Rice-based maltodextrin replacer gives formulators a new clean-label tool for food, beverages: SupplySide West 2021 report

Cargill discussed how its new SimPure RF 92260 soluble rice flour offers similar taste, texture, and functionality as maltodextrin.

Maltodextrin is a key ingredient in food and beverage formulating, acting as a bulking agent or carrier for flavors in everything from powdered drink mixes to reduced-sugar baked goods. As useful as maltodextrin is, however, many food and beverage manufacturers are aiming to replace it as consumers demand cleaner-labeled products. Rice flour can act as a clean-label replacer for maltodextrin, but traditional rice flour doesn’t work. At October’s SupplySide West trade show, Cargill (Minneapolis) explained why its new SimPure RF 92260 soluble rice flour was specifically designed to be an easy-to-use, one-to-one, clean-label maltodextrin replacer for formulators, offering similar viscosity, sensory, and bulking performance as maltodextrin across a wide range of applications. These applications include powdered beverages, reduced-sugar bakery, dairy, convenience foods, sauces and dressing, snacks, seasoning mixes, and flavor carrier.

Regular rice flours have traditionally not been very soluble, explained Sarah Jelken, Cargill’s starch product line director, at SupplySide West. The new SimPure RF 92260 soluble rice flour is a “first of its kind to market,” she said.

Cargill’s proprietary technology made it possible to achieve a soluble rice flour. “The technology that we have does not include any chemicals,” Jelken added. “It’s more of a physical and pressure treatment, and we’re able to get that solubility.”

The ingredient specifically aims to replace 10 DE maltodextrin, which is especially used in formulations calling for low hygroscopicity and good solubility. SimPure RF 92260 offers solubility up to 90%-95% compared to the 100% solubility of maltodextrin, Jelken said. “You do see a little bit of a difference, but some of the other [rice flours on the market] are probably more in the 60%-70% range…so you get that big jump from this heat and pressure treatment that we do.”

Christine Addington, Cargill’s senior technical services manager, added: “I think the biggest thing with 10 DE maltodextrin is that it’s very neutral and it’s very soluble, so our customers were looking for something that is equivalent. They didn’t like having the letter X in their ingredient statement, so that’s where this whole project came from. [SimPure RF 92260] functions very similarly to a 10 DE maltodextrin. You really get the solubility, you get the neutral profile, and you get the clean-label aspect of it.”

On product labels, SimPure RF 92260 lists simply as “soluble rice flour,” which is more familiar and friendlier to many consumers over “maltodextrin.” Addington said that in Cargill’s Ingredient Tracker consumer perception testing, maltodextrin scored in “negative territory, whereas soluble rice flour was in positive territory.” Rice is also perceived as non-genetically modified. “We’re starting to hear some customers say they want to move away from corn ingredients, so this is a really good alternative if they’re looking to go down that path,” she said.

SimPure RF 92260 adds another tool in Cargill’s SimPure box of clean-label starches, which includes starches derived from waxy corn, potato, and tapioca. SimPure RF 92260 is really the one designed especially to replace 10 DE maltodextrin. Said Jelken: “The SimPures that we’ve had are a lot about viscosifying, so this one is extending it. It’s related, but it’s also a little different, breaking into the maltodextrin area.”

Adding to that, said Addington, the rest of the SimPure line’s ingredients “are more like texturizers, so they add more functionality around gelling or creaminess, whereas people typically use a 10 DE maltodextrin just as bulking, so they want something that’s neutral, that’s not going to necessarily bring gelling capabilities or things like that. That’s why [SimPure RF 92260] works well in this space. It’s a good complement to our SimPure line. It’s another tool in our toolbox.” It’s also the company’s “first foray into rice-based ingredients in the North American and European markets,” said Shiva Elayedeth, senior technical service manager, Cargill texturizing products, in company marketing materials.

Moving forward, Cargill also expects to see a lot of interest in SimPure RF 92260 in the sugar-reduction space. “We’re getting a lot of requests to use it in sugar reduction,” Addington said. “Whenever you reduce sugar, you’re not only taking away flavor but you’re also taking away solids, and so that affects your mouthfeel….And so soluble rice flour really helps, especially in the sugar-reduction space, to bring back that mouthfeel.”

This includes creaminess. Cargill’s sensory testing even found that SimPure RF 92260 outperformed maltodextrin in terms of creamy mouthfeel. “We’ve noticed that it actually produces a creamier mouthfeel than a traditional 10 DE maltodextrin, so that’s really been beneficial,” Addington said. Dairy formulators will appreciate this especially because “it’s key in that space to have creaminess,” she added. “We’ve also seen success with it in beverages where, again, you’re looking for that creaminess,” such as in powdered chocolate milk beverages.

Cargill is also looking to do more work in maltodextrin replacements. Jelken said the company has “a pipeline coming in the future with other kinds of DE equivalents—like 20, etc. So, there’s a lot more to come, but we’re really excited to bring this new ingredient forward today.” SimPure RF 92260 is already affirmed Generally Recognized as Safe. Cargill says it will be commercially available in early 2022.