Achieve rich, creamy texture in with a cost effective approach

Achieve rich, creamy texture
in Greek-style yogurt with a
cost effective approach
Suzanne Mutz-Darwell
Senior Market Development Manager
Matt Yurgec
Principal Food Technologist
Kathryn Fox
Senior Technologist, Sensory
Ingredion Incorporated
Bridgewater, New Jersey
Achieve rich, creamy texture in Greek-style
yogurt with a cost effective approach
the milk, with Greek yogurts on the market varying from
7%-11% protein, or 10-18 g/serving. Straining can be done
through a traditional strainer, centrifugation, or ultrafiltration. Typically, Greek yogurts are much thicker in body
and heavier in mouthfeel compared to their stirred yogurt
Consumer attitudes toward Greek-style
yogurt: focus group
Ingredion conducted a consumer focus group in order to
explore key consumer motivations with respect to eating
and purchasing Greek-style yogurt. Additionally, feedback
and reactions to several different Greek-style yogurt
samples was sought.
The market for Greek-style yogurt has exploded in the U.S.,
achieving triple digit growth over the last three years (IRI
Symphony, 2012) while the yogurt category has only grown
modestly. Greek-style yogurt now represents approximately 25% of the entire $6B yogurt category (AC Nielsen,
2012). This tremendous growth can be attributed to Greekstyle yogurt’s positive health and wholesomeness positioning and its tasty, indulgent and convenient benefits. Many
in the industry still expect continued growth as U.S. yogurt
consumption is still a fraction of that of Europe and other
regions of the world.
As of mid-2011, there were more than 23 brands and 210
distinct products of Greek-style yogurt on the market in
the U.S. Additionally, Greek-style yogurt has expanded to
other countries and is being used in related products such
as dressings, dips and frozen yogurt.
What is Greek-style yogurt?
While there are no regulations defining what specifically
“Greek” yogurt is in the U.S., the product must meet the
minimum requirement for the FDA yogurt standards
(Yogurt, Nonfat Yogurt and Lowfat Yogurt). Traditionally,
Greek yogurt is a cultured dairy product that has an additional straining step following fermentation. This straining
removes almost 75% of the water and concentrates the
remaining solids. Depending on the type of milk used, a
variety of fat levels may be achieved, ranging from 0%
up to 10% fat. Straining also concentrates the protein in
pg 2
• Facility: Ingredion Focus Group Facility, Bridgewater,
New Jersey
• Facilitation: Conducted by independent facilitator
(Gowen Research)
• Recruitment: 24 consumers, recruited for 3 panels,
with the following criteria:
– Ages 25-65
– 30/70 male/female split
– Regular Greek-style yogurt eaters (3-5 x/month)
– Primary purchaser of Greek-style yogurt
– Health aware, but not extremely health conscious
Key consumer focus group findings
Why they like Greek-style yogurt
Overall, consumers choose to purchase Greek-style yogurt
primarily because of its good nutritional properties as well
as its thick, creamy texture that is more filling and satisfying than regular yogurt. “I feel like I’m doing something
better for myself” was a common theme heard throughout
the panels. Panelists commented that they liked the fact
that Greek-style yogurts are generally lower in sugar and
carbohydrate content than regular yogurts, and that they
are readily available in low fat varieties (2% or 0% fat).
Respondents recognize that Greek-style yogurt is higher
in protein, which is positive, but could not identify an
ideal particular protein level. Several consumers mentioned that they wanted to avoid artificial flavors, colors
and sweeteners.
Table 1: S
ummary of Consumer Focus Group
cooking as a healthier replacement for sour cream or
cream, or as a dessert.
Findings on Greek-style Yogurt
Consumer Feedback on Greek-style Yogurts
Two key drivers to purchase and eat Greek-style yogurt:
• Perceived health benefits relative to regular yogurt
• The more substantial, thick and creamy texture
Health Benefits mentioned by consumers:
• Low or no fat, low saturated fat
• Less sugar/carbohydrates than regular yogurt
• Higher protein
Price vs. brand
Consumers commented on the higher price per unit of
Greek-style yogurt and mentioned that they will often
switch brands if one is on sale. Respondents also mentioned that the flavor selection was not as wide, so they
will occasionally switch to regular yogurt for a favorite
flavor or as a healthy dessert.
Consumers purchase and eat Greek-style yogurt for its
positive healthful properties, its rich, creamy, satisfying
texture and its overall wholesomeness — no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Consumers continue to be price
aware and conscious, and look for discounts (Table 1).
