Formulating products with the ever-increasing demands of today’s marketplace is no easy task. Consumers are seeking clean, clear labels and simplified ingredients. Simultaneously, customers are seeking improved sustainability and cost efficiency in the form of less waste and better inventory control—and requiring products with longer shelf life. Still, pressure to maintain cost structure requires equal or better runnability on the line.

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It’s extremely difficult to meet all of these consumer and customer demands and still maintain good eating quality with a reasonable cost structure. But it’s possible with today’s range of available, hardworking functional ingredients like enzymes, fats and emulsifiers, dough conditioners, natural preservatives, and more.

Enzymatic improvements

Enzymes provide a multitude of benefits; it’s hard to imagine any baked good that does not rely on enzymatic reactions. They’re responsible for everything from conditioning the dough, to improving the rise, contributing to crumb structure to color development. “All traditional bread-making processes nowadays are unthinkable without the use of enzymes,” says Ralf Neumann, custom solutions director, AB Enzymes, Darmstadt, Germany.

Neumann notes his customers use VERON GMS+ to replace or reduce monoglycerides in yeast-raised baked goods like white pan bread or hamburger buns. VERON GMS+ achieves the same crumb texture properties (softness, resiliency, texture) as monoglycerides, but is more cost-efficient, he says. “And, as a fermented enzyme, VERON GMS+ has a lower carbon footprint than traditional emulsifiers, so it also meets the increasing market demand for sustainability.”

Kathy Sargent, market director of bakery, Corbion, Lenexa, KS, notes that bagels have become increasingly popular with millennials. “With the rise of snacking occasions, consumers are buying bagels in increasing numbers and enjoying them beyond breakfast,” she says. Baked good require peak freshness, which the Ultra Fresh portfolio of enzymes helps bakers attain. “These are enzyme blends specifically designed to extend shelf life while protecting the quality of baked goods,” she says. The enzymes offer a variety of solutions for increased moistness, resilience and softness. “They are versatile and can be used to protect the quality and freshness of bread, buns, bagels, tortillas and flatbreads.”

When it comes to crackers, process optimization is an important concern. Christopher Limmex, technical sales manager, enzymes, Kerry, Beloit, WI, suggests Biobake Flex: “Our Biobake Flex enzyme delivers flexibility to cracker manufacturers in terms of floor time and processing. Decreasing floor time allows for decreased waste and re-work in the event of unexpected downtime. In addition, this product improves the extensibility and sheeting characteristics of the cracker dough while controlling product size and shape by preventing oven shrinkage. It delivers on three pillars of the snack and bakery industry: clean label, process efficiency and product quality.”

Linda Dunning, product manager, systems and texturants, DuPont Nutrition & Health, St. Louis, observes that clean-label efforts mean something different to each food and beverage company, so solutions are rarely one-size-fits-all. She notes that the GRINSTED Freedom range features tailored ingredient systems designed to replace the volume and strength lost when traditional ingredients are removed. “The blends contain an optimized ratio of ingredients, including locust bean gum, SOLEC lecithin and enzymes.” She notes that by replacing lost functionality, GRINSTED Freedom helps reduce production issues, leading to cost savings in bakeries.

Ingredient systems from Delavau Food Partners, Philadelphia inhibit mold and extend shelf life extension, as well as improve doughs. Angie Singer, director of sales and marketing, says: “Customers look at Delavau Food Partners for clean-label ways to improve the eating experience and shelf life of baked goods and snacks. Our recently expanded line of Encore ingredients—Encore Fresh, Encore Plus, Encore Strong, Encore Relax—deliver extended-shelf-life and dough-conditioning solutions that place nothing more than enzymes, ascorbic acid, fibers and gums on the ingredient statement.”

Achieving a cleaner label involves significant technical work. “We spent two years testing and validating a simple solution using premium lecithin products and enzymes to replace four problematic ingredients—azodicarbonamide (ADA), sodium stearoyl lactylate (SSL), DATEM (diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides) and monoglycerides,” says Bill Gilbert, Certified Master Baker and principal food technologist, Cargill, Minneapolis. “In the end, we were able to eliminate the entire dough-conditioning package. Our testing confirms that all three of our premium lecithin options—soy, sunflower and now canola—are equally effective at replacing these dough conditioners. Our new canola lecithin offers some distinct advantages: label-friendly, non-allergenic, non-GMO and an affordable price.”

Clean-label stability also comes in the form of antioxidants. Removing preservatives can significantly impact product sensory attributes—particularly related to degradation of fats and oils—impacting shelf life. Kemin, Des Moines, IA, offers a line of oil-soluble green tea extracts, called GT-FORT.  “These extracts have antioxidant properties that can be used as naturally sourced, clean-label alternatives, replacing conventional synthetic antioxidants such as TBHQ,” says Courtney Schwartz, marketing communications manager.

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Better shortenings and oils

Oil, a necessity for frying and other snack and bakery functions, can contribute negatively to a food’s nutritional profile—and traditionally contained preservatives to reduce rancidity. But oil processors are finding ways to modify their products to overcome potential drawbacks.

