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Ice Cream's Best Friend - Emulsifiers


1. What are Emulsifiers?

Eulsifiers are the most used additives in the food industry and occupy an important position in food production because they play an influential role in many aspects such as improving the quality of food, prolonging the shelf life of food, and improving the taste and appearance of food. Emulsifiers are required for the production and processing of almost all foods. Apart from emulsification, emulsifiers also have the characteristics of thickening, stabilizing, and anti-aging.

2. Why Use Emulsifiers in Ice Cream

Emulsifiers have a significant influence on the size and stability of air bubbles in ice cream. The air bubbles have a huge impact on the texture, flavor, and melting characteristics of the ice cream. That is why we need to use specific emulsifiers in ice cream production to ensure the quality of the ice cream. If emulsifiers are used in ice cream, we can produce drier ice cream, giving it a creamy smooth taste and texture, slowing down the melting of the ice cream, and extending its storage time. By choosing the right emulsifiers, manufacturers can produce high-quality, flavorful ice cream. Emulsifiers such as mono- and diglycerides play an important role in this regard.


3. The Role of Emulsifiers in Ice Cream

Emulsifiers have multiple functions in ice cream. According to different production stages, emulsifiers play different roles. In the batching and homogenization stages, emulsifiers can promote fat dispersion and stabilize the emulsion. At the aging stage, it promotes fat agglomeration. In the freezing stage, the emulsifier stimulates fat-protein interactions and controls fat agglomeration. The adhered fat globules are arranged on tiny air bubbles to form a three-dimensional mesh structure, which is a kind of organizational structure that stabilizes the air bubbles, improves the conformability and shelf stability, and imparts a good mouthfeel. These roles played by emulsifiers in ice cream, it is difficult to rely on a single emulsifier to meet. Therefore, manufacturers should be based on the characteristics of various emulsifiers to make complex emulsifiers to better meet the needs of ice cream production.

4. Emulsifiers Commonly Used in Ice Cream


4.1 Glyceryl Monostearate

Glyceryl monostearate emulsifier is obtained by heating esterification of glycerol and stearic acid. According to its purity, it is divided into monoglyceride and molecular distillation monoglyceride. At present, distilled monoglyceride is mostly used in general ice cream production. It is both a water-in-oil (w/o) emulsifier and an oil-in-water (o/w) emulsifier. Distilled monoglyceride is a high-quality and efficient emulsifier that has the functions of emulsification, stabilization, and anti-starch aging.

4.2 Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monooleate

Polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate uses in ice cream are common. It is also called Tween 80 which is a yellow to orange oily liquid with a slight peculiar odor. Tween series products are nonionic surfactants with excellent properties such as emulsification, dispersion, foaming, and wetting. Adding 0.05%-0.1% Tween and mixed monoglyceride compound to the ingredients can make the ice cream texture firm and stable.

4.3 Lecithin

Lecithin is extracted and refined from soybean crude oil. It is a light yellow to brown viscous liquid or a white to light brown solid powder. Lecithin is not only a lipophilic emulsifier, but also a pure natural high-quality emulsifier with strong emulsifying and moistening effects. In ice cream production, emulsifier lecithin e322 is generally used together with other emulsifiers.

5. Synergistic Effect of Emulsifiers

The combined use of distilled monoglyceride and sucrose esters can increase the emulsifying ability by more than 20%, improve the melting resistance of ice cream, and promote its organizational structure. The reasonable combination of Span 60 and Polysorbate 80 can enhance its dispersing and emulsifying capabilities, reduce the amount of emulsifier by 20 to 40%,  and increase the expansion rate and melt resistance of ice cream. Distilled monoglyceride, Span 60, and lecithin can be used in combination to enhance their water-dispersing ability, improve emulsification, enhance foaming capabilities, and optimize the organization of ice cream.

6. Summarize

The option of emulsifier type and the compounding of multiple emulsifiers can greatly affect the flavor and texture of ice cream. As a result, scientific selection of emulsifiers is essential to improve the quality of ice cream. If you want to know more about the price of food ingredients, please feel free to contact us.
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