Insight: how lecithin chills your plant-based ice-cream | Bunge Loders Croklaan
Back to overview
Insight: how lecithin chills your plant-based ice-cream
July 05, 2023
Bringing plant-based ice cream to a higher level

Plant-based ice cream is a delicious frozen treat for the growing number of consumers who want less industrial, more animal-friendly and clean label desserts with a better nutritional profile. In general, soybean and faba bean provide the protein content in non-dairy ice cream, and shea or coconut oil provide the fat structure, but emulsifiers are needed to promote fat destabilization and influence texture and melting properties. Monoglycerides and diglycerides are the emulsifiers commonly used in ice cream and other food applications, but these ingredients are semi-synthetic and therefore not preferred in plant-based formulations. As a natural emulsifier, lecithin is a much better alternative in terms of clean label requirements.

Testing lecithin in plant-based ice cream

Fine-tuning melting behavior
Different types of ice cream require different types of melting behavior. In tests, we showed that BungeMaxx Lecithin can be used to control melting resistance.

Figure 1: Melting resistance of plant-based ice cream as indicated by weight loss [%] as a function of time [min] in the absence (control = green) and presence of lecithin (Dosage A = orange and Dosage B = yellow).


Significant improvement in sensory experience

Because we understand melting resistance and how different ingredients interact, we can advise you on recipes for all types of plant-based ice cream. So whether you're manufacturing extruded, single-serve, soft-serve or family-pack molded ice cream, our experts can help you achieve just the right level of melting for your product.

Controlling sensory experience

The indulgent feel of ice cream is partly influenced by the level of coldness in the mouth. This is related to the amount of heat absorbed from the ice cream by the mouth, and hence to the product's ice content and thermal properties. With lecithin in your recipe, you can create a pleasant coldness that isn't too cold or too warm.

Appearance and flavor

The color and taste of lecithin can be seen as a challenge in delicately flavored and light colored products like vanilla ice cream. To test this, we commissioned a sensory evaluation that measured the color, off-taste and vanilla flavor of plant-based ice cream with different inclusion levels of lecithin. The results showed that at lower inclusion levels of lecithin, plant-based ice cream is interchangeable with the control (without lecithin) since the samples didn’t have any significant differences in the various sensory attributes. An impact on color was only perceived at higher dosage levels. With our expertise, we can advise you on the right dosage to benefit from all the positive effects of lecithin without impacting taste and color.

Figure 2: Intensity scores (Average + SE) of plant-based ice cream with a lower dosage of lecithin (green) and higher dosage level of lecithin (orange) as evaluated by a trained panel (n=12). The yellow line on the zero axis indicates the reference, without lecithin in the recipe. Plant-based ice cream containing lecithin is compared to the reference.

Expert advice

Through scientific research like this, Bunge Loders Croklaan constantly develops its understanding of the inter-relationships between chemical composition, functional properties and technological performance of lecithin in ice cream. That's why you can always rely on us for the latest insights and knowledge. Call on our team for up-to-date advice.

More lecithin insights

Contact our team
Our lecithin offering