What are nutraceuticals?
There are countless definitions for the word "nutraceutical." In the food industry, nutraceuticals generally are ingredients added to bakery food formulas for the sole purpose of improving a product's health attributes.
Do nutraceuticals play a functional role in bakery food formulas?
Most of them do not, but that is a good thing. These ingredients are meant to be added without imparting any texture, color or flavor characteristics on a finished product. For the most part, the sole responsibility of a nutraceutical is to make a product more healthful.
But aren't bakery foods already healthful?
Yes. Nutraceuticals function to amplify the health properties of bakery foods.
Are nutraceuticals new to the industry?
Quite the opposite. Nutraceuticals have been used in the baking industry for a long time. However, they were not called nutraceuticals until recently. The concept of nutraceuticals first entered the baking industry in 1943 when the U.S. government required the enrichment of some flours with B vitamins. The goal of this program was to reduce deficiency diseases. More recently, the government required the fortification of enriched breads with folic acid.
If nutraceuticals have been used for so long, why is there a lot of buzz on the topic now?
America's obsession with health has upped the ante for many healthful ingredients in the baking industry. Obviously, the rise of whole grain breads and high fiber breads are part of this, but many bakers are looking for ways to attract new consumers by appealing to specific health attributes.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most popular nutraceuticals in the baking industry today. For years, this healthful property was found in bakery foods that contain flaxseed. More recently, bakers have sought to include omega-3 fatty acids in their products without significantly changing their formulas. They can do this by using small amounts of fish oils in their batches. These fish oils are available in many forms, including microencapsulated powders and highly refined oils.
Bakers actually are putting fish oils in their products?
Yes. Wegmans Food Markets and Arnolds Foods have breads that contain omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils.
What other types of nutraceuticals are available?
There are too many to list. In the baking industry, many ingredient suppliers are promoting probiotics, prebiotics, choline, lutein and other vitamin and mineral premixes.
Are consumers really seeking products with these ingredients?
The most important thing to understand about nutraceuticals is their reach. Not all consumers are seeking products fortified with ingredients that improve eye health. However, some of them are. Any product designed to improve a specific health attribute must be approached like a niche, and not like a product with nationwide appeal.
Are nutraceuticals easy to incorporate into bakery food formulas?
Generally, nutraceuticals are designed to be added at low levels into a formula, therefore minimally impacting the finished product. However, bakers should always work closely with suppliers to ensure that a nutraceutical does not affect the characteristics of a finished product. One of the most important factors to check is the heat stability of a nutraceutical. In addition, bakers should monitor closely the taste, crumb structure and color of a product that uses nutraceuticals. It also is important to make sure the nutraceutical ingredient is approved for use in bakery foods.
Where can I learn more about nutraceuticals?
The Institute of Food Technologists' Food Expo in July provides an opportunity for bakers to discover new and exciting ingredients. Information on this show can be found on page 40. •
|Nutraceutical Reference Guide|
Omega-3 fatty acids Derived from fish oils and flaxseeds, this healthful compound reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Food and Drug Administration allows a health claim for omega-3 fatty acids.
Probiotics These healthful bacterias improve the microbial balance in the intestine and are popular in Europe and Asia.
Choline Found naturally in eggs, this nutrient is beneficial to pregnant and nursing mothers. Ingredient suppliers have encapsulated this ingredient for ease of use in bakery food formulas.
Lutein This antioxidant is derived from marigolds and plays a role in promoting vision health.
Plant sterols This nutraceutical prevents absorption of dietary cholesterol.
|Probiotics offer healthful advantages to bakery foods|
What are probiotics?
In 2002, FAO/WHO defined probiotics as living micro-organisms that when "ingested or locally applied in sufficient numbers, have one or more specified demonstrated functional or beneficial effects on the health of the host."
Is there a difference between probiotics and prebiotics?
In other words, prebiotics are the stimulating growth substances that our intestinal flora and probiotics thrive on. Examples include fructans, oligosaccharides and resistant starches.
What are the health benefits of probiotics?
How do probiotics work?
Can I use probiotics in bakery products?
|For more information, contact Lallemand at 514-251-3617 or visit www.lallemand.com|