Wegmans Foods Markets manufactures a line of breads fortified with omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils.
These two images represent the effect that some nutraceuticals have on bakery food formulas. In each picture, the sample on the left represents the traditional product, and the products in the middle and on the right contain various nutraceuticals.
PHOTO COURTESY OF COGNIS
It's no secret in the baking industry that white bread's popularity is declining. It's also no surprise that cookie sales are struggling. There is nothing wrong with these products, consumers simply are looking for something new. And that appears to be products with added health benefits. Fortunately, bakery foods are ideal carriers for a variety of healthful ingredients.
This is nothing new. Bakery foods always have been a staple of a healthful diet. Today, however, bakers seek to improve the health attributes of their products with ingredients not traditionally used in the baking industry. These products, called nutraceuticals, do not improve handling properties or flavor profiles. Instead, their sole purposes are to make bakery foods more healthful.
The baking industry was introduced to nutraceuticals in 1943 when the U.S. government required enriching flours and breads with various vitamins and minerals, such as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and iron, to eliminate deficiency diseases such as beriberi and pellagra. About 50 years later, the U.S. government again introduced nutraceuticals into the food supply by requiring the fortification of enriched breads with folic acid.
These nutraceuticals are still in use in the baking industry, but now they have been joined by a new generation of ingredients that includes lutein, choline, sterol esters, probiotics, enriched yeast and fish oils. Although many of these ingredients are untested in the industry, bakers who think outside the breadbox can boost sales by including nutraceuticals in products.
Lutein, an antioxidant derived from marigolds, has the potential to boost sales due to its role in promoting vision health. A recent awareness study found that 44% of Americans have heard of lutein and more than 50% of females in the United States are aware of lutein, one lutein supplier says.
"Most individuals consume only 1 mg to 2 mgs per day of lutein from the diet," one lutein supplier says. "But epidemiological evidence indicates that 6 mgs per day may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)."
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 55 years and older, affecting as many as 15 million Americans. Emerging research indicates that lutein also benefits skin health and appearance Lutein is depmany of these ingredients are untested in the industry, bakers who think outside the breadbox can boost sales by including nutraceuticals in products. osited through levels of the skin and may reduce the risk of damage to cells and skin caused by visible light, another ingredient supplier of lutein says.
Bakers seek to improve the health attributes
of their products with ingredients
not traditionally used in the baking industry.
Lutein is available as both lutein and lutein esters. Lutein esters are available in oil and powder forms. Manufacturing bakery foods with lutein is easy because the ingredient is relatively heat stable, one lutein supplier says. This supplier formulates various products with lutein beadlets, including nutritional bars and cereal. Lutein beadlets are stable through mixing and baking in these products. The ingredient also shows less than 20% loss through processing and storage.
Despite lutein's positive benefits, manufacturers should check with lutein suppliers to see if the ingredient is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for specific applications. One manufacturer's lutein product is GRASapproved in energy bars and crackers at levels of 2 mgs per reference amount customarily consumed (RACC).
One of the most surprising developments in the baking industry this year has been the widespread acceptance of fish oils by commercial bakers. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Fish oils as bakery ingredients seemed impossible five years
ago, but technological advancements have
removed off-flavors and tastes, allowing this
ingredient to be used as a nutraceutical in the baking industry.
First, Wegmans Foods Markets Inc. launched a line of breads fortified with omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils, and now other bakeries are jumping on the bandwagon, including The Baker, Milford, N.J.; and Arnold Foods, a division of George Weston Bakeries.
Fish oils as bakery ingredients seemed impossible five years ago, but technological advancements have removed off-flavors and tastes, allowing this ingredient to be used as a nutraceutical in the baking industry.
Many options exist to incorporate fish oils into bakery foods. Many bakeries use a microencapsulated freeflowing powder that is derived from fish oils. This product has no off-flavors or tastes, is dispersible in water and is shear and temperature stable. Another manufacturer offers a highly refined menhaden fish oil that is heat stable at 350°F for 20 minutes or less. The ingredient also can be incorporated into a melted solid fat, which makes it heat stable at 375°F for 40 minutes or less.
Probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics are healthful bacteria that improve the microbial balance in the intestine. These ingredients have yet to make waves in the United States, but bakery foods with probiotics and prebiotics have found their ways to European and Asian store shelves.
"Probiotics take up space in the large intestine," one probiotics supplier says. "When that space is filled with beneficial bacteria, it keeps out the pathogenic bacteria. These beneficial bacteria increase the health of the immune system."
