Penford Food Ingredients is injecting R&D efforts into allergen reduction and fat replacement formulations amid a soaring, lucrative ‘better-for-you’ US market.
This month the US firm launched a starch-based egg-replacer PenTech NG for the bakery sector to plug increased allergen and health demands. The potato-tapioca blend can claim no dairy, soy, wheat and gluten and also reduces fat and cholesterol.
Bryan Scherer, director of research and development (R&D) at Penford Food Ingredients, said that this development marks part of wider investments into new technologies for the reduced formulation area.
“This can range from allergen reduction to fat replacement,” Scherer told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Penford is currently working on product line extensions to the egg-replacer, he revealed, “working on the additional functionality of improved emulsification and potentially whipping characteristics”.
The PenTech NG egg-replacer currently replaces the functionality of eggs, including texture, volume, structure and moisture retention but is not recommended for applications where a whipped texture is required, he said.
Dedicated to slashing calories
“The most prevalent health focus in the bakery segment is calorie reduction,” Scherer said.
Reduced calorie, cholesterol and salt products are on the increase, he said, but “within baked goods, consumers still prefer their indulgences to deliver the full-fat mouth-feel and sweetness”.
The egg-replacer offers formulators a way to reduce calories and cholesterol without tweaking the fat and sugar profile, he said.
Replacing one large whole egg with 6g of PenTech NG and 54g of water results in a 71% calorie reduction, he said.
Calorie reduction is apparent in both sweet and savoury goods and there is no cholesterol contribution when using the system, therefore it is ideal for heart health products, he added.
The ‘better-for-you’ segment is lucrative, Scherer said, and it has seen a significant spike in light of increased consumer awareness towards heart health. Weight management, blood sugar management and digestive health have also contributed to growth across the segment.
While health demands are fuelling reduced formulation needs, so too are allergen-free requests, Scherer said.
“Diagnosis advancements of food allergies and sensitivities have increased the need for gluten-free products,” he said.
But this sector is much wider, with many consumers sensitive to other allergens therefore gluten-free formulation increasingly requires the elimination of all food allergens, he said.