Gut health brings low-carb bakery out of the shadows
Bakers face one of the best opportunities to capture a larger share of consumers’ shopping carts, as low-carb diets have reduced their sales. A growing awareness that good gut health means more than digestive comfort has the potential to drive bakery innovation to a higher level of sophistication.
Market intelligence agency Mintel summed it up in a recent special report, noting that consumers have started to treat their bodies as an ecosystem. This prompts them to seek out functional food products that complement their personal health needs.
So where does that leave the baking industry? In a melting pot of developmental possibilities, where many of the ingredients bakers are already using can be reframed into new nutritional concepts that use gut health as a starting point.
Signe Causse, innovation marketing leader at ingredients company IFF, believes the continued increase in bread product launches with a digestive health claim is finally pulling the category out of the shadows of the low-content trend. in carbohydrates.
“Although many consumers continue to limit bread in their diet due to the carbohydrate content, bread remains one of the best targets for adding dietary fiber.” said Causse.
“In addition to supporting a well-functioning digestive system, fiber can help maintain and develop beneficial gut microflora which contributes to other aspects of health and well-being.”In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
Digestive health on the rise
Mintel’s global database of new products gives a good indication of where the bakery’s growth is heading.
Since 2016, gluten-free and other claims related to digestive health have increased steadily year on year. Sourdough products have grown in popularity with more and more mention of the addition of fiber and sprouted grains on bread labels. Launches of bread with a herbal claim are also picking up speed – for many consumers, another route to a healthier gut.
In all of these segments there is a lot of room for the development of new products. But there are challenges to overcome before bakers can make the most of these opportunities. Most of the difficulties are related to gluten – the natural wheat protein that gives bread its texture and bulk and, for some consumers, is an intolerable cause of digestive upset.
Despite improvements in baking technology, some gluten-free breads continue to stand out for their poor sensory quality. In bread recipes that contain gluten, quality issues can arise due to the influence of added fiber or sprouted grains on gluten development – a drawback that impacts the baking process.
“The technical challenges surrounding gluten mean that there is a huge space for quality improvement” said Causse.
“Although some markets – like the UK – have made major strides in developing gluten-free products, product selection remains largely poor, refrigeration is poor and the taste is generally bland,” Causse said, also noting that there are tailor-made solutions today that can now dramatically improve the chances of successful gluten replacement or restore bread dough strength if gluten is compromised.
Another challenge is the lack of fiber and the majority of consumers who prefer white bread to wholemeal bread. Here, probiotics can allow fiber enrichment and support the growth of healthy gut microflora, without altering taste and texture.
The road to personalized nutrition
Recently, new spore-forming bacteria have entered the market, offering the possibility of adding live cultures to baked goods before the baking process. Although currently focused on cereals and bars, Causse believes it is only a matter of time before the value-added potential of these and other functional ingredients is no longer widely recognized in the healthcare industry. the bakery.
She also mentions soy and pea plant proteins as opportunities to meet growing consumer demand for personalized nutrition.
“Personalized nutrition is an upcoming white space that will lead the conversation beyond gut health. We have already seen baked goods fortified with protein and vegetable inclusions as well as “fitness bread” for weight management. So it’s easy to imagine a future for baked goods that target the health of women or children, for example.In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
“Bakers should see this as an exciting opportunity to move forward.”In addition to this, you need to know more about it.