Probiotic bacteria must survive and be alive in the large intestine to be effective. Encapsulation protects these microorganisms in both the body and food systems. In bakery foods, probiotics have a high sensitivity to humidity, heat and oxygen. As a result, these ingredients must be incorporated in bakery foods through certain applications, such as cream sauces, chocolates and oils.
Bakery foods also are ideal vehicles for a wide variety of prebiotic fiber ingredients. These ingredients serve as food for probiotics in the colon. One ingredient supplier's prebiotic ingredients commonly are used to manufacture sugar-free, low-glycemic and lowcalorie bakery foods.
Choline represents another nutraceutical that has gained consumer interest due to recent publicity. Most of this publicity comes from eggs, which naturally contain choline. Bakers can fortify their products with various forms of choline to improve the health of pregnant and nursing mothers. "Choline not only helps improve a child's neurological development, but controlled studies indicate that these effects are lifelong," one ingredient supplier of choline says. "Choline also helps to improve memory and minimize age associated memory impairment."
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows a nutrient content claim for choline in foods. Foods fortified with choline can be labeled "Good source of choline," "Contains choline," "Provides choline," "Excellent source of choline," "Rich in choline," and "High in choline" depending on the product. For a "Good source of choline" claim, bakers must include 55 mgs per serving, and for an excellent claim, 110 mgs of choline must be present per serving. FDA also allows a variety of structure function claims for choline in nutritional supplements and bars.
Adding choline to bakery food formulas at levels of 55 mgs to 110 mgs is easy, according to one supplier of a choline fortification system. "There are no issues with the flavor profile, because at this level any flavor impact is inconsequential," the choline supplier says.
Because choline is very hydroscopic, a microencapsulated form facilitates ease of processing in bakery food formulas. The lipid coating also adds lubricity. Choline is extremely heat stable at temperatures greater than 500°F.
Bakery foods provide energy, making them an ideal carrier for B vitamins. Many B vitamins already are present in enriched flour, and many bakeries are either upping the levels of this fortification or expanding the types of products that typically are enriched with these vitamins. The B vitamin group includes folic acid, B1, B6, B12, riboflavin and niacin.
"Typically, the standard level for flour fortification is 10% of the daily value (DV), but bakers who want to add value to their products will typically fortify to 30% or 35% of the DV, depending on their marketing strategy," one vitamin premix supplier says.
B vitamins typically are added to bakery food formulas in the form of a pre-mix that has been diluted with flour or other bakery ingredients. This process eliminates the need for multiple ingredient sources, helps ensure quality standards and eliminates difficult weighing of minor ingredients. B vitamins are relatively heat stable with the exception of thiamin (B1). This nutrient often is microencapsulated to increase stability in bakery foods.
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, killing more than 12 million people per year. Nearly one third of those deaths can be attributed to high cholesterol. Plant sterols prevent absorption of dietary cholesterol, and many ingredient suppliers are pushing this ingredient in the food industry.
FDA approved a health claim for sterols in 2000 that says "Foods containing at least 0.65 grams per serving of plant sterol esters, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 1.3 grams, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of [name of the food] supplies (#) grams of plant sterol esters."
Sterols are available as a liquid paste that is added to dough or shortening. The ingredient also is available in a dry form. There are no volume or sensory differences with sterol esters, other than a slight softening effect on crumb structure, one manufacturer of sterol esters says. Approved applications include white bread, rolls, buns, quick breads, muffins, whole grain breads and cookies. "Sterols can be used like any dry ingredient," the manufacturer says. "No special handling is needed and there are no temperature concerns."
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in beef and dairy fats that aids in weight loss. To boost the consumption of this compound, one ingredient supplier offers a CLA that is produced from safflower oil. A recent two-year study showed that 3.4 grams per day of the manufacturer's CLA ingredient reduced body fat by 8% to 9%. In addition, participants in the study managed to keep the weight off in the second year.
CLA is easy to incorporate into bakery foods and does not affect loaf volume. Tests in bakery food formulas show no sensory differences except for a slight softening of the crumb texture.
The CLA product comes in liquid form and is added to dough or batter. The product also is available as a dry product added to mixes. CLA is heat stable at a temperature of 464°F for 30 minutes. The manufacturer's product is self-affirmed GRAS and can be used in meal replacement bars.
As consumers become more health conscious, high-volume bakers must realize the potential of creating bakery foods with added health benefits. Although the American population may not yet be ready for some of these nutraceuticals, the rapid changes in the baking industry necessitate that bakers pay attention to the next wave of healthful ingredients. •