Food technology has been my passion ever since high school when a friend and I had to test the effect of a popular energy drink on the human heart rate. Ever since then, I've been fascinated by the link between chemistry, physics and health, and food technology brings all these elements together. In particular the interactions between different ingredients got my attention, which was the subject of my Master's degree. After that, I worked for a major medical and infant nutrition brand as a product technologist. I was really lucky because I got to work on every aspect of the innovation pipeline from initial idea to prototype to commercial production.
Small lecithin dosage has a big impact
Today, at Bunge Loders Croklaan my main focus is to understand the role of lecithin in recipes and research how it interacts with other components. It's an often overlooked and really important ingredient. Even though it represents about 0.5% to 1% of a recipe it has a huge impact on processing, texture, stability and sensorial properties of food products. It also has an important health impact because of its phospholipid content. So it's a perfect match for my interests!
Helping customers to select the right lecithin
One of the things I love about my job is the people I work with. I'm part of a small team and we work together with so much respect and trust for each other. I also have direct contact with customers, helping them select the right lecithin for their recipe and determining the right dosage at the right point in their production process. Helping customers overcome their challenges is rewarding. Last year, when several issues disrupted the soybean and sunflower lecithin supply chain, we had to work with customers to implement rapeseed lecithin as an alternative. Thanks to our collaborative research project with University College Cork, we were well prepared for this disruption. This project helped us gain a better understanding of the functional behavior and interactions of lecithin from a wide range of plant sources in different food applications.
That's another thing that's exciting about my job, we're active in developing ingredients for plant-based foods. A big part of my task involves looking at how lecithin works in plant-based formulations. This year we have a program devoted to integrating lecithin from different sources into plant-based ice cream, beverages and other plant-based dairy alternatives. There are huge opportunities in this area and I'm looking forward to working from ideation right through to implementation in order to develop new lecithin solutions that help our customers.
I wholeheartedly invite customers to contact me. I would love to work together in their plant-based product development projects!
Kristy is a regular contributor to our lecithin Insights. To find out more click here.
If you need Kristy's advice for your recipes, contact the team via the link below.