Ulrick & Short launches clean-label egg white alternative for plant-based meringues

Ulrick & Short has launched a new clean-label ingredient aimed at replacing the functionality of egg whites in meringues.

The UK plant-based bakery sector is going through a period of rapid growth, with product launches featuring a “vegan” or “plant-based” claim growing 28.55% year on year (CAGR) [Innova Market Insights].  Meanwhile, European egg prices have skyrocketed 69.3% in 12 months [European Egg Processor Association- November 2021-2022] because of an avian flu outbreak and rising energy and feed costs.

The new ingredient, called ovaprox 14, is a complete functional egg replacer for various sweet-bakery applications – most notably in meringues. ovaprox 14 has been specifically designed to behave very similar to egg white in a meringue application – it aerates when whisked to create a stable foam, ultimately providing a good internal structure, and a crisp eat throughout shelf life similar to conventional egg-based meringue recipes.

Additionally, ovaprox 14 is a functional egg alternative in other sweet baked goods, such as muffins & sponges. It provides not just the volume rise within the product, but also a good and consistent crumb structure. As well as being plant-based, ovaprox 14 is clean-label, using only the natural functionality from its crop bases & therefore having a transparent and consumer friendly back-of-pack declaration.

Tom Bull – Ulrick & Short NPD technologist & developer of ovaprox 14, said the challenge in replicating the function of egg in a meringue lies in the fact that egg white proteins can be denatured quite easily, simply by using mechanical force such as a whisk.

“By whisking and thus unfolding the protein, you expose the long chain of amino acids that makes up a protein,” Bull said. “The unfolded protein chain arranges itself in such a way the proteins lie on the interface between water and air, stabilizing air bubbles within the water & providing the stable foam needed for a meringue.”

Bull added: “ovaprox 14 was designed with this specific development challenge in mind – we’ve managed to create a genuine plant-based alternative using our clean-label proteins. It produces a stable foam when whisked, and very closely replicates the structure, bite, and mouthfeel of egg-based meringues. Indulgent plant-based bakery is growing, and we’re confident this new ingredient will move the sector on even further.”

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