Developments in the science of probiotics have given bakers new options in what, for the baking industry, has been a tough nut to crack.
The baking industry and consumers alike have grown familiar with probiotics, thanks in no small part to Jamie Lee Curtis and other yogurt advertising campaigns touting their digestive benefits. While consumers are not yet specifically demanding probiotics, there is a continued push for healthful baked products, and probiotics round out a baked products’ healthful appeal.
NEW FORMULATIONS TEAR DOWN OBSTACLES
Ganeden Biotech, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, is on the leading edge of probiotics in the baking industry. “We launched a new blend of Ganeden- BC30®, which is very exciting and has opened up the floodgates for all types of baking companies,” Mike Bush, vice president of business development, says. “We offer a coated material just to keep the probiotic away from moisture. When we ship GanedenBC30 to a customer, it is in its spore state, or in other words, it is dormant. The probiotic then germinates in the human body only after consumers eat the finished product.”
In this new technology, the health benefits can remain intact throughout the proofing process and remain dormant. Certain blends of GanedenBC30 were specifically developed for food producers and can withstand high heat, freezing, mechanical stress, high pressure and long-term storage.
Even with the coated material, Bush notes that using the product in standard baking operations requires extra care. “We ask our customers to mix the material as gently as possible and that the probiotic is put into the product as late as possible within the manufacturing process, but other than that, nothing really changes for the manufacturer. In most cases, customers simply put GanedenBC30 in with all the other dry ingredients and follow the exact same steps within their process. It really depends on the product, the company and how they want to add the probiotic to the process,” he says. “Our goal is for them to be able to treat probiotics like any other dry ingredient.”
On the other side of the coin, companies such as Danisco USA, Madison, Wis., is pursuing avenues in the development of probiotics that don’t follow the spore format. Peggy Steele, the company’s health and nutrition global business director, says that two key challenges must be overcome when adding pure probiotics to bakery products–heat and water activity.
“Probiotics must be added following the baking step, as they are sensitive to the high temperatures reached during this process. Secondly, targeting bakery products with low water activity (less than 0.20) is also essential for success. With current technology, intermediate-moisture bakery items are out of reach for most probiotic additions. Danisco has focused on long-term activities to develop probiotics that can be assimilated into a broader base of baking applications,” she adds.
While this path of using non-sporeforming probiotics in baked products can be challenging, Steele notes that there are success stories in applications including low-moisture-activity cereals and cookies and crackers with and without fillings.
San Francisco-based Attune Foods launched a series of probiotic granola bars containing 6 billion active cultures of Danisco’s HOWARU® Premium Probiotics per bar. is company overcame stability challenges by selling their products in the refrigerator case rather than on the shelf. This not only ensures the probiotics deliver as promised but also creates a unique brand niche differentiation for specialty granola bars.
“Danisco is committed to delivering probiotics with clinically proven health benefits. We take every aspect of doing good science as a basis for our work very seriously. Recently, Nutrition Business Journal bestowed Danisco with a scientific achievement award for its range of HOWARU® Premium Probiotics. This clearly demonstrates Danisco’s credentials as a leader in the development of the scientific documentation required by today’s food and dietary supplements industries.”
NEW TO THE MARKET
One bakery that has taken advantage of GanedenBC30 and made quite a splash is Orlando Baking Co., based in Cleveland. “It’s the biggest launch that they’ve ever had, and it has pulled in inquiries for us from everywhere around the globe. It’s a good-tasting bread line that off ers advanced health benefits. It’s opening up the door for other bakers to do the same,” Bush says.
This is the result of a two-year developmental process between Orlando and Ganeden incorporating GanedenBC30. The line of probiotic breads are also kosher certified and retail for $3.99 a loaf.
One of the more innovative forays probiotics have made into baked products is the Naked Pizza franchiser, New Orleans, featuring a probiotic pizza crust–what they call a “Superbiotic Pizza.” This one-of-a-kind product, fortified with GanedenBC30, also features a special dough mix including more than 10 seeds and grains. The pizza promotes digestive health and balance by stimulating the normal, beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and also includes special ingredients for bone health, weight management and enhanced glycemic response for diabetics.
One of the earliest adopters of GanedenBC30, Main Street Gourmet, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, uses it in their Isabella’s Healthy Bakery brand muffins. Their Activate probiotic-fortified muffins are also enhanced with nutrients. The company saw early on that with so much attention starting to focus on digestive health, creating a probiotic muffin made sense.
As with the addition of any other ingredient, the inclusion of probiotics adds to the cost of the finished product. This can range from less than a cent to several cents per serving, depending on serving size and the product being used. Increased ingredient cost on average is about 20 percent, but, as Bush notes, the addition of probiotics allows a baker to charge a premium price. “It all depends on the product and the market they are selling to,” he says. “Let me put it this way–we don’t have any customers complaining. If they were not seeing a good profit, they would not come back for more.”
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A GROWING MARKET
Steele says probiotics have an emerging role in improving human health. “For an example, we have recently published a clinical study in Pediatrics that showed an 80 percent reduction in antibiotic use during the cold and flu season in children in daycare who consumed HOWARU Premium Probiotics. Danisco is at the forefront of the probiotic revolution. Our HOWARU Premium Probiotic range with a condition-specific approach for health is an example of this dedication.”
While the new Orlando rollout stimulated inquiries from baking companies, Ganeden receives global inquiries on a steady basis. The company is diverse and supports customers by developing web sites for any market. “We are currently translating web sites into Romanian for a customer so their consumers can read all about the benefits of probiotics. We have done the same for our Spanish- and Italian-speaking accounts. We want to help our customers clearly explain the benefits of probiotics, what they are and what they do,” Bush says. To illustrate consumers’ increasing acceptance of probiotics, just look at how pervasive they are becoming in supermarket aisles. “To date, Ganeden has sold just a little under 700 million doses of our consumer products, and in the last year and a half, we’ve sold over 300 million servings of food.”