• Low sodium content
• Probiotics/aids digestion/immune health
• Low calories
Feedback on how eating Greek-style yogurt make consumers feel:
• Full/satisfied, without the guilt
• Healthy/rejuvenated/better for you
• Indulgent but with something that is good for me
Expert descriptive sensory panel evaluation
of Greek-style yogurt texture
• “With It,” trendy
When they eat Greek-style yogurt
Consumers use and eat Greek-style yogurt for various
occasions throughout the day: breakfast or in a smoothie,
as a snack, for lunch alone or alongside a sandwich, in
Since texture was noted as a major determinant of Greekstyle yogurt selection, Ingredion wanted to learn more
about the textural attributes of Greek-style yogurts, and
the textural similarities and differences of the leading
Greek-style yogurts on the market.
Table 2: TEXICON™ utilized to characterize Greek-style Yogurt:
Surface Shine
The degree to which the product reflects light
Surface Grain (In Container)
The amount of particles which can be seen in the surface of the product
The cracking or breaking of the product as it is spooned out of the container
Spoon Indentation
The indentation made by the spoon in the sample
The gelatin-like appearance of the product on the spoon/the movement of the sample on the spoon up and down
in an unsteady manner
Surface Grain (On Spoon)
The amount of particles which can be seen on the surface of the product when viewed on the back of a spoon
The force required to move the spoon thought the material
Rate of Flow
How fast the material flows off the bowl of the spoon
Texture by Hand Manipulation
In-Mouth Texture
Firmness (Before Stirring)
The force required to compress the product before it is stirred
Firmness (After Stirring)
The force required to compress the product after it is stirred
The amount of deformation/stringing rather than shear/cut or rupture
Evenness of Mouthcoating
Extent to which the samples evenly spreads over the palate during the manipulation
Ease to slide tongue under product
The rate at which a sample dissolves or melts in the mouth
Immediate Residual Texture
Total Residual Mouthcoating
The amount of residue left on the mouth surfaces after swallowing
pg 3
Figure 1: T
EXICON – Translating Consumer terms
whereas others were less viscous but more gelled, and when
eaten tended to meltaway faster. Some were more visual
while others were very smooth and shiny.
into precise, quantifiable sensory and
rheological terms
Those that were produced via straining tended to be dull,
visually grainy, tended to crack/break, had low spoon
indent, were firmer and very adhesive to the palate, with
a chalky residual after swallowing. Those produced via
formulation were shiny, smoother, tended not to crack or
break, had higher jiggle and spoon indentation, were softer,
more slippery and melted quickly. However, some formulated Greek-style yogurts had an astringent/drying residual
remaining, which is due to powdered milk protein sources.
Blending flavor into these yogurts tended to minimize the
powdery residual and any protein aftertaste (Figure 2).
Production challenges for manufacturers
Prior to the entrance of Greek yogurt into the market, the
majority of the U.S. yogurt market was based on stirred or
blended yogurt. As Greek yogurt consumption started to
boom, more brands and manufacturers wanted to produce
this higher value product. As most U.S. yogurt processors
utilize a HTST stirred yogurt process, they would have to
invest capital in straining equipment in order to make
Greek yogurt the traditional way. This cost could range
from $2M-$10M, depending on the extent of the additional
capacity, lines and storage tanks needed. Alternatively,
they could outsource production to a co-packer that had
straining equipment; however, excess co-packing capacity
was diminishing as Greek yogurt experienced its exponential growth, and new capacity has been slow to appear.
The company employed its trained expert descriptive sensory panel in Bridgewater, NJ to evaluate nine Greek-style
yogurt samples on the market, all vanilla flavored, most
strained but some formulated, and characterized each one
by 14 different textural attributes using our TEXICON™ for
yogurts (Table 2). TEXICON™ is Ingredion’s food texture
language that translates the consumer experience of a
product’s texture into precise, measurable, scientific terms
that allow food formulators and manufacturers to target and
achieve the desired texture, quality and
eating experience in their end product
(Figure 1). In addition, the company supFigure 2: Texture Map of Eight Greek-style Yogurt Products
plemented the expert sensory description
Evenness of mouthcoating
panel data, with instrumental rheological
Firmness (before stir)
Surface shine
analysis of these yogurts to compare to
Spoon indentation
the sensory panel information.
Firmness (after stir)
Texture mapping
Nine Greek-style yogurt products were
evaluated for 14 attributes, and plotted
relative to each other with statistical
Principle Component Analysis (PCA) tools
so we could compare their similarities
and differences. From this set of sensory data, Ingredion found that the nine
Greek-style yogurts had very different
textures and eating experiences. They
ranged in viscosity, firmness and gel
properties (jiggle, spoon indentation).
