While taste will remain a dominant factor for all food products, health, wellness and the nutritional value of the product is growing in importance. Several studies point to the fact that consumers are looking to achieve better overall wellness by selecting foods and ingredients that provide a functional health benefit. The NPD Group has noted that 56 percent of consumers want more protein in their diet, and 51 percent stated they are interested in incorporating more dietary fiber into their diet. According to the 2019 IFIC “Food and Health” survey, fiber, whole grains and protein from plant-based sources top the list of healthy foods.

This opens the door to potentially incorporating these nutritional ingredients in more snack and bakery products to create newly permissible, incrementally healthier—yet still indulgent—products.

Jacquelyn Schuh, marketing product director, alternative proteins, ADM, Chicago, explains: “Growing consumer belief in the power of food to promote good health and healthy living is driving the development of more snack and bakery products that offer functional-forward health benefits. We’re seeing protein and fiber added to a variety of snack and bakery applications, ranging from bars and muffins to cookies and desserts. Many of these products fit within the ever-growing trend of ‘permissible’ indulgence as consumers equate the added health benefits of these traditionally indulgent products as more acceptable and feel less guilty about enjoying them.”


Packing a punch

The interest in plant-based proteins is exploding. Data from the 2019 IFIC survey notes over a third of consumers eat plant-based proteins at least once per day, and 24 percent stated they are eating “much more” or “somewhat more” plant-based proteins than last year.

ADM offers a broad selection of soy-based plant proteins. The company has an expansive source of supply with 450 crop procurement locations around the world. Its portfolio includes soy flour (50 percent protein content), soy protein concentrates (65–90 percent protein content), isolated soy proteins (90 percent protein content) and textured protein and crisps (50–80 percent protein content).

Pea protein is also seeing demand, and a new line of pea proteins from PURIS, Minneapolis, addresses the needs of this growing market. Casey Lopez, senior product manager, highlights the features and benefits of the new products:

  • PURIS textured pea protein (TPP): Great-tasting, allergen-friendly alternative to soy-containing textured vegetable protein products. PURIS TPP is available in 65 percent, 70 percent and 80 percent textured pea protein content depending upon your need and use. The ingredient has a clean, neutral flavor and desirable texture.
  • PURIS whole pea crisps: Made from whole pea flour at 20 percent protein, the pea crisps provide a clean-label inclusion that delivers nutrition and texture.
  • PURIS pea protein crisps: At 60 percent protein, these crisps are an alternative to the soy and/or whey protein crisps that are heavily utilized in the snacking space.

Lopez suggests PURIS protein ingredients for sweet and savory granola mixes, snack bars, muffins, quick breads and brownies. The new ingredients contain all 9 essential amino acids, making it a great source of protein. In addition, all of the PURIS products are non-GMO, allergen-friendly and grown and made in the U.S.

Blue Diamond Almonds Global Ingredients Division, Sacramento, CA, has introduced a clean, healthy plant-based protein powder derived from almonds—and it brings additional beneficial nutrition along for the ride. “Its clean taste and smooth texture are unparalleled in the protein space, filling a genuine need for a better-tasting, plant-based protein source and offering product developers a versatile protein option for clean label and nutritionally focused products,” says Jeff Smith, director of marketing.

“Blue Diamond almond protein powder delivers approximately 45 percent protein, making one 30-gram serving a good source of protein,” says Smith. “The ingredient is also an excellent source of biotin, phosphorous, copper, magnesium, manganese and fiber, and a good source of calcium, potassium, zinc and iron.” He notes that the almond protein powder also offers many benefits to formulators. “Because of its fine texture and mild flavor, almond protein is easy to blend and requires no masking. The powder produced from almonds is of a fine granulation, resulting in a smooth mouthfeel and clean taste that complements most every application.”

Blue Diamond almond protein powder is non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free. It can work in a broad array of snack and bakery applications, but is best suited to use in nutrition and protein bars, as well as fortified versions of cookies, brownies and other baked goods.

While a lot of trends and buzz is surrounding plant-based protein, most consumers still eat animal-based protein. International Dehydrated Foods (IDF), Springfield, MO, recently launched two new ingredients: a new CHIKPRO meat-based ingredient, which is a high-quality complete protein and type ll collagen for joint health, and CHIKPRO collagen protein, a bone broth protein that also contributes to joint health.

