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Millac - ulous Mousse: a new concept in desserts.

PRITCHITT FOODS are well-known to the Catering Industry for their extensive range of products. This includes not only powdered milk products (their renowned Millac Brand) and powdered desserts but also a wide range of UHT products such as Comelle Long-Life Ice Cream Mix and Roselle Supreme Non-Dairy Cream.

Over the past twenty years Pritchitt Foods have constantly expanded their UHT manufacturing processes until the now constitute a major portion of the business. To enable this area to continue to grow and develop the Company commits a lot of resource into generating and developing new product ideas which suit the UHT process and fit with their other product lines. Ideas can be suggested from anywhere within the Company. These are regularly discussed at meetings between the Marketing and Technical departments. All ideas are evaluated no matter how unlikely they might initially appear!

For many years Pritchitt Foods have manufactured a powdered dessert product which is reconstituted with water, whipped and allowed to set. Marketing felt that a similar liquid UHT dessert which could be poured, whipped to aerate it

and set would offer much more convenience to the customer. The development team, however, had initial difficulties with this type of concept since it was felt that a product formulated to set would set after processing rather than after whipping from the pack.

At their Factory site in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, the development team run an Alfa Laval Sterilab Pilot Plant. This enables them to run small batches of product under similar conditions to the main UHT processing plant. Initial trials on the mousse-type product did not produce the correct texture. Instead of an aerated mousse-like dessert, the texture was smooth and more like a cream. It also did not set after whipping.

Eventually, however, using different stabiliser blends from various suppliers, the development team produced a UHT mousse.

The product was basically formulated from a cream base and a blend of pectin and gelatine. They found that the resulting product was quite gelatinous at cool temperatures but thin at warm temperatures with a low enough viscosity to be processed through the UHT plant. The product was packed warm contrary to other UHT products which were all packed cold.

Having developed an initial concept the product was submitted to the Marketing department. Their initial objective was to determine product viability and to identify the target market. Many sectors were evaluated including hotels, restaurants, in-flight catering, canteens, state and private education, national and private health. Eventually it was decided to target the mass market convenience and institution sectors. Assessment of the product against market leader powder products in this field had already shown that it scored well in convenience of use, cost-effectiveness and consistency.

During this period of market research the development team, in conjunction with our Home Economist, were continually working on refining the product, deciding on directions for use and developing recipe ideas. Work was also carried out on keeping quality and storage of the product. After many hours of experimenting it was found that the best way to use the mousse was to chill the pack prior to whipping. This gave a mousse with a light aerated texture which set well. Chilling the pack, - however, also resulted in the liquid completely set in the pack. Initial worries that a litre of product set in the pack would prove difficult to handle proved unfounded since the set product was actually more cleanly removed from the carton. It could even be sliced and decorated at this stage as well to give a slightly heavier dessert rather than the whipped mousse.

Having refined the consistency and set of the product, major work was required on flavour. Initial trials had been carried out on chocolate. Marketing decided to launch with two flavours -- chocolate and strawberry. Development of good flavours for UHT products had sometimes proved difficult due to the nature of the treatment. The process works by direct steam injection -- injection of sterile steam into the liquid. The condensed steam is then evaporated off by boiling under vacuum. This process can result in flavour volatiles being driven off leaving the wrong flavour notes in the product. Extensive pilot plant work was therefore carried out to produce an acceptable chocolate and strawberry flavour. These were assessed by taste panels both individually and against other dessert products. After many trials the two flavours were eventually finalised.

The next stage of development was to process the product on the main plant. Although pilot plant work had indicated the main processing conditions for the mousse it was essential to ensure that any problems on the main plant were quickly discovered and ironed out. The major difference for this product was that it required a hot-fill.

During this stage of development, the marketing department continued to assess the product. The name for the product and the artwork for the new pack was finalised. With the artwork completed, the new film was ordered and preparations made for the launch of Millac Dairy Chocolate Mousse and Millac Dairy Strawberry Mousse.

Throughout this period we were getting continuous feedback from the field as our Technical Representatives tested the mousse with -- potential customers. The positive response has confirmed our own optimism for the Millac Dairy Mousse.

With the successful launch of Millac Dairy Chocolate Mousse and Millac Dairy Strawberry Mousse, we are already working on range extensions of both product and pack size.

More information on any of Pritchitt's products can be obtained by contacting Alan Maguire at Pritchitt Foods, Comelle House, Elmfield Road, Bromley, Kent BR1 1LT, tel: 981-464 3399, fax: 081-464 5173.
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Title Annotation:Pritchitt Foods' new product
Author:Ferguson, Judith
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Oct 1, 1992
Previous Article:Dotting the i's.
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