Some products were thick, firm, had
high mouthcoating and a slow meltaway,
pg 4
Total residual
Surface grain (spoon)
Surface grain (container)
Rate of flow
Branded strained Greek yogurt product
Private label strained Greek yogurt product
Branded formulated Greek-style yogurt product
Figure 3: Formulated Greek-style Yogurt Manufacturing process
Final heater
Mixing tanks
Initial heater
Final cooler
Product pump
An alternative, cost-effective production approach
Hold tube
Recognizing an opportunity, the application scientists at
Ingredion utilized DIAL-IN® Texture Technology to devise an
approach to building the desired Greek-style yogurt texture
without straining (Figure 3). DIAL-IN® Texture Technology
is a robust, data-driven approach that combines consumer
insights, sensory evaluation and instrumental data, process
understanding and formulation expertise to deliver the
desired and targeted texture and eating experience in the
end product, in a fraction of time (Figure 4).
interest, but must be screened to prevent any cheesy off
tastes. Finally, too much NFDM in a formulation can lead
to a very sweet taste and high solids formulation. Different
milk sources and batch-to-batch variability should be taken
into consideration when selecting a dairy protein supplier.
One key finding is that blending liquid condensed skim
milk into a Greek-style yogurt formulation, and reducing the amount of MPC used, can help attain the desired
protein level and help minimize the protein off-notes and/
or astringency.
Selecting the best milk protein sources
Developing an optimized texture system
When making Greek-style yogurt by the formulation
approach, the selection and hydration of the milk protein
sources is critical. The company evaluated a range of milk
protein concentrates (MPC), whey protein concentrates
and isolates (WPC, WPI) and NFDM. MPC 85 is the most
efficient ingredient to attain the desired protein content;
however, it must be hydrated properly to avoid negative
and undesirable off-tastes. Several specialty WPC are of
Even though Greek-style yogurt is high in protein, just
having the targeted level of protein is not enough to
deliver the desired thick, rich and creamy Greek-style
yogurt texture. NOVATION® Indulge 3320 texture system
was developed to deliver the right balance of thickness
and creaminess, by optimizing degree of the key textural
attributes such as oral viscosity, mouth-coating, meltaway
and ‘degree of set.’
Figure 4: DIAL-IN® Texture Technology Approach Schematic
In addition to the
normal blended yogurt
production, it is important to add a few additional steps in order to
arrive at the desired
Greek-style yogurt texture in the end product. First, Ingredion
suggests hydrating the
milk protein powders
prior to addition to the
batch tanks. This can
be done by heating
and stirring in a surge
tank or by allowing the
pg 5
protein powders to soak overnight. Upstream homogenization processing is also suggested, where the
homogenization is done after the pre-heat step, and
before pasteurization for maximum functionality from
the texture system (i.e. NOVATION® Indulge 3320).
Finally, after culturing and cooling, a final smoothing
step is recommended to enhance the smoothness and
improve shine. This can be done through the use of
smoothing disks, smoothing valves, and in the case of
very high protein yogurts (>10%), through the use of
smoothing homogenizers or pumps.
Table 3: Formulation recommendations
Wholesome Greek-style Yogurt
White Mass 0% Fat
Achieving the texture solution
Skim Milk
Ingredion was able to achieve a similar texture and
eating experience to the market leading product, with
a product made on a conventional HTST stirred process,
without the need to invest in additional capital. With the
company’s texture system (NOVATION® Indulge 3320)
and formulation and process advice, customers can get
to market faster, and produce product at a lower overall
cost. The resultant texture of the formulated product is
very similar to that of the strained product when it is
evaluated by the Expert Trained Panel, using the same
TEXICON (Figure 5).
NOVATION® Indulge 3320
Surface grain (in container)
Surface grain
Firmness (before stir)
Evenness of mouthcoating
Viscosity (stir)
Thickness in the mouth
Rate of flow
Firmness (after stir)
pg 6
*Protein content can be made higher or lower to customer specifications.
Spoon indentation
Total residual mouthcoating
Ingredients: cultured skim milk, milk
protein, concentrate, maltodextrin,
tapioca starch
compared to that of a market strained product
Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC) 85 4.85%
Figure 5: C
omparison of a formulated Greek-style Product
Corn Products and National Starch
are now Ingredion.
Ingredion Incorporated
5 Westbrook Corporate Center
Westchester, IL 60154
1-866-961-6285 |
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