The process of product development entails turning theoretical ideas into products. We focus on liquid formulas, including creams and smoothies, and powder formulas. Our knowledge about the physical properties, interactions and microbiological status of ingredients ensure the stability and the quality of our recipes.
LIQUID PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
A multidisciplinary team of technologists, including sensory and consumer science and processing development experts, translate our concepts to end products.
For liquid products, mostly emulsions, the development starts by creating a physically stable recipe. The recipe needs to remain stable both during the production process, and for up to 12 months of shelf life. After theoretical recipe development, we perform experiments in the pilot plant. Advanced medical nutrition often has the high protein and energy content that our vulnerable group of patients’ needs. The biggest challenge in the development process is to get a smooth and liquid product. For infant nutrition, the thin milk-like consistency of most products requires a perfect emulsion particle size distribution, in order to prevent phase separation. Product characteristics that are important for the stability, like viscosity, particle size and pH, are analysed after production and during shelf life.
Product Development turns Science into a high quality product that meets specific nutritional needs of our vulnerable consumers worldwide
POWDER PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
For powder products, we use a two-step process. This starts with a spray drying process, after which the final ingredients are dry blended. Deciding when to add each ingredient is key, and it is influenced by the physical properties and microbiological status of the ingredients. Spray drying converts liquid ingredients into powders, providing a stable emulsion after reconstitution.
After the theoretical recipe has been developed, scientists perform experiments on a small scale, both as kitchen trials and in the pilot plant. The dry blending process allows us to incorporate more sensitive ingredients at this stage (e.g. heat sensitive). The product is tested during shelf life on parameters such as fat oxidation, micronutrient loss and a change to sensory properties. Microbiological spoilage is unlikely, as long as the product is kept dry. Dry powders usually have a shelf life of more than 12 months.
LAST STEPS IN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
For both liquids and powders, once a stable base recipe is obtained, sensory development creates a great product experience. The last part of product development includes the up scaling to the factory. Even though it sounds like an obvious step, in practice the different sizes of machines can lead to differences in flow and heating profiles and blending properties. This makes the product behave differently during processing, which ultimately affects the product characteristics. Finally, it is important that the nutritional values as well as the sensory properties (e.g. colour, taste) of the product stay as intended throughout the entire shelf life. Product developers and ingredient technologists carefully scrutinise the specifications for the ingredients used in the applications, and the final composition is monitored in our laboratories. Our developers work together on processes that deliver the desired quality.