One important aspect of the food value chain that is underrated, yet, a cash cow for investors, is the production and supply of ingredients. From carbohydrates and proteins to extracts or flavours, the diverse food ingredients sector spans carbohydrates, proteins to extracts of colours, and nutritional enhancers such as vitamins and minerals. There are a wide range of products that are used to maintain or improve the safety and freshness of our foods.
Though their production takes some technical expertise and strict adherence to quality standards they are worth the while, in terms of returns on investment. They also serve to meet the organoleptic qualities that consumers desire in the food items they eat, on daily basis.
One company known for this is AAFUD Group which is mainly engaged in the production and sales of natural colours, food flavour as well as food ingredients. It was established in 1996 with its headquarters located in National High-Tech Zone in Zhuhai, Hong-Kong. It has leveraged on advanced compounding technology in the production of its several ingredients for different food items. Its global strength is predicated on the integration of sustained scientific research, innovation, production and technical sales service together.
So profound is its increasing impact that the AAFUD Nigerian Company Ltd came on board in 2018 as a subsidiary of the parent group. The multi-faceted development format and application of its products have succeeded so far because of its Research and Development Centre. The Rand D team is actively engaged in collaboration with international experts, selected universities and institutes known for innovation.
The features that stand it out above its peers are the focus on strict quality control and sound product traceability system. That explains why it provides product liability insurance coverage and technical expertise for application and food products development. There are a variety of the food flavours that they produce.
Amongst these are banana flavours and many others made from mango, pine apple, coconut, grape, apple, lemon, malt, red bull, raspberry, strawberry and natural ginger. As for aroma they are produced from similar fruits.
Bakery and pastry flavours produced by AAFUD Group include vanilla, fresh milk, sweet milk, cheese, coconut, milk oil, egg milk, almond and natural ginger. Those meant for ice cream, yogurt and dairy products are vanilla, strawberry and mixed berry. Others include chocolate, coconut and cherry.
For confectionary, candy and jelly flavours they come from cranberry, blueberry and strawberry. Others come from vanilla, orange, grape, caramel, lychee, coconut and peppermint. In addition to these are the concentrates made as drinks from mixed berry, lemon, orange, pine apple, strawberry, red bull and peech. The versatility of their products stretch to cake and bread preservatives, bakery and dairy ingredients as well as sweeteners.
· Fermentation-derived ingredients such as probiotics, cultures, yeast, enzymes and algae form part of the products in demand. So are fibres such as inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). Apart from flavours, proteins from vegetables, fish and meat, gelatins. Coffee and tea whiteners as well as sweeteners, maltodextrins are required by food companies. Others are extracts from vegetables, fruit and berries.
On the science and technology behind it bacteria, yeast, fungi and microalgae can act as producers (or catalysts for the production) of food ingredients, enzymes and nutraceuticals. With the current trend towards the use of natural ingredients in foods, there is renewed interest in microbial flavours and colours, food bio-processing using enzymes and food bio-preservation using bacteriocins. Microbial production of substances such as organic acids and hydrocolloids also remains an important and fast-changing area of research.
Other areas include liquid handling and feed preparation through to the drying and packing of final products. The modern machines used in such processes assist to set industry standards in terms of hygienic processing, energy saving, product quality and maximum plant output, while complying with the strictest criteria for cleanliness and safety at all times.
According to the website: Spruceeats, it is good to know the functions of ingredients used in food processing. For instance, in baking the best-baked goods, including light cakes, tender cookies, fine-textured breads, and high popovers depend on the precise combination of flour, liquid, leavening agents, fats, sugars, and flavors.
Flour provides the recipe foundation. Flour gives the structure for the product. The gluten, or protein, in flour, combines to form a web that traps air bubbles and sets. Starch in flour sets as it heats to add to and support the structure. In most baked goods, all-purpose flour is a good choice; it has less gluten than bread flour.
Fat holds it all together. Fat coats gluten molecules so they can’t combine as easily, contributing to the finished product’s tenderness. In many cakes, fat also contributes to the fluffiness of the final product. When sugar is creamed with fat, small pockets of air form from the sharp edges of the crystals interacting with the fat.
Commonly used baking fats include butter, shortening, coconut oil, and (less rarely these days) lard. Sugar is sweet and helps tenderise. Sugar adds sweetness, as well as contributing to the product’s browning. Sugar tenderises a cake by preventing the gluten from forming. Sugar also holds moisture in the finished product. Sugar crystals cutting into solid fats like butter help form the structure of the product by making small holes which are filled with CO2 when the leavening agents react.
Eggs add texture. Eggs are a leavening agent and the yolks add fat for a tender and light texture. The yolks also act as an emulsifier for a smooth and even texture in the finished product. And the proteins contribute to the structure of the baked good.
Liquids add leavening and tenderness. Liquid helps carry flavorings throughout the product, forms gluten bonds, and reacts with the starch in the protein for a strong but light structure. Liquids also act as steam during baking, acting as a leavening agent and contributing to the tenderness of the product.
Apart from the production of food ingredients AAFUD assists customers in their food processing line, by giving advices, helping them with product analysis and also helping to design new processing line. In fact, it goes further to help customers to develop new products according to their needs and requests for their food processing production.
Ayo Oyoze Baje