Bread Fortification Capitalizes on Health Trends

Today, consumers want more from their food. Beyond convenience, freshness and great taste and texture, a rising number of people are looking for better-for-you options, including baked goods, with high nutrient content. The fortification of baked goods therefore offers a clear opportunity for brands in the baking industry to differentiate their offering and create on-trend, nutritious products that meet consumer expectations.

Already there before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers’ attraction to health and well-being in food and beverages has accelerated since, with a focus on immunity. And the trend is broader than just physical health – it’s all about mental health, mood, and well-being. Consumers learned that what they eat naturally reflects on how their health is.

The ingredients specialists we reached out to for this feature agree that it is impossible not to see the turbulence of 2020 continuing to influence bakery choices this year. Key trends that we see impacting the sector include the continuation of comfort eating, the move towards snacking that supports consumers looking to balance indulgence, health and energy levels and an increasing demand for transparent labels.

Micronutrients

Judith van Peij, innovation manager baking, DSM Food Specialties explains that there are a number of considerations for manufacturers when fortifying baked goods, including the interaction between micronutrients and the rheological and sensory properties of products. While adding nutritional ingredients, such as omega-3s and vitamins, to baked goods does not typically change the rheological profile of applications, recipe adjustments like water correction may be advised in some cases where ingredients are added in powder form. 

“The fortification process also presents a range of sensory challenges for producers, depending on the nutrients used. For example, vitamin D fortification has no impact on the flavor and mouthfeel of baked goods, but omega-3 oils available on the market may cause fishy off-flavor notes that can impact the sensory profile of applications due to processing and interaction with other ingredients. Moreover, fatty acids and vitamins can lose potency during production or across shelf life, and some nutritional ingredients, like vitamin D, are sensitive to light exposure and may lose potency during heating,” she points out.

According to the same source, the latest ingredient technologies in this space — including DSM’s fish oil-derived MEG-3®, algae-sourced life’s™ OMEGA omega-3 solutions, Dry Vitamin D3 100 CWS/AM and vitamin premixes — can help brands overcome these obstacles to formulate consumer-centric, nutrient-enriched baked goods. Available in oil and powder formats, these solutions have no significant impact on taste, texture or appearance, even when used in combination with other ingredients. They have also been shown to have good heat and process stability, meaning they can withstand mixing and maintain efficacy during production and across products’ shelf lives. This helps manufacturers achieve the requirements for adding nutritional claims to product labels. 

An ingredients producer whose portfolio includes a wide variety of plant-based texturates and legume-based protein flours is Good Mills. Jürgen Senneka, head of product development & application and Jutta Schock, head of marketing at GoodMills Innovation GmbH, shared with us how their products can support consumers follow an adequate protein diet to achieve their fitness and health goals.

“Providing a huge variety of fiber-packed grain ingredients, we can cover the whole range of baked goods – from bread to pastry. When it comes to boosting the immune system, our GOOD Fibers 10+1 high-fiber compound is especially relevant – and it even allows for EU health claims related to the immune system and intestinal health, when used in sufficient quantities. 

GOOD Fibers 10+1 works on the basis that providing valuable food for the body’s intestinal flora is key to a healthy immune system, so it comprises ten different fiber sources, including cereals, vegetables and fruits. It is also rich in wheat germ, a natural superfood that delivers important nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin E and spermidine,” the specialists commented.

Reformulation Challenges

When recipes are altered to deliver better nutritional profiles, consumers will sometimes notice differences. With salt reduction, for example, there can be a loss of flavor. But if consumers are willing to change their habits to benefit their health, there could be great potential here.

Ancient grains can also make a difference to the taste and texture of finished products. For example, some grains have a more intense taste profile than conventional wheats, so they are not suitable for applications such as soft brioches. But consumers who choose products baked with traditional grains have different expectations. They often are looking for different taste experiences and for a more original taste that underlines their demand to make a “good decision” with the food they choose. 

In Europe, the NDP process has been shifting towards nutritional enhancement over the past few years. The major driver of reformulation is the Nutri-Score front-of-pack labeling scheme, which increases consumer awareness of the nutritional quality of food products by scoring them on a scale of A to E, based on the content of fruits and vegetables, fiber, protein, energy, sugars, saturated fatty acids, and sodium. Consumers can compare at a glance the nutritional value of two similar products.

“Manufacturers adopt a variety of different strategies in response: reformulate their main brand along healthier lines or keep the original but develop an alternative one offering a healthier alternative, for instance, 30% less sugars,” explains Eva Esparza, area market manager for ingredients producer Roquette. “In the end, the aim is to improve nutritional value while keeping product quality and enjoyment,” she says, adding that the use of their NUTRIOSE® soluble fibers and NUTRALYS® plant proteins doesn’t require changes in the manufacturing process.

In the plant protein space, Cargill also has an extensive offer, with PURIS® and RadiPure™ pea protein, Gluvital® vital wheat gluten and Prowliz® hydrolyzed wheat protein. Their portfolio includes other ingredients to improve nutritional profiles, including maltodextrins functioning as bulking agents in sugar-reduced products, and access to a full range of soluble fibers.

“Especially in the bakery space, we try to blend these ingredients for enhanced functionality, enabling us to achieve optimal baked properties, in terms of taste and texture. As plant proteins are on the rise, and especially pulses are proving popular, we have recently completed a number of successful prototypes in savory crackers, sweet biscuits, cake, muffins and whole wheat bread, all with pea protein enrichment,” says Yves Timmermans, Cargill’s business development manager, Proteins & Bakery. “At the same time, there remains an ongoing major trend towards sugar reduction on the back of pressure from regulators. Sugar reduction is harder to achieve in bakery than some other categories like beverages, and generally requires functional ingredients such as fibers to be used. Further, the trends towards salt and saturated fat reduction remain ongoing too, leading a number of players to shift focus to overall nutritional improvement, aiming to improve the Nutri-score front of pack labeling,” adds Timmermans.

You can read the rest of this article in the January/February Issue of European Baker & Biscuit magazine, which you can access by clicking here.

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