A crucial aspect of successful reformulation is keeping the final sensory profile in mind
Reformulation is an ongoing issue for manufacturers. Food and drink recipes are frequently changed for several reasons, such as adapting them to meet regional taste preferences, to improve the supply chain, reduce costs and/ or achieve (c)lean label status. With a healthy diet growing in popularity and the use of Nutri Score Labelling in more and more European countries, improving an end product’s nutritional profile is at the very heart of reformulation. Plus, with the booming plantbased- market, the veganization of formulations is also high on many manufacturers’ agendas. But it’s not just about leaving undesired ingredients out and replacing them with “good” ones, it’s a complex task that involves balancing the desired sensory profi le with consumer acceptance. GoodMills Innovation is an expert in reformulating existing recipes and supports manufacturers with its expertise and highquality clean label ingredients. Jürgen Senneka, Head of Product Development & Application at GoodMills Innovation, talks about challenges and solutions.
COVID-19 has markedly demonstrated just how perilous diet-related diseases can be: obesity and diabetes both exacerbate the effects of the virus and increase the probability of a more severe pathophysiology and likelihood of mortality. Almost universally, health experts recommend that we reduce our dietary intake of sugar, salt and fat to combat nutritionrelated diseases. Given the widely acknowledged fact that changing eating behaviors is difficult for most consumers, there is regulatory pressure on the food industry to “healthify” their products. Many manufacturers are aware of their responsibility and offer optimized choices.
CHALLENGE 1: CUTTING SUGAR
Sugar has both vital sensory and technological functions. Besides providing a sweet taste profile, it also acts as a flavour carrier. Technologically, it facilitates the fermentation of yeast in baked goods, provides body and has a preservative role. When reducing the amount of specific ingredients in recipes, the mass of this particular component always has to be compensated.
“Let’s say you have a cake with a sugar content of 20%. If you switch to a zero-mass sweetener, you have to find a solution to balance out this gap. Dietary fiber works well here.”
Here, GoodMills Innovation offers different solutions. On one hand, their HIGH MAC dietary fiber is based on bran, which is micronized and contains natural wheat fiber, minerals, vitamins and secondary plant constituents. Owing to the very fine particles (less than 100 μm), an appealing texture is achievable that also provides body. On the other hand, SnowWheat is a fl our made from specific whole grain variants (White Wheat) that delivers a mild, white-flour-like taste profile.
Both options provide a good working base to create a well-rounded sweet sensory profile and a fullbody texture, all while enriching baked goods with dietary fiber. Depending on the product concept, GoodMills Innovation’s experts are on hand to help customers with their reformulation processes. Depending on the dosage, for example, manufacturers may be able to use nutritional claims such as “source of fiber” or “high in fiber”. When using a labelling system such as NutriScore, enhancing the fi ber content is a good way to achieve a better nutritional ranking. Possible applications are biscuits, cakes, filled wafers, granolabars and yeast-raised products such as brioche.
CHALLENGE 2: CUTTING SALT
As with sugar, salt also plays important sensory and technological roles in baked goods. It supports a full- bodied mouthfeel and augments the perception of sweetness. From a technological perspective, it strongly influences the dough composition. The interaction of salt ions with the gluten impacts the yeast’s gas formation. Overall, these interactions affect dough composition and both the crust and crumb of the final baked product.
To compensate for the lack of salt, flavor enhancers can be used to improve the sensory profile. Baking agents can offset both the organoleptic and technological effects of sodium reduction. By contrast, though, flavor enhancers and baking improvers are likely to introduce additives to the ingredients list. Natural options to improve the flavor of bread include adding sourdough, wheat bran, wheat germ or ingredients such as herbs or dried vegetables.
“Within our Slow Milling range, we have a number of flavor-enhancing offerings, such as baking enzymes, malted ingredients, coarse meals, sprouts, seeds and flakes. Our huge selection of tailored natural ingredients can be thought of as a modular system. And, because of the way we gently process the raw materials, using traditional methods such as fermentation, the ingredients score with a multifaceted sensory profile that adds value to baked goods and compensates for a certain amount of taste loss.”
Within the German bread market, for example, the baking industry managed to achieve consumer acceptance with low-sodium products. Today, there’s rarely a packed bread with more than 1.1% salt available, which is a reduction of approximately 10-15% compared to some ten years ago.
CHALLENGE 3: VEGANIZING RECIPES
With the plant-based market skyrocketing, vegan versions of classic baked goods are increasingly in demand. And whereas vegan varieties of rustic baked goods such as breads, bread rolls and pretzels are frequently available, the fine baked good market is a trickier hurdle to overcome. Likewise, although dairy product ingredients such as butter can be easily replaced with margarine and oil, and plant based alternatives are available for milk and quark, finding a proper replacement for eggs is an ongoing challenge for cake manufacturers.
One approach is to use protein flours based on lupins, chickpeas, lentils or soy, for example. This is not a new concept and, prior to the plantbased trend, was previously done to keep costs down. When it comes to doughs for pound cakes and biscuits, this works really. But if a foam-stable dough is needed, such as for sponge cakes, then the options are limited because of thermostability issues. It’s certainly possible to use plantbased hydrocolloids — but these do come with the downside of adding E-numbers to the formulation.
“Veganizing formulations is an exciting fi eld and one that will keep us busy in the next few years. As experts in baked good applications and pioneers in clean label, we’re doing comprehensive research into appropriate solutions.”
SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK
In most examples, it’s not just a matter of removing one ingredient; it’s about balancing a number of different components to achieve the required result. GoodMills Innovation’s approach is to maintain the original ingredient list as much as possible and find smart alternatives from within our vast portfolio that complement the overall matrix. There are exceptions, of course; sometimes an original recipe can be optimized by eliminating E-numbers. In such instances, we’ll take a two- pronged approach and address both issues at the same time. Thanks to our extensive clean label experience and array of ingredients, this can usually be done without sacrificing either taste or functionality.