Mark Stavro, director of marketing, Bunge, St. Louis, discusses the new Whole Harvest line. “This oil is a high-performance, non-GMO sunflower oil and offers the functional benefits of extended fry life and extended shelf life for foodservice and food processing customers. Because it is non-GMO and expeller-pressed, it is more sustainable and gentler on the earth than conventional extraction methods.” He notes that Bunge also offers PhtyoBake shortening, which allows formulators to replace saturated fat with phytosterols, offering up to 50 percent less saturated fat than palm oil.

“According to an IRI Snacking Survey, 56 percent of consumers said ‘no artificial preservatives or additives’ is the top claim consumers are looking for,” notes Mary LaGuardia, marketing manager, Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, which offers an oil with an improved fatty acid profile—and a clean label: Omega-9 Canola Oil.

LaGuardia explains that Omega-9 Canola is high in oleic and low in linoleic acids, and it is naturally stable, which eliminates the need for partial hydrogenation—and that means zero trans fat. And, it is also low in saturated fat in comparison to other frying oils. “Through traditional plant breeding, researchers were able to develop an improved fatty acid profile that also offers superior performance. Omega-9 Canola is versatile, cost-effective and naturally stable. It enables the food industry to reduce ‘bad’ fats and increase the ‘good’ fats, without compromising food taste, oil functionality or performance.”

Several different snack and bakery applications, including icings, call for shortening, and the soybean industry offers a drop-in replacement for partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). Frank Flider, edible oils consultant, Qualisoy, Chesterfield, MO, notes the considerable amount of testing done on enzymatically interesterified (EIE) high-oleic soybean oil shortening. “EIE high-oleic soybean oil shortening can meet specifications, properties and functionalities desired to produce finished baked goods and icings,” he says. It accommodates a wide temperature range, making it readily workable under common temperatures encountered in wholesale and in-store bakeries. “Additionally, it has superior consistency, creaminess, stability and flavor, making it an ideal replacement for PHOs in icings.”

Since icing is such a widely used application, many ingredient companies are tackling the challenge of replacing PHOs in the icing. Icing is perhaps more challenging than most applications, notes John Satumba, food ingredient and analytical chemistry director, Cargill, because of “the complexity of the required performance and indulgent attributes.” Its Regal Icing NH Shortening for icings offers aeration and structuring without hydrogenation. “It’s fully compliant with clean-label initiatives. It has a brilliant white color, achieved without the usage of titanium dioxide, is 20 percent lower in saturated fat and has outstanding creaming properties.”

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Multifunctional magic

The tall order of consumer desires for clean labels, simplicity and sustainability gets compounded when factoring gluten-into the mix.

Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, WI, uses a patented, clean process to manufacture Citri-Fi, a functional fiber derived from orange pulp, says Nesha Zalesny, technical sales manager. “The combination of the physical process and the makeup of the fiber enables it to hold 7 to 10 times its weight in water.”

Amanda Wagner, food technologist, Fiberstar adds that Citri-Fi 200, which is co-processed with guar gum, is recommended for baked goods needing viscosity. “Gluten-free flours tend to produce very little viscosity, which can create issues in dispensing, in the baking process and with texture of the final product.”

Fibersol, a fiber with multiple benefits, can be used to achieve nutrient content claims (e.g., fiber enrichment) and can also be used to provide perception of moistness, tenderness and texture in sugar-reduced products, notes Doris Dougherty, technical service representative, ADM, Chicago. “In many bakery products, such as icings and chocolate compounds, sugars can be reduced by as much as 25 percent and the product will still taste sweet without added high-intensity sweeteners. In cases where the original product contains substantial sugar for functionality, not solely sweetness, some of the sugar can be replaced by Fibersol.”

When looking to add crispiness to expanded or extruded snack components while lowering the calorie content, consider Fibersym RW, a resistant wheat starch, suggests Ody Maningat, vice president of ingredients research and chief science officer, MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS. Although Fibersym RW can deliver a minimum of 85 percent total dietary fiber, it has a unique functionality to add crispiness. “In a study at the University of Nebraska, when added at the 10 percent level, Fibersym RW enhances crispiness of indirect expanded snacks.”

Demanding processing conditions, such as freeze/ thaw conditions, can challenge the move to clean label. “Working with BENEO’s native rice starch Remypure enables formulators to clean up even these products,” says Jon Peters, president, BENEO, Inc., Morris Plains, NJ. “BENEO uses a new thermal production process, which is entirely natural, enabling this rice starch to achieve performance levels comparable to chemically modified food starches—but without the use of any chemicals.” One suggested application is fruit preps for snack and bakery products.

Malt extracts can also provide a multitude of functional benefits, according to Jim Kappas, vice president of sales and marketing, Malt Products Corp., Dayton, OH. “The enzymes found naturally in malt extracts are known to increase the rate of oven rise and provide a smoother crust.” He points out that malt extracts can also enhance the nutty flavor in a bar application, or used to replace corn syrup or cane sugar. It also provides a notable level of antioxidants.

When select functional ingredients can provide secondary—or even tertiary—benefits beyond their primary function, they help ease the task of solving the challenges of clean label, sugar reduction, fiber enhancement, process optimization and more. With the right research on hand, you can make your ingredients work as hard as you do.

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Click here for larger image. Chart courtesy of Dow AgroSciences.

Functional ingredients