Author: Alexandru Rusu
Eat Pizza with Pleasure!
Do you want to manufacture a Ready-To-Eat product with reduced salt, fat and sugar without using any replacers? Researchers from the Pleasure project took this challenge and found a way to reduce 30% of salt, fat and sugar in a tasty multi-component pizza using innovative processing approaches.
In Europe, a typical pizza consists of pizza dough, tomato sauce, cooked ham and mozzarella style cheese. Researchers of the EU funded Pleasure project changed the physical structuring to reduce fat and salt by using enzymes, and reduce sugar by fermentation. This was a challenge, because current equipment is not suitable for the processing of these new ingredients. Therefore, new equipment has also been developed.
A total salt, fat and sugar reduction of 30% was achieved in pizza without altering the taste or textural perception of the original. Novel approaches and tailor-made prototype machines were developed that can be used by food producers (SMEs). Pizza dough and toppings were optimized.
For the reduction of salt and fat in the pizza dough, two prototype machines were developed. The first prototype is a vacuum mixer constructed by VMI, which significantly helps to reduce dough stickiness and positively contributes to its plasticity for dough sheeting. The second prototype is a dough sheeter for dough with encapsulated salt. This encapsulated salt enhances the saltiness perception of the dough by 30% in comparison to conventional pizza dough, therefore less salt can be used. The prototype dough sheeter has been assembled jointly by PROMATEC and ONIRIS. This equipment enables a defined layer of encapsulated salt to be distributed in the dough.
The sugar content of the tomato sauce was reduced by 30% through enzymatic and fermentative sugar reductions. The developed processes are patent pending. The researchers also reduced the salt content of cooked ham. HPP treatment was applied assuring satisfying texture, taste and microbial stability. The fat and salt reduced Mozzarella-style cheese was processed through novel approaches such as enzymatic modification. The cheese has the same functionality, flavour, textural properties and microbial stability as a full-fat, full-salt cheese.
The perfect combination
There are processing technologies and processes to reduce salt, fat and sugar available for all the pizza ingredients. But what is the perfect combination? The researchers in this project reduced the salt content by 30%, while they enhanced the contrast of the salt content between the ingredients. It turned out that by putting all the salt mainly in the cheese and the tomato sauce and no salt in the dough, the sensory perception was similar to conventional pizza.
From other research we know that saltiness perception is enhanced when salt is delivered to the mouth in an inhomogeneous way. This also works for sweetness. Therefore, ice cream with a swirl of strawberry syrup is perceived as sweeter than an ice cream where the syrup is homogeneously mixed in the ice cream. Apparently, salt and sugar content in pizza can also be reduced by using this technique.
Along with the pizza system, the Pleasure project also looked into salt, fat and sugar reduction in sweet and savoury puff pastry products. If you are interested in knowing more about this topic, the prototype machines or AMADEUS you can visit www.pleasure-fp7.com or get in touch via the section below.
AMADEUS is chewing
Besides all this work, ONIRIS also developed an artificial mouth prototype, AMADEUS, which stands for Automated Mastication for Artificial Destruction and Extensive Understanding of Stimuli. AMADEUS is able to efficiently mimic chewing of assembled foods such as pizza. It facilitates the study of differences among food products because differences between people are excluded. Tests are also quicker, easier and cheaper if you do not need people for testing.
The frequency of chewing, saliva supply and teeth geometry can be set in AMADEUS. Thus, important characteristics such as salt release and the particle size distribution of the chewed pizza can be objectively determined. The researchers saw that salt release while chewing pizza with AMADEUS was similar to chewing by real people. These results show that this tool provides a new way to study the oral processing of salt reduced foods.
PLEASURE an EU funded initiative
PLEASURE: Novel processing approaches for the development of food products low in fat, salt and sugar.
For whom: Food producers, especially those in the Ready-To-Eat sector.
Objective: The development of food manufacturing processes that make it possible to reduce salt, fat and sugar content in Ready-To-Eat Meals without using any replacers.
Reason: The current highly consumed Ready-To-Eat Meals contain high contents of fat, salt and sugar. They are probably one of the causes of the high percentage of malnourished and obese people in modern industrial countries. The Pleasure project is a response to the need of finding solutions to develop new micro structured and fat, salt and sugar reduced foods with similar sensory properties compared to the conventional products.
How: Stepwise development of new processes for the production of salt, fat and sugar reduced components such as dough, ham and tomato sauce. Followed by the final combination of multi-component products such as pizza or filled puff pastries. Sensory evaluation is included.
Areas of interest: Salt, fat, sugar reduction of ingredients and final products. Equipment development.
When: From January 2012 to December 2014.
Funded by: European Union.
Partners: Sixteen partners across Europe (Germany, Belgium, Romania, Greece, Netherlands, France, Ireland and Spain).
Coordination: Matthias Kück, Biozoon Food Innovations GmbH, Germany, with scientific leadership of ONIRIS, France.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via the form below.