FROZEN CUSTARD RESEARCH STUDY
Frozen custard may be a small niche in the larger frozen dessert category, but sales are growing at an astonishing rate. According to Nielsen, total frozen custard sales increased 134 percent from 2015 to 2016 (Watson 2016). FDA mandates under its regulations for standard of identity that frozen custard contain no less than 1.4 percent egg yolk solids. However, some companies have experimented with egg replacements. For this research, the team made frozen custard samples, comparing the industry standard version made with frozen sugared egg yolk to frozen custard samples made with egg replacement ingredients.
The sensory evaluation results from panelists on the organoleptic attributes of the frozen custard tested were generally consistent with the findings of the objective analytical test results. Overall, not a single egg replacement product performed as well as or better than real eggs in all attributes assessed, with color and flavor targets being the most difficult attributes to match. Changes in product quality from the reduction or removal of egg products in frozen custard are slight but noticeable.
The areas of frozen custard quality most negatively affected when eggs were removed and/or replaced included viscosity, overrun, color, texture, flavor and overall impression.
Frozen Custard Visual Comparison
Made with REAL EGGS
Made with EGG REPLACERS*
For this study, eggs were reduced and/or removed from a frozen custard formula and substituted with products marketed as egg replacing ingredients for food manufacturers. The team followed manufacturers’ suggested usage levels for the egg substitutes in frozen custard, ranging from 50 to 100 percent. The research team then conducted common analytical tests and sensory panelists evaluated organoleptic properties of the finished samples.
The research team selected seven egg replacer ingredients, including:
- Starch-based blend
- Whey protein concentrate
- Algae-based blend
- Blends (comprised of various ingredients and additives)
The first step in frozen custard production involved blending the ingredients together until homogeneous to form the custard base. Before freezing, frozen custard bases should be heated to eliminate pathogens and render the product safe for human consumption, a process known as pasteurization. This step also cooks the egg yolks, during which they coagulate and serve to thicken the custard base.
Both the frozen custard base and the prepared frozen custard were analyzed using industry standard, category-specific tests. Frozen custards were all prepared in the same condition, on the same equipment, on the same day. Custard base analytical tests were performed before churning, while tests performed on the finished product were done after churning and hardening for a period of 8 to 12 hours.
The frozen custard base and finished frozen custard were tested for the following as appropriate:Analytical Tests:
- Base viscosity
*This photo represents only 1 of 7 egg replacer products.