Emsland Group has developed a new range of clean-label potato and pea starches that can be used in a range of food applications in place of modified starch.

Clean-label foods – that is, foods without a long list of E-numbers and chemical-sounding names – are a major driver for the food industry, as consumers are scrutinising labels and opting for products that are as natural as can be. This opens up a new set of challenges and opportunities for food ingredient companies to find more natural ways of delivering the same functionality in prepared foods as has been provided by additives.

Emfix® K1 is a clean-label cook-up starch with functionalities and properties similar to those of a chemical modified starch. The Emfix K1 cook-up starches are produced using physical processes, which means they do not need to be labelled using an E-number. Instead, they can be labelled as simply ‘pea starch’ or ‘potato starch’.

The starches were in development at Emsland for three years, and the main challenge was to match the quality, functionality and properties of a chemical modified starch. The two starches available now – one based on pea and one on potato – and the choice between them depends on the precise formulation requirements.

Emfix K1 can be used in a broad range of applications. In convenience foods like soups and sauces it can be used as a binding and thickening agent, with adapted gelatinisation and dissolving properties in both dry mixes and liquid systems. It can also be used in snacks and bakery products as a moisture regulator to extend shelf-life.

Further qualities and starch types are in development to expand the range.

Emsland Group claims a place as the largest producer of potato starch in Germany; it also produces proteins, fibres, potato flakes and potato granulates. Its products are used not only in foods but also in animal feed, textiles, adhesives, building additives, paper, and by the crude oil industry.