Frito-Lay files patent for shelf-stable probiotic yogurt chips

Picture: istockphoto-karisssa

Frito-Lay has developed a method to make chips containing high amounts of yogurt and live probiotics that can be sold in the shelf-stable snacks aisle.

The PepsiCo division said its chips contained up to 20% of dehydrated yogurt - a “popular, nutrient-dense food” that few shelf-stable snack foods could provide.

“There is a need for more snack foods that contain high amounts of yogurt without comprising taste, texture, or appearance,” Frito-Lay wrote in its patent filing filed back in July 2015 and published in February, this year.

“… There is a further need for shelf-stable snack foods capable of delivering high amounts of yogurt without the need for refrigeration of the snack foods.”

It said the yogurt chips had a shelf life of at least one month but could potentially be stored for up to nine months, with no impact on taste, texture or quality.

Probiotic promise

The starch-based chips, made without yeast, could contain several inclusions such as dried fruit, vegetable powders, nuts and chocolate to provide “appealing color, variable taste, or variable texture to the final products,” Frito-Lay said. Live probiotics could also be added.

The probiotics, it said, could be incorporated in two ways – directly into the dough mix in spore form or microencapsulated, or as a topical powder blended into seasonings.

If introducing probiotics into the pre-blending step, Frito-Lay said reduced oven temperatures were vital in increasing survivability of the probiotics, while heat-stable strains were also desirable.

Alternatively, it was possible to counteract losses by adding more probiotics into the mix. “During test runs, an increase of about 32% probiotics in the dough increased survivability of the probiotics in the finished product by about 20%.”

Frito-Lay said the probiotics could be added at an inclusion rate that allowed for a desired colony forming units per serving, such as 500 million or 1 billion in the final product.

Yogurt hurdles

Beyond adjusting processing methods to protect probiotics, Frito-Lay said each step had to be considered because of the yogurt component.

Ensuring the product mixed well and could be sheeted, shaped and transported was the biggest challenge, it said, given the known issues around processing when working with high protein and sugar levels typical of yogurt.

These higher levels, it said, created a stickier dough that was difficult to process and the extra protein also meant moisture was retained in the dough which could cause overbrowning or overexpanding.

However, Frito-Lay said enzymes could be added to the dough to break down the molecules in the wheat flour that reduced stickiness and strengthened the dough.

“Any number of enzymes that hyrolyze or breakdown molecules present in wheat flour to allow for better handling of the dough may be used.”

Baking at low temperatures (between 315° F and 415 ° F) with increased airflow was also helpful, Frito-Lay said, as well as extending drying times to as long as 30 minutes, if needed.

The firm said a number of different snack products could be made using the above methods and dough.

Source: WIPO Publication No. 20170027193
Published: February 2, 2017. Filed: July 31, 2015.
Title: “Yogurt Crisp and Method for Making Same”
Authors: Frito-Lay North America - DJ. Diermeier, P. Faa and E. Wilson 

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