8.8 ARTIFICIAL CAVIARS
Popularity, high prices and growing demand for caviar type products
as well as uneven distribution of world roe resources stimulated food
scientists and engineers to develop caviar imitations. This 'caviar
imitation' rush started in the USA and Germany at the turn of the
century, but was never successful. The marketing success of artificial
crab legs (kamaboko) made of surimi, confirms that when the imitation
product is processed from natural fish ingredients and the texture,
taste, appearance and chemical composi-tion are close enough to the
original consumers will accept it if the price is right.
During the last 10 years artificial caviar technologies emerged in
Spain, Soviet Union, Japan and Israel. The aim was to imitate the
two most valuable caviar types - sturgeon and salmon. The technological
processes involved are often claimed to be novel and are patented.
However, they are based on well known particle or globule forming
and en-capsulation principles used in the food and pharmaceutical
industries. This trend corre-sponds to the general prediction of scientists,
that towards the end of the century human rations will contain up
to 25% of meat, fish and milk substitutes.
One of the traditional Spanish products, spanning over two thousand
years, is sun-dried grey mullet ovaries. The caviar produced by Hi-tech
machinery in modem Spain is called "Mujjol Shikran" ('Mujjol'
stands for Mullet) and is sold under the trade name "Eurocaviar".
It contains about 40% grey mullet eggs. Other ingredients are herring
and salmon eggs. Both frozen and fresh roe are utilized. Total yearly
production approaches 100 tons with 25% being exported.
The technological steps are mixing the ingredients into a paste,
adding gelatine, adjust-ing viscosity, forming ball like particles
(2-3 mm size) by means of a multinozzle ma-chine, infrared thermotreatment,
curing in flavoured brine, drying to specification, pack-ing and pasteurization.
This product has two specific properties. Firstly, the absence of
artificial dyes, as the grey-blackish colour is achieved naturally
when the particles are thermotreated. Secondly, the product withstands
100°C and can be used in recipes that require caviar to be cooked.
In Russia two types of artificial caviars are processed on an industrial
scale. The trade names are: 'granular red caviar'/ and 'protein caviar'.
The products are consumed within the country. The 'granular red caviar'
is made of salted fish roe and milts, vegetable or fish oil, agar
or gelatine, flavouring substances and carotenoids. It contains up
to 10% protein and 20% fat. If pasteurized it can be stored at -2
to -4°C up to 3 months, otherwise its shelf life is only 15 days.
The technological process flow-chart is shown on Figure 8-15. The
globules formed look similar to natural salmon eggs.
IMMITATION RED CAVIAR (RUSSIA)
Globule (droplet) formation takes place when the pulsating oil j'et
strikes the flowing hot emulsion which constitutes the globule interior.
Encapsulation follows when those emulsion-fat droplets fall into a
cold solution and a film is formed around the droplet.
The 'protein caviar' does not utilize ingredients of fish origin.
It is the ultimate 'artificial caviar'. It uses casein, a variety
of modified proteins, chicken egg yolk, gelatin, tannic substances,
artificial flavours and dyes.
In Japan the trade name for artificial salmon caviar is 'Imitation
Ikura'. The manufac-turer claims a refrigerated shelf life up to 6
months that the product can be consumed with hot dishes.
The technological process flow-chart diagram is shown on Figure 8-16.
The size, taste and colour of each capsule, which has a perfectly
round shape can be regulated to pro-duce imitation 'salmon' or 'sturgeon'
IMMITATION CAVIAR (JAPAN)
Sugar and calcium salt instead of sodium salt are used. Visually
the capsules look amaz-ingly similar to salmon eggs having a distinctive
oily core inside each 'egg'. This tech-nology is ready to provide
artificial caviars on a large industrial scale. Apparently, the market
does not exist yet.
In Israel artificial caviar is called 'Kosher Caviar', to stress
that it is suitable for con-sumption by observant Jews, who do not
consider scaleless sturgeon to be edible fish. The low calorie sturgeon-imitation
caviar utilizes fish, vegetable oil and other natural ingredients.
Artificial colouring is not used. Declared shelflife at refrigerated
tem-peratures is 5 months. Dyed lumpfish caviar and imitation caviar
are shown on Figure 8-17.
FIGURE 8-17: Dyed Lumpfish and Imitation Caviar