An ingredient functionality approach to shelf–life extension of foods
Baked products and other starch–based foods undergo undesirable changes after production that result in changes in their physical or textural properties. This can lead to increased firmness of products such as bread and cakes, as well as syneresis in chilled dairy products and sauces. The result is loss in eating quality and the products being considered unfit for purpose and discarded. This is a wasteful process, not just in terms of the raw materials used, but also in the energy spent on manufacturing the product in the first place.
Extension of shelf–life has a considerable economic advantage. Changes in starch are considered to be responsible for firming and other changes in bread crumb during storage. This can vary depending on the starch types used. Storage temperature is also important, particularly for chill storage, where recrystallisation of starches can lead to a rapid increase in firmness and also in the amount of water separation in chilled ready meals containing starch–based sauces. This project will focus on the functionality and interaction of starches with other flour components and ingredients in a range of products, in order to get a better understanding of factors leading to staling, and develop strategies to counter these changes.