In order to improve the perception of its long-life pestos – from “pesto alla genovese” with basil to the ones based on tomato or other vegetables – Italian leading company Barilla has undertaken a path of innovation that has resulted in an international patent. The document was made public this year by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The problem to be solved is well known among long-shelf-life pestos producers. It is the tendency of the watery and oily parts of the ingredients to separate over time, causing an unpleasant effect on the eye. For example, it is common experience among consumers to find jars of basil pesto with the oil completely outcropped and divided by the vegetable part.
A PESTO SUITABLE FOR VEGANS AND INTOLERANTS
Typically, producers try to overcome the problem using emulsifiers such as egg yolk or milk derivatives. The first, however, is unsuitable for traditional Italian recipes such as “pesto alla genovese”, while the latter are unsuitable for vegans and all consumers affected by lactose intolerances.
“These ingredients are negatively perceived by consumers, who are increasingly attentive and worried about the healthiness and genuineness of ingredients used for industrial foods” writes Barilla in its notes to the new patent. The company has taken the commitment to improve its range of pestos, which are distributed all over the world – starting from the United States – also taking into account these parameters. They are considered as important as the perception of freshness and genuineness, which, however, must be ensured without the use of preservatives.
GREEN LIGHT TO RAPESEED, HEMP, SUNFLOWER AND LUPINES
The solution has come along with the development of a “protein concentrate”, the heart of the patent, derived from oil seeds such as rapeseed, sunflower, hemp, flax or legume seeds – especially lupin seeds. It is able to “emulsify water and water-soluble substances dissolved in it”. Moreover, it also “effectively stabilizes the consistency and viscosity of the emulsified fluid” Barilla explains, pointing out that “the protein concentrate has proved particularly effective in stabilizing the structure of the product during its shelf-life, especially during handling and transport operations”. This type of protein concentrate also satisfies the other goals that the company has set: a formulation that be respectful of Italian recipes, suitable for lactose intolerants and vegans, without added preservatives.