This – coupled with the broader snacking boom – has meant that sectors like inclusions have benefitted massively.
The challenges for manufacturers to stay ahead of this curve are multipronged: having to develop a product that (1) creates new sensory experiences and (2) has improved front-of-pack (FOP) nutritional profiles, while also (3) providing a complete and indulgent snacking experience.
Strike a balance
According to UK clean label ingredients supplier Ulrick & Short, inclusions are perfectly poised to offer an effective and innovative way to strike this balance.
“As snacking grows, consumers want products that tick more and more boxes,” said Ulrick & Short’s R&D manage Danni Schroeter.
“They want a convenient, indulgent and complete snacking experience with a range of textures and flavours, but is still healthy with good nutritional profiles.”
She noted Ulrick & Short’s expertise includes making inclusions healthier – in terms of removing fat, sugar and reducing overall calories – as well as adding active ingredients that allow manufacturers to help make FOP claims like ‘high in fibre’.
“All our products are clean label too, so manufacturers can both improve nutritional profiles and have fully transparent label declarations,” added Schroeter.
It also provides ingredients that add texture and indulgence to a snack or bakery item.
Ulrick & Short’s complex range of functional proteins enables manufacturers to make ‘high in/source of protein’ claims. They also impart functional benefits such as bringing a softness or structure to the end product.
The company’s avanté range enables up to 50% sugar reduction in a range of inclusions like caramels and toffee bits
It is relatively easy to replace the sweetness of sugar with sweetening agents, however, as sugar is a highly functional ingredient, sweetness is not the only factor to consider. Sugar also is key for volume, viscosity, mouthfeel, structure, colour, aroma, preservation and texture. The avanté range is a functional sugar replacement solution, meaning it replaces the volume, body, structure and texture that sugar provides.
The delyte range enables up to a 30% fat reduction in inclusions like truffle pieces.
delyte is Ulrick & Short’s range of fat mimetics that provide functional components like body, mouthfeel, indulgence and structure. The range is generally based on tapioca, which is more rounded and smoother than alternative starches, providing a creamy mouthfeel.
Finally, Ulrick & Short’s synergie range of thickeners and stabilisers has been developed to disperse inclusions more evenly throughout bakery items.
Depending on processing and cooking conditions, the synergie range can provide the viscosity within a batter to prevent inclusions slipping to the bottom of the product.
Ulrick & Short’s ingredient portfolio is plant-based and non-GM, with many also being allergen-free.