Nuts provide the ideal formulation tool for high-volume bakers who want to add appeal to their bakery foods. These delicious ingredients accomplish many tasks in baking, from enhancing the visual appeal of muffins to boosting the price points of breads and rolls.
Nuts have been used in the baking industry for ages to improve the tastes and appearances of bakery foods. Today, these ingredients also are used to improve the health attributes of bakery foods. This one-two punch provides enough persuasion for bakers to incorporate nuts into their formulas.
In 2003, Food and Drug Administration approved a qualified health claim promoting the relationship between nut consumption and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The claim states, “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ozs. per day of most nuts [such as name of specific nut] as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
The health claim applies to almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts. Bakery foods must contain at least 11 grams of whole or chopped nuts per reference amount customarily consumed (RACC) to qualify for the health claim. Additional restrictions per RACC include less than 13 grams of total fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 60 mgs of cholesterol and 480 mgs of sodium. Bakery foods bearing this claim also must meet the definition of a low saturated fat food and a low cholesterol food.
These guidelines and restrictions prohibit many bakers from pursuing the health claim for bakery foods that contain nuts. However, the publicity this claim garnered, plus general publicity about nuts’ healthful attributes, provides ample opportunities for bakers to capitalize on nuts’ healthful benefits.
All nuts are good sources of healthful unsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels, and contain other beneficial nutrients such as vitamin E, fiber, selenium, copper, magnesium, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids.
These benefits make nuts an ideal source to boost the health properties of bakery foods. Even more important, nuts provide the ideal cosmetic and taste characteristics for many bakery foods, including muffins, pies, breads, rolls and pastries. This combination of health and indulgence allows high-volume bakers to formulate great tasting products that possess healthful properties.
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