Innovators are continuously finding ways to create versions of bakery items that pack a healthier punch, which have a better carbohydrate profile and, in some cases a free-from and cleaner label. Grain-based bakery products are a significant source of fiber, particularly in western diets and since low dietary fiber intakes are a significant public health concern, cereal foods are not in danger of losing their relevance any time soon.
The leading health claim for bread is whole grains, which was used for 12 percent of H2 2017 launches, making it the number two positioning overall, according to Innova Market Insights data. Multigrain, seeded a nd ancient grain products all continue to be popular, often associated with fiber content and sometimes with protein.
FoodIngredientsFirst recently spoke with Michael Gusko, Managing Director at GoodMills Innovation about current trends in the bakery space and the relationship these trends have with health. “The potential for growth in the bakery market exists in both high-quality bread and baked goods, as well as in snacks and out of home products. This is an important driver of business development and market expansion because consumers love quick and convenient products. As such, bakeries are reacting to these demands with a growing portfolio of snacks, such as the ‘baker burger’ and innovative variations of the traditional sandwich.”
According to Prof. Dr. Ulrike Detmers, President of the German association of industrial bakeries, ancient grains are also growing in popularity in the bakery sector – based on consumer desire for authentic and original food. “And people want to know more about what they’re eating and where the ingredients come from. So, as well as ancient grains, we’re seeing more requests for artisan bread, products with regional ingredients and those with an added health value, such as reduced sugar and salt, or ‘free from’ alternatives,” says Gusko.
GoodMills Innovation provides solutions for all of these demands, according to Gusko. “With 2ab Wheat, we give bakers the chance to offer their clients an ancient grain that is easy to digest and is a promising solution for people with sensitive digestions or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). For other forms of intolerances, our almond-free ‘Imitation Marzipan’ and YePea, an ingredient made from yellow peas, which is a non-allergenic natural alternative to soy meal, are ‘free from’ solutions that can be enjoyed by everyone,” he notes.
Reduced sugar and salt products are also a major issue for consumers. But, although food companies started to label their products as “reduced in” a decade ago, today’s buzzword is “stealth reduction,” he says.
“Some clients might associate a so-called reduction with a loss in taste and texture. So, the challenge – for us and bakeries – is to reduce the number of unwanted ingredients without the consumer noticing – and achieve perfect results concerning sensory properties.”
GoodMills Innovation delivers various reduction solutions, including the new Slow Milling Pretzel Salt Light SG. This enables bakers to reduce the salt content of pretzels or snack décor without making a visual difference and retaining the original mouthfeel and crunchy bite. “Similarly, test recipes using PURAFARIN HydroSoft for baked goods such as muffins and cookies showed that it’s possible to use up to 30 percent less fat by adding this functional flour and maintain the same texture and crumb consistency,” adds Gusko.
“We’ve spent years of R&D time looking at ancient grains, but not just to meet the current trend for traditional foods. Our key driver was the fact that more and more people are experiencing digestive problems with modern bread wheat. Although they’re not actual coeliacs or suffer from a wheat allergy, they do have to deal with cramps or even diarrhea after eating bread,” he continues. “Together with nutritionists, we found that modern wheat contains compounds that trigger those digestive reactions – FODMAP, ATI and D-gluten – in high amounts. 2ab Wheat is an ancient grain, low in those substances, and delivers the best results in terms of taste and texture. For wheat sensitive consumers, it’s an ideal solution and a combination of indulgence and digestive wellness,” claims Gusko.
Currently, GoodMills Innovation is expanding the concept of well-tolerated ancient grains with Tartary Buckwheat. “In Asia, buckwheat is a popular staple and traditionally known for its positive effects on blood glucose levels. By combining this ancient grain with the knotweed, bakers can offer an easy-to-digest white bread with a lower glycaemic response than normal refined bread. In Germany, this product has recently been launched within a diet project called Deutschlank. This unique project is based on an intense collaboration between nutritionists, physicians, a major German television channel, and food industry partners such as GoodMills Innovation,” he states.
Thanks to scientific studies and the work of health organizations, Gusko believes that consumer awareness about the advantages of whole grains has significantly increased. “According to current research, whole grains reduce inflammation, help to prevent weight gain, lower the risk of stroke and ischemic heart disease, and positively influence gut bacteria – to name just a few benefits.”
The baking sector’s challenge is to meet consumer demand for whole grains while maintaining the taste and texture of the end product. The typical whole grain “side-effects,” such as a rough texture and a slightly bitter taste, are not wanted, he says. However, this is promoting innovation, according to Gusko. “Flours such as our WHITE GOLD or SNOW SPELT, for example, provide the benefits of whole grain and, at the same time, deliver a soft, light crumb, a mild taste and prolonged freshness.”
And, although it’s important to focus on raising whole grain consumption and put whole grain products on the baker’s shelf, there’s also another aspect to consider: whole grain fibers have probiotic effects in healthy digestive systems; but, they can be a problem for people with sensitive guts who, for example, suffer from IBS. “So, we can’t just worship at the temple of whole grains, we have to offer different types of bread for different demands as well,” Gusko confirms.
As an alternative product for people with sensitive digestions, 2ab Wheat has just been launched in Germany. In Poland, France and the UK, it’s now in the starting blocks and GoodMills Innovation has already had a lot of interest from bakers, especially as both ancient grains and low-FODMAP products are current consumer trends.
As mentioned above, Deutschlank bread, a wholesome bread alternative with low glycemic effects, has been launched in Germany. With the concept of “Personalized Nutrition” based on individual metabolic reactions becoming more and more popular, this bread is a promising contribution to the bakery sector. “It also makes the combination of 2ab Wheat with Tartary Buckwheat highly attractive for other European countries,” he concludes.