There is a toolbox of options that bakery manufacturers can turn to when reducing salt, fat and sugar in products – from simple ingredient replacement, to different processing methods and even altered processing conditions. But, Leatherhead Food Research’s head of innovation Wayne Morley said that manipulating ingredients held the most promise for future healthy bakery reformulation.
Restructuring salt crystals to be smaller, for example, or repositioning sugar in the formulation via nano spraying, were the methods of the future for bakers, he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“Using ingredients in a clever way and manufacturing products in a different way – I think that’s the future in terms of making further changes without having to compromise on things like taste, texture or shelf life,” he said.
He said that while there are plenty of interesting ingredients to replace salt, fat and sugar on the market, repositioning and restructuring of ingredients represented an important part of future development in the bakery sector.
Cost concerns and a fear of the unknown
Morley said that while there was plenty of research and technologies for ingredient manipulation, industry uptake had been scarce.
There has been use of smaller salt crystals in the baking industry but for sugar, the trend has mainly been use of high-intensity sweeteners to replace sugar, like stevia, he said.
He said that it wasn’t the case that restructuring and repositioning of ingredients had been overlooked, because there has been plenty of research conducted in the area, but there were some likely reasons holding back commercial uptake.
“These solutions are possibly still a bit expensive to implement because they haven’t been developed into a cost-effective solution yet. Also, replacing one ingredient with another is quite simple, so in the short-term, it’s quite attractive for manufacturers,” Morley said. There is also “a fear of the unknown” among industry, he added.
“It may be that they [manufacturers] are not quite sure what they should do if things go wrong, or perhaps there are questions about the need to invest in equipment or not. Perhaps there are a few more unknowns regarding the implementation of these technologies on a commercial basis.”
Closing the academic gap will be important…
Morley said that one major problem was the void between academic work - what has been researched and developed in laboratories - and what can be used commercially by bakers.
“It’s all very well researching the technology but researching the commercial aspects are equally important,” he said.
If more work had been done on deciphering the challenges that industry would face when up-scaling these technologies, they may have been picked up more readily, he added.
“I think it’s a responsibility of those developing these solutions to not just prove it works on a technical basis, but also develop it so it can be implemented on a manufacturing level that take into account troubleshooting,” Morley said.
For Part I of Wayne Morley's expert insight on bakery reformulation, click HERE.
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