The pandemic, too, has further bolstered their focus on overall health, and ingredients that play a role in boosting key health concerns like immunity, heart health, blood health, weight management and so forth are increasingly being used to move a simple snack or baked treat into the functional arena.
Earlier this year, DSM conducted an extensive research – interviewing over 5,000 consumers across 10 countries – to determine current and emerging food trends.
It found that over 75% of respondents check product labels, with 60% of consumers seeking out foods that are fortified with added nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein and increasingly, fatty acids.
The rationale for omega-3s
The ingredients specialist collated evidence that a large percentage of consumers are familiar with this superstar ingredient and its health benefits, backed up by more than 40,000 published studies, more than 4,000 human clinical trials.
The long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are well known for delivering proven heart, brain and eye health benefits, but a growing body of evidence shows they also help optimise immune function, as well as sports performance, positive mood and better sleep quality.
However, even with increasing knowledge of the health benefits and food sources of omega-3s, less than 20% of the world’s population consume the recommended intake of omega-3s of ≥ 250 mg/day, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to assess the health and nutritional status of Americans.
DSM’s survey found that 68% of respondents are open to trying new products that can help them improve their nutrient intake, which opens up a raft of unique selling propositions for manufacturers to differentiate their baked goods and reach the rising number of people taking a proactive approach to their wellbeing.
Omega-3s are derived from oily fish like salmon and now increasingly from micro algae, which is not only a sustainable nutrient source, but also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. DSM's patented Power-Loc technology has also created a product that is suitable for use across a range of baked goods.
BakeryandSnacks speaks to Judith van Peij, innovation manager, Baking, DSM Food Specialties, and Caroline van Benschop, product application expert, DSM Food Specialties, about the growing importance of omega-3s in baking, as well as the science associated with polyunsaturated fatty acids and the technical challenges they present.