As consumers become more health conscious, their concerns have expanded beyond just cutting calories, with a greater focus on holistic wellness. In addition to what is being taken away, consumers are more aware of the functional benefits that are added to their choices.
“There is a growing demand for products offering functional health benefits, including prebiotics, probiotics and proteins” Olivier Kutz, bakery category manager for Europe at Tate & Lyle, told this site.
âAlthough these may be present naturally in some products, we are increasingly starting to see formulations enriched with functional ingredients, which means that there is now a wider range of products with functional claims. “
Tate & Lyle’s recent report on the European bakery industry – which surveyed 400 senior bakery industry professionals in Germany, France, Spain and the UK – found that 51% of people respondents said consumers are now turning to baked goodies that offer additional nutritional benefits.
“As such, manufacturers have the opportunity to increase their sales if they are successful in innovating and providing new formulations of consumer-preferred products that also offer some of the additional health claims they seek.” Kutz added.
However, simply adding functional ingredients to a baked product is easier said than done, and manufacturers will face many technical hurdles. Functional ingredients – while adding a healthier feel-good dimension – also tend to affect the taste, color, texture and mouth feel of the end result.
As consumers seek more products with that added benefit, taste remains the most important factor, Kutz said.
âThis should definitely be the number one concern for manufacturers. It’s important to make sure that all of the functional ingredients they use to enrich their products taste clean and can help maintain color and texture as well.
Functional ingredients come in many forms and appearances, but Tate & Lyle has found that consumers are particularly interested in boosting their intake of protein and fiber.
“We have seen an increasing demand for protein in a range of different categories,”Kutz said, noting that protein helps in the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, so protein-enriched products are a popular choice for the active set.
âThis represents a significant opportunity for bakery and pastry manufacturers to tap into and meet this growing consumer demand for foods high in protein but still classified as forgiving, particularly snack bars.
âIn Europe, innovation has continued to grow in the cookie category, with manufacturers responding to consumer demand for healthier, protein-enriched options, [according to Mintel GNPD]. “
âAs demand increases, more products will be able to offer protein-enriched claims. “
He added that Tate & Lyle has developed a range of systems that can be used as a source of protein in a multitude of different formulations, ensuring the stability of the cooking process and helping manufacturers ensure that quality is maintained.
The evolution of plant proteins, in particular, has accelerated over the past two years and there are more options available on the market today than ever before.
While exploiting the growing consumer need for clean label and natural ingredients, these proteins can also be used to provide different technological functions. For example, the egg is an essential component of baked goods, especially in terms of structure, gloss and gloss. Today, however, producers have developed a variety of protein solutions that deliver egg parity – and even dairy – to meet the plant-based criteria for the baked treat, while maintaining taste and texture.
Fiber is increasingly recognized for its fundamental role in digestive health – however, âWe know that the majority of Britons are still not getting the recommended daily amount of fiber.
“This is where fiber fortification can play an important role, helping people increase their fiber intake without having to make significant changes to their diet or compromise on their favorite foods.” Kutz said.
âWhole grains, like those found in wholemeal bread, are a good natural source of fiber, but we also know that some consumers – especially children – prefer white bread.
âAs such, we have worked with our customers to fortify white breads with up to 12% fiber using soluble fiber in tandem with our line of stabilizers and functional systems. “
Like the protein option, Tate & Lyle offers a variety of solutions that will help manufacturers add fortified fiber to their baked goods without affecting taste or texture; in fact, also helping to enhance mouthfeel in reduced sugar products.
âHealth considerations will only become even more important, with people paying more attention to their health during the pandemic. As such, there is a real opportunity for manufacturers to increase their sales if they can find the right formula that balances quality with the functional benefits that consumers seek â,Kutz said.