SBIR Phase I: Imparting Soluble Polysaccharide Functionality to Insoluble Fiber Found in Food Processing Byproduct Streams

Period of Performance: 01/01/2016 - 06/30/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

River Falls, WI 54022
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is to create a new fiber based ingredient with properties that: 1) makes foods and beverages that taste better and cost less, 2) has a clean label ingredient statement that is easily understood and not artificial, and 3) is made utilizing a sustainable process consistent with good manufacturing practices for food ingredients. The proposed new technology will make functional food ingredients from natural raw materials and improve sustainability compared to other thickening, suspending, or hydrocolloid ingredients sold today, e.g. pectin, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, and/or carboxymethylcellulose. The production yields, as measured by the amount of final product produced from a given amount of raw material, is two to three times greater compared to common hydrocolloids while the raw materials are fibrous byproduct streams made from juice and/or food production that would otherwise be waste or used for other low value purposes. The raw materials are also available globally in sufficient quantities at reasonable prices even during periods of cultivated crop shortages. Despite the abundance of waste plant materials from food processing, they have limited use in foods due to economic, sensorial (taste, texture, smell) and technological constraints, e.g. water holding capacity, suspending properties, mouthfeel, without intense chemical modification, which the proposed technology will overcome. Of the $1.2 billion addressable market for hydrocolloid ingredients used for suspending and thickening purposes, there is a $240-360 million market demand for competitively priced ingredients with the properties outlined in this project and a successful commercialization of this fiber based technology platform will meet this demand. The technical objectives of this Phase I research project are to commercialize a transformational, highly functional, low cost, and clean label new fiber platform that remains stable without chemical, microbiological, or sensory degradation over time in food and beverages such as juice, soup, mayonnaise, and salad dressing. Typical usage rates of the proposed fibers are expected to be less than 1% yet having a significant technical function, e.g. suspending, thickening, emulsification, in the final food or beverage product. Rheological and sensory comparisons to other hydrocolloids ingredients will demonstrate the effectiveness in a range of applications. Due to its natural composition, the fiber platform will withstand alkaline and acidic conditions ranging from pH 2-10, be thermally stable up to 100 oC, and withstand multiple freeze/thaw cycles. Raw materials will contain native pectin levels from 15-45%, galacturonic acid levels of 5-20%, and will be sourced from citrus, sugar beet, and potato production processes. The proposed fiber platform will produce suspending and thickening power three to four times greater than current thickeners, which will result in a lower use rate, cleaner taste, and lower cost.