (lactic acid bacteria) strains and inhibits the growth of Gram positive spoilage organisms as well as Listeria monocytogenes. Availiable in (CO) Certified Organic and approved for use in Canada, MicroGARD 730 recommended usage level varies from in freshly prepared and refrigerated foods like soups,salads,dips and entrees. These fermentate mixtures are recommended at levels of 0.5 to 1.5% dependent on the initial food product quality, pH,and water activity.

For a dairy-based products, MicroGARD 430 is a “cultured non-fat dry milk”  controls unwanted yeast and molds and bacterial strains which would shorten shelf life quality.

Contact your area’s SPI Group sales manager with additional information about these or other clean-labelled ingredients or call our office @(510) 351-8012.

Soy lecithin: for instantizing

Instantizing dry powders such as protein-based dry blended beverages is a necessity when preparing these beverages for consumer use. Most dry blended beverages are consumed by simply adding to milk or water and spoon stirring. Some are prepared by using a shaker bottle which helps to prevent the the powder from clumping together. In either case, instantizing the powder by applying a small amount of lecithin (usually around 1 to 1.5%) will help.


All concentrated protein powders like whey and soy proteins are made to be very soluble and this water-loving property makes these proteins very difficult to wet. The protein is so attracted to water that immediately upon hitting the water surface it soaks up water and begins forming lumps. Part of this physical phenomenon have to do with the charge of the protein particles creating a surface tension with water and part is that the protein soaks up moisture so fast it forms a crust. For high protein powders, a low polarity lecithin(lower HLB) allows the surface of the protein powders to be coated with this lipid-based product which slows down the protein forming lumps, while the water-loving part of the lecithin polar molecule allows it to break the surface tension and disperse into smaller particles which immediately go into solution without lumping.

Lecithin can be used by addition into the protein dryers or by addition to ribbon blenders by spray atomizing onto the powder surfaces. Another method of adding lecithin into dry blending operations is the plate the liquid lecithin onto sugar in a pre-blending step and then to blend into the main batch.

As spray dryers and blending operations differ from plant to plant, the best way to pick the proper lecithin for a specific instantizing application is to contact the SPI Group lecithin experts!  


Lecithin: for release

All lecithin’s have release functionality in them. Some can be dissolved in oil or dispersed in water to act as a release agent on belts and conveyors. Du Pont has several lecithin’s in the Solec line that work in both oil or water based release systems.

Food companies not only use lecithin as a release agent to help eliminate their product from sticking to the belt. They also know it also reduces oil use, product loss and re-work, all while easing clean-up of the equipment. With less downtime for cleaning and less product loss, we know lecithin helps increase product yields.

Oil based lecithin release agents are successfully used in a wide variety of hot belt release applications. This includes on oven bands/belts and drying/smoking racks and fried food hot belt applications. The Solec 152 works well in oil filled dip tanks and in higher temperature applications where a non-darkening of the lecithin is desired. A heat resistant lecithin called Solec HR is available that is resistant to darkening during exposure to prolonged heat.

Lecithin dispersed in water is used where oil is undesirable and in many cases can provide the same or better level of release at substantial cost savings. The Solec E works excellent in oven belt dip tanks at a 10% level. It not only helps to enhance food release, but also in the rinsing and cleaning of the belt. It is also is used in aqueous form on freezer belts that go through freezer tunnels without losing its anti-sticking properties.

There are higher refined, lower viscosity lecithin’s that can be used in spray release systems as well. Lecithin in both oil and aqueous solutions can be applied in an aerosol form. The Solec 152 can be used in spray release applications at levels as low as 2% lecithin and 98% oil.

Please ask your local SPI Group Representative for solutions to any belt release issue you may have.