Producing High Quality Mayonnaise – How Hard can it Be?

Mayonnaise is a diverse sauce most commonly used in sandwiches and burgers, as the creamy base in cold salads, or as a dip for French fries. Consumer preferences for taste, texture and appearance varies considerably across each eating occasion, and from country to country.

As a result, there are numerous variants in production and a web of local codes for naming, labelling and formulation. This, coupled with the ever-changing consumer preferences for taste and consistency, means considerable challenges for mayonnaise producers. Being able to accurately predict and control the required quality parameters is of utmost importance, as this allows optimiszation of production costs, trouble free production scale-up and, not least, rapid development and shorter time-to-market for new products.

Current trends cause increased fragmentation

The current preferences impacting the world of mayonnaise include the following:

• Health and wellness focus – Consumers want to live healthily and feel good, there is heightened demand for reduced fat, salt and sugar content in our food and drink

• Natural ingredients – consumers are increasingly concerned about what is in their food, how it is made and where the ingredients come from.

• Premium experience – many consumers are on the lookout for products with the highest quality ingredients

• Free-From – more consumers are avoiding certain foods due to allergies, sensitivities or as a life-style choice

• Convenience – time-saving and highquality products, easy to prepare and consume on-the-go are ever more popular

On the whole, consumers will look for ‘good for me’ products while also demanding a wide range of dressings and condiment sauces. The challenge for producers is to deliver on the consumer expectations for the same taste, texture, mouthfeel, appearance and stability for reduced fat versions, egg-free dressings with the more calorie-rich versions consumer know.

How to define and assess quality

Many consumers have an opinion on what is a “good quality” mayonnaise. These opinions often differ around the world, and it is not always easy to link them to measurable quality parameters. For producers, mayonnaise quality is often characterised by a combination of sensory evaluations and laboratory analyses. Mayonnaise products often highlight texture attributes using words like “creamy”, “smooth” and “thick”. Below we have outlined the different parameters and tests typically used by producers to define and assess quality:

• Texture

One way that consumers perceive texture is the way the food is broken down in the mouth before it is swallowed. Texture is measured by using a texture analyser, where a compression technique similar to the compression performed by the mouth is applied to the mayonnaise.

• Yield stress

Place a sample of mayonnaise on a plate, and its shape will not change for several minutes if undisturbed. It behaves more like a solid than a fluid. If you then stir the mayonnaise with a spoon, it resembles a thick, viscous liquid. Yield stress is the minimum force that must be applied to the mayonnaise for it to start behaving as a liquid instead of a solid.

• Apparent viscosity

Apparent viscosity correlates to the product behaviour during pumping, mixing, chewing and pouring. It also describes some of the perceived “mouth feel” during chewing and swallowing. This parameter is measured using rheometers, where the viscosity is measured for a given shear rate.

• Droplet size

The droplet size distribution of the dispersed oil droplets is extremely important because their size influences taste, texture, viscosity, appearance and emulsion stability. Smaller droplets have larger interfacial and higher internal pressure than larger droplets, resulting in higher viscosity, yield stress and texture. Smaller oil droplets release flavors differently than larger oil droplets, reducing the intensity and delaying the flavor experience as the product is tasted. Smaller oil droplets also refract light differently than larger droplets, producing a mayonnaise that is whiter in color. Solutions to the mayonnaise maize Mayonnaise’s quality attributes are influenced not only by ingredient types and composition, but also by equipment type, processing parameters and scale of production. High-intensity mixers such as high-speed rotor-stator mixers or colloid mills are commonly used. The energy from these devices is dissipated in a relatively small product volume, which creates high levels of local energy dissipation rates and thereby small oil droplets. These mixers can be combined with, or in, mixing tanks in various ways, and the complete line solution can be set up to operate in both batch and continuous production.

High-intensity mixers such as high-speed rotor-stator mixers or colloid mills are commonly used. The energy from these devices is dissipated in a relatively small product volume, which creates high levels of local energy dissipation rates and thereby small oil droplets. These mixers can be combined with, or in, mixing tanks in various ways, and the complete line solution can be set up to operate in both batch and continuous production.

By knowing the effects of oil amount, egg amount, egg type and thickeners, and their interactions during the mixing process, you can meet your quality targets at every scale. It is by no means and easy feat but having the right equipment, solutions and expertise can certainly help solve the mayonnaise maize!

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Food Marketing & Technology is a monthly magazine published by L.B. Associates Pvt Ltd

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