Fortify baked goods with omega-3s to capitalise on the better-for-you boom

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pics: GettyImages
Pics: GettyImages

Related tags: Dsm food specialties, FMCG Gurus, Fortification, omega-3, coronavirus

Beyond freshness, convenience and great tasting baked goods, consumer demand for better-for-you options is on the rise. In fact, research by FMCG revealed that since the pandemic, 46% of consumers seek out snacks with health-boosting properties.

According to DSM consumer research, 60% of people favour foods – and even indulgent treats like baked goods – with added nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein or omega-3 fatty acids. However, changing consumer preferences and increased scrutiny on nutritional label claims remains a challenge for manufacturers.

As consumer habits and health trends begin to settle down after the  widespread disruption caused by the pandemic, the demand for products that offer strong nutritional value – obviously without compromising on taste and texture – has never been stronger.

DSM’s Future of Foods consumer survey conducted in January 20202 found that 52% of consumers are on the lookout of foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which has been recognised to optimise immunity, while 50% are turning to products that are rich in vitamins to support their overall health. This is where fortification can make a product stand out.

“With the fortified bakery market projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% between 2021 and 2026, the category holds significant growth potential,”​ said Judith van Peij, innovation manager baking of DSM food Specialities.

“Products that can replicate a familiar taste and feel with added health benefits will appeal to shoppers concerned with improving their diets and could allow manufacturers to tap into the current demand for immune boosting support. Vitamin D, for instance, offers a wealth of benefits, including optimising immunity, healthier bones and teeth, improved lung function and more.

“Meanwhile, the benefits of omega-3s docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are increasingly well-recognised, with many products like flour tortillas, waffles and bread containing these ingredients,”​ added Van Peij, adding that omega-3s EPA and DHA are noted for their role in supporting heart, eye and brain health and are more potent than fats like seed-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

“Fortifying bakery products with these essential nutrients is particularly important for consumers, as global consumer intake is below recommended levels.  But as well as this, manufacturers have an opportunity to bolster label claims and differentiate products with ‘high in omega-3’ and ‘source of vitamin D’ front-of-pack claims.”

Formulation challenges

There are, however, a number of considerations for manufacturers.

While adding nutritional ingredients like omega-3s and vitamins to baked goods does not typically change the rheological profile of applications, recipe adjustments like water correction may be needed if the ingredients are in powder form.

The fortification process also presents a range of sensory challenges, depending on the nutrients used.

For example, vitamin D fortification has no impact on the flavour and mouthfeel of baked goods, but omega-3s derived from marine-based oils may cause off-notes that can impact the sensory profile of applications due to processing and interaction with other ingredients. Meanwhile, fatty acids and vitamins can lose potency during production or across shelf life, and some nutritional ingredients, like vitamin D, are sensitive to light exposure and may lose potency during heating.

“DSM’s experienced technical team can help bread and bakery producers navigate these challenges and determine the right mixture of functional ingredients and solutions,”​ said Van Peij.

She noted that DSM has an algae-based omega-3 and a fish oil-derived omega-3 that can help producers overcome these obstacles, and still deliver on texture and taste.

“Bakery producers can differentiate their offerings and, in turn, create products that stand out on shelves. For example, DSM’s algae-based alternative to fish oil contains a minimum of 500mg/d of EPA and DHA, making it a potent solution for those looking for a vegan, Kosher and Halal alternative.

“Meanwhile, the company’s fish oil-derived omega-3 is available in both oil and powder formats, which will have no significant impact on taste, texture, or appearance, even when used in combination with other ingredients.

“When fortified with our range of functional ingredients, baked goods can help boost nutrition and immunity, supporting trending consumer health concerns,”​ ended Van Peij.

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