Nutrient content targets are critical when considering nutrient content claims. They are also critical when health claims (implied, expressed or qualified claims that couple ingestion of a nutrient with a specific disease) or structure/function claims (claims that "help maintain good health") are desired. Health claims are strictly regulated and often require one or more nutrient content claims or targets and general dietary restrictions to apply the claim. Structure/function claims are less restrictive, but require sound scientific principles and evidence to support the eventual claim. As always, seek the counsel of appropriate scientific and regulatory authorities when considering product claims of any type.
Other factors also need to be taken into account. Flavors and flavorings can add significant amounts of total fat, sugars, etc. The addition of particulate and variegated inclusions can make or break any nutrient content target and, thus, any claim being sought. Economics becomes important as any given "good-for-you" ice cream may, or may not, meet financial objectives of the business. Direct or indirect claims, such as "natural" or "organic," can also affect what can or cannot be done.
Do not forget manufacturing limitations in the plant. This can include: the logistic effects of introducing new mixes with regard to production scheduling, mix storage space, and equipment operation and performance; the need to deal with high levels of dry ingredients, such as the bases often used in the production of sugar-modified products and/or the use of small containers of liquid ingredients such as polyols; mix and ice cream flow and fill; and machinability at the freezer and management of multiple freezer options (e.g., sorbet swirled into ice cream or frozen yogurt to achieve specific nutrient content targets).
The impact of composition modifications on shelf life is also critical, particularly if the modified product will be exposed to more stressful distribution temperature conditions. "Good-for-you" compositional changes can significantly change the heat shock resistance of any ice cream through effects on the dynamics of ice melting and recrystallization. This can be dealt with by knowing the specific rigors of market distribution, then engineering appropriate heat shock protection into the formulation process. The very best way to manage this is to compare the freezing profile of candidate compositions with each other and with those of current or known finished products. This will help assess compatibility with the operational and distribution needs of the product, and provide a good sense of ultimate heat shock resistance and success.
Here, we have discussed a few general aspects of what needs to be taken into account when formulating ice creams that address certain consumer health concerns. In many respects, developing specific compositions can follow the same guidelines that apply to standard ice creams, such as those involving total solids, fat/SNF balances, sweetness, water immobilization needs, etc. More information about specific considerations is archived in Tharp
& Young On Ice Cream columns at www.onicecream.com, including form-ulation of ice cream modified relative to fat (reduced, low and fat-free), carbohydrate (lactose-free, no sugar added, sugar-free, low carbohydrate and low glycemic index), and other nutrition related "hot topics."
For more detail on formulating "good-for-you" ice creams, including use of mix freezing profiles, join Dr. Bruce Tharp and Dr. Steven Young at Tharp & Young On Ice Cream Technical Short Course, Workshops, and Clinics, Nov.30-Dec.2. Las Vegas. Fully updated and revised program and registration is available at www.onicecream.com or call 610/975-4424 or 281/596-9603.Tharp & Young also offer custom, on-site training programs to cover specific needs held at mutually acceptable locations and times.