Bakers add value with a variety of nutrients from omega-3s to probiotics.
Product diversification can be difficult at best, but bakers have found a new and healthful way to add value to their products. Functional ingredients give products added nutritional benefits beyond which they were initially intended. The list of functional ingredients is long and includes those that provide nutritional enhancement, fortification or biologically active components that induce positive physiological effects. Functional ingredients include superfruits high in antioxidant potential, vitamins and minerals, prebiotics, probiotics, fiber, whole grains, flax, omega-3s, plant sterols and soy and dairy protein, among others.
Consumers are increasingly searching for ways of improving health and wellness through their diet. Baking Management recognizes the following new product introductions for their ingenuity and ability to provide added value through nutrition and fortification.
Attune® Granola Probiotic Wellness Bars
Attune Foods, San Francisco
While once associated with yogurt, probiotics now are finding application in other product categories, particularly cereals and baked products. Attune Granola Probiotic Wellness Bars, made by San Francisco-based Attune Foods, provides one such example. Flavors include Strawberry Bliss, Wild Berry, Lemon Crème, Mango Peach, Peanut Butter and Chocolate and Chewy Chocolate. Attune's probiotic granola bars are available in the refrigerated yogurt aisle, a first for a granola bar, at more than 4,000 retailers throughout the United States. And, the bars have been well received by consumers, according to the company.
“Attune Foods was founded as a company dedicated to creating great tasting foods that promote health and wellness, so adding functional ingredients was job one when we decided to do a granola bar,” says Rob Hurlbut, C.E.O., Attune Foods. “Our primary focus when rolling out the Attune Probiotic Granola Wellness Bar was to promote digestive health and immunity through the addition of live active cultures.” Attune's granola bars contain three probiotic cultures, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Bifidobacterium lactis.
The granola bars not only contain probiotics, but prebiotics as well. Probiotics' population in the gut can be enhanced by the presence of prebiotics, specific ingredients that serve as food for the probiotics. Examples of prebiotics include inulin, resistant starch, polydextrose, certain lactose derivatives, including lactulose and tagatose, and certain gums including gum acacia, guar gum and pectin. Products that contain both prebiotics and probiotics act symbioticly.
While the granola itself is baked, the bars themselves are not, since the source of probiotics Attune uses in its granola bars is temperature sensitive. “This exemplifies the care and thought required in the manufacturing process to ensure the functional ingredient remains viable and effective for consumers throughout the shelf life of the product,” Hurlbut says.
Isabella's Functional Muffins
Isabella's Healthy Bakery, a div. of Main Street Gourmet, Akron, Ohio
Although functional beverages have proliferated supermarket aisles for several years now, Isabella's Functional Muffins are one of the first of its kind to hit the baking industry. Isabella's line of functional muffins includes Optimize, an antioxidant-rich variety; Activate, a probiotic fortified muffin; and Revitalize, a peanut butter and chocolate chip muffin containing energy-boosting compounds.
Optimize is made with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries; açai and pomegranate extract; and further enriched with antioxidant vitamins C and E. This antioxidant-rich muffin reportedly helps prevent cell destruction by inactivating free radicals, and improves immunity and heart health.
Activate is a raisin bran muffin made with GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086), a highly survivable probiotic that supports digestive health. GanedenBC30 is a patented probiotic produced by Mayfield, Ohio-based Ganeden Biotech. According to Ganeden Biotech, the bacteria not only survive harsh manufacturing processes, but deliver 10 times the live cells as yogurt.
The third muffin in the line — Revitalize — contains added vitamins B6 and B12, and energy-boosting compounds, such as guarana, taurine and inositol, to further increase energy, support cellular regeneration and promote healthy organ systems, including the nervous system and skin.
Isabella's has faced several challenges when formulating its functional muffins, including “honing in on levels of probiotic to use in the muffin application; achieving an all natural status with sufficient shelf life; achieving great texture and flavor despite all the vitamin fortification, high fiber, etc.; and sourcing relatively obscure ingredients,” says Monica Curtis, president, Isabella's Healthy Bakery.
Still, the bakery seems to have overcome these obstacles, as consumer feedback has been positive. Isabella's plans to launch major campaigns in January as part of a health and wellness initiative, Curtis notes.
Dempster's Smart 100% Whole Grain Wheat Bread with life'sDHA™Canada Bread Co. Ltd., Toronto and
Wonder+ Headstart 100% Whole Wheat Bread with MEG-3® Omega-3 DHA/EPA
Weston Bakeries, Toronto
Two bakeries launched bread made with omega-3s during the past year, yet the source of these beneficial fatty acids used in each product is quite different. Canada Bread Co. Ltd. introduced Dempster's Smart™ 100% Whole Grain Wheat bread with life'sDHA™, a patented, sustainable and vegetarian source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), produced by Martek Biosciences Corp., Columbia, Md.
Fish that consume DHA-rich microalgae are generally considered a good source of omega-3s; however, life'sDHA derives its source directly from microalgae.
DHA is a long-chain, omega-3 fatty acid that supports brain, eye and cardiovascular development during childhood and throughout life.
Aside from DHA, Dempster's Smart 100% Whole Grain Wheat Bread also provides 13 essential nutrients and 4 g of fiber per two-slice serving.
Weston Bakeries Ltd. introduced Wonder+ Headstart 100% Whole Wheat Bread with Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd.'s MEG-3® brand omega-3 DHA and EPA ingredient. DHA and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) have been scientifically linked to maintaining healthy brain function, visual acuity and supporting cardiovascular health.
“Canadian adults are consuming an average of only 130 mg per day of DHA plus EPA in their diet,” says Bruce Holub, Ph.D., professor, Human Health and Nutritional Science, University of Guelph, Ontario. And, children, aged two to three years are averaging only 19 mg of DHA and 10 mg of EPA daily, according to Holub. Dieticians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association have recently recommended 500 mg of omega-3 DHA plus EPA per day for adults.
“The addition of MEG-3 brand omega-3 ingredient into our launch of Wonder+ Headstart is important because it contains both DHA and EPA. We chose MEG-3 ingredients and have put the distinctive MEG-3 logo on our packaging because we want consumers to know they are getting the best source of omega-3 in Wonder + Headstart,” said Craig Hutchison, vice president, marketing and sales, Weston Bakeries.
Sara Lee's Wholesome Indulgence Bakery Bars
Sara Lee, Downers Grove, Ill.
Wholesome Indulgence Bakery Bars, introduced by Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sara Lee, allow in-store bakeries nationwide to leverage the growing healthful breakfast and snack segments. Each 2.5-oz. serving provides 3 g dietary fiber, 7 g protein, 300 calories or less, 7 g fat or less, 0 g trans fat and is a good source of calcium. Flavors include cranberry almond, maple apple pecan and mocha latte.
“We added functional ingredients to meet increasing consumer demand for healthier breakfast and snack options,” says Catherine Porter, marketing manager, Sara Lee In-Store Bakery. Formulating the bakery bars with a high amount of protein, lower fat, high fiber and a good source of calcium presented challenges for the bakery's product development team. The selection of high quality ingredients in combination with extensive testing resulted in an optimized solution that helped overcome those difficulties, Porter notes.
Though the products have just launched, Sara Lee expects a strong positive response. “Taste is king with consumers. We are past the days of sacrificing taste for function and bakery products still need to taste indulgent. Finding the right formulas to meet both needs is the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity,” Porter says.
Consumers are responding to health and wellness products, such as those made with functional ingredients, as they become increasingly aware of the relationship between diet and health. As such, Baking Management salutes those bakeries that responded to consumer demand for healthier options.