“These ingredients are made with 100 percent USDA chicken and offer the same nutrition as eating a piece of chicken,” says Stephanie Lynch, vice president of sales, marketing and technology, IDF. “This includes high-quality protein, as well as other nutrients—like zinc and iron, based on a 100-gram serving—necessary to promote and maintain balanced nutrition. These ingredients are partially soluble, allowing them to contribute to the structure and texture of a variety of applications. They have a slight chicken flavor, which can enhance the savoriness of snack foods and potentially allow for reduced sodium in certain applications.”

The protein is highly digestible and the bone broth is rich in savory, umami flavor. Both ingredients are free from common allergens, including whey, soy and gluten. These new ingredients can be used in savory snack applications such as popped chips, crisps and pretzels.


Multifunctional fiber

The recommended daily value for fiber is 25 grams based on a 2,000-calorie diet. However, the average daily dietary fiber intake in the U.S. today is 16 grams. There is a clear opportunity to incorporate more fiber into common products. Fiber offers multiple health benefits, including digestive health, and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fibersol, soluble corn fiber developed via a joint venture between ADM and Matsutani, is one option. “Fibersol has been found to balance flavor profiles, pair well with ADM protein and enhance mouthfeel in sugar-replacement applications,” says Lisa Bradford, senior scientist applications science and technology, ADM. In addition, Fibersol is backed by 30 years of extensive clinical research and scientific data that support its role in digestive health, satiety and prebiotic fiber claims. The ingredient is highly dispersible and has a neutral taste. It’s available in powder, agglomerated and liquid formats.

Fiberstar, River Falls, WI, recently expanded its Citri-Fi offerings, launching Citri-Fi 150. “This new product differs in particle size, dietary fiber content and water-holding capacity,” says Jennifer Stephens, VP of marketing. “Citri-Fi 150 natural citrus fiber provides both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, which is beneficial when providing water-holding and emulsification properties to bakery products. The fiber may be used at 1–2.5 percent of the finished product, which helps contribute fiber on the nutritional panel.” She notes that the natural fiber improves freshness of bread over time, which preserves texture. It can also help reduce use of oil and eggs in baked goods.

Citri-Fi is non-GMO certified, allergen-free and can be labeled as “citrus fiber,” “dried citrus pulp” or “citrus flour.” The ingredient works well in breads, cakes, muffins, cookies and bakery fillings.

MGP Ingredients, Atchison, KS, recently received approval from FDA stating that both Fibersym RW and FiberRite RW, RS4 resistant starches, qualify as sources of dietary fiber under its Nutrition Facts labeling regulations for the expanded definition of dietary fiber. “The nutritional benefits resulting from the use of Fibersym RW and FiberRite RW are: boosting dietary fiber content, lowering caloric count, lowering net carbs and imparting physiological effects in consumer health,” says Ody Maningat, Ph.D., vice president, ingredients, R&D and chief science officer.

“The neutral flavor of Fibersym and FiberRite are compatible with flour-based snack and bakery products,” says Michael Buttshaw, vice president, ingredients sales and marketing, MGP Ingredients. Both products have a smooth texture and white color and are Non-GMO Project Verified. He notes that the products can be used in a range of snack and bakery applications, such as cookies, pastries, muffins, baking mixes and tortillas.


Fermenting for health

Consumer interest in both natural processes and foods that deliver added health benefits is driving the trend in fermented foods, which often contain many beneficial nutrients and have been associated with positive digestive health.

“A flavor and color trend that has captured the taste buds of American consumers in its own right, fermented foods are also part of a larger movement in the food and beverage industry toward natural ingredients that provide health benefits,” says Chris Naese, vice president of business development, Florida Food Products, Eustis, FL. “As consumers eschew sweets and crave the savory, umami and other flavors commonly associated with fruits, vegetables and active ingredients with health and wellness claims, fermented flavors have found a wider appeal. Fermented ingredients such as beet juice or powder are a natural, on-trend way to add clean-label flavor and color without added sugar or calories, and can bring the added appeal of functional claims for digestion, nutrient absorption and immunity support.”

Florida Food Products also offers fermented carrot and mushroom concentrates and powders, which can be used in snack and bakery applications. These ingredients are best suited for crackers and flatbreads, or as a topical ingredient or seasoning.

Consumers will continue to demand products that deliver taste, a multi-sensory experience and added health benefits. This will continue to expand the type of ingredients and nutrients used to develop a broader range of snack and bakery products to ensure people feel good—and are still happy about what they’re eating.