How to improve taste and health while maintaining food safety?
Goodman Fielder produce many of our daily food items such as bread, milk, margarine, flour, dressings, condiments, mayonnaise, frozen pastry, cake mix, desserts, sauces, vinegar and cooking oils. Their brands include Meadow Lea, Praise, White Wings, Pampas, Helga's, Wonder White, Meadow Fresh, Edmonds and Irvines.
The company wanted to reduce the vinegar taste and the salt and sugar content of some of their mayonnaises and dressings. However, food ingredients such as acid (the vinegar), salt and sugar can be important in making food products safe to eat and preventing foods from spoiling.
To do this, they needed a way of predicting the effects of these changes on aspects like shelf life, taste, safety and spoilage.
Developing a predictive software tool
New food products can be developed by trialing and testing different versions one after another. This can take a long time, be expensive and disrupt day to day production. Goodman Fielder wanted a quicker, easier way of improving their products.
To achieve this, our food microbiology experts began by collating significant quantities of the company's internal data on formulation history, processes, raw materials, microbial quality tests and environmental monitoring.
We assessed the data and from there developed a software tool that predicts the microbiological safety and stability of new formulations of shelf stable mayonnaises and dressings with reduced or alternative food acids, based on the company's own systems and processes.
New and better dressings and mayonnaises
The tool minimises the food safety risks of reformulating products and makes product diversification in this market category easier. The system not only predicts the effects of formulation changes, but also how any shortcomings might be fixed.
The software better reflects the likely stability of acidified products under Australian conditions than anything that was currently available.
Goodman Fielder also hope to develop exciting, novel flavours and products with this tool.