Suzanne Callander reports on some of the ingredient choices that can help turn morning goods and breakfast bar snacks into the healthy but indulgent products that are being demanded by consumers today.
During the years of the Covid-19 pandemic, when more people across the globe had an opportunity to eat breakfast at home, ‘the most important meal of the day’ once again became more of an institution. In the UK, consumers started to eat breakfast more frequently, according to a Whitepaper produced by Delifrance. Today, as the world leaves behind the lockdowns that were associated with the pandemic, the out-of-home breakfast market is growing, but reflecting many other food industry sectors, consumers are still looking for healthy but indulgent options. They are looking for something that feels like a treat, but that also offers health benefits. Morning goods that tick both of these boxes are the most likely to be successful.
Flavour innovation and taste are key when it comes to the purchase of morning goods, with sustainability parameters and health claims also driving purchases, according to Tricia Hayes, Senior Director, Global Business Development, Emulsifiers, Texturants and Gum Acacia at Kerry. She also highlighted the importance of product shelf-life and the benefits of functional enzyme solutions in relation to improving texture and reducing food waste. “When it comes to packaged goods, most waste comes as a result of shelf-life, which is tied to freshness and staling,” she says. “Increasing shelf life, without affecting taste or texture requires a multi-perspective approach – it is possible to improve shelf life but if the taste and visual appearance of the product does not remain good too, then it will be pointless.”
For bakeries, measuring food waste across the supply chain can be a challenge, as can calculating the monetary value of adding additional shelf-life days or reducing staling in bakery items. “However,
significant value should be associated with unlocking longer shelf life in baked goods, as it can reduce retail returns and may improve consumer and geographic reach without needing to expand production sites,” points out Tricia.
Kerry’s functional, clean label enzyme technologies are said to provide a solution. “Enzymes can optimise raw material performance, despite varying/seasonal quality. They can enhance production efficiencies, improve softness and moistness over shelf life, thereby reducing the sensory perception of staleness,” explains Tricia. “As processing aids, enzymes can reduce the need for additives, helping to clean up ingredient declarations, lower energy requirements during manufacturing, and reduce food loss and food waste. They can also enhance dough handling, improve raw material affordability, and sustainably improve finished baked products over extended shelf life.”
Although white bread is the most popular bread globally, its low fibre content gives it a poor mark on the nutrition scale. “Added to white bread, Kerry’s acacia fibre can provide up to a 300% increase in fibre per serving when compared with non-fortified white bread – a level that approximates the fibre content of whole wheat,” says Tricia. “Importantly, sensory and texture analysis results confirm that taste and aroma are unaffected, as are loaf volume, softness, crumb and crust colour and there is little impact on dough rheology, making it easy for bakers to handle.”
Acacia fibre as an ingredient also fits well into breakfast bars and cereals categories, with consumers seeking digestive health benefits. Here, acacia fibre can help improve nutritional profiles in these categories for manufacturers looking to optimise their nutri-scores and fortify with fibre. “While delivering a high concentration of soluble dietary fibre, acacia fibre also supports an overall reduction of sugar by working as a binder to partially replace sugary syrups. It also helps prevent dry mouthfeel over shelf life — a common challenge of bars and cereals/granola — by maintaining moisture balance,” explains Tricia.
A good addition
With fibre being the number one ingredient that consumers want to add to their diets to help provide satiety and aid with digestion, it remains a good addition to morning goods. Clara Faustina, Senior Manager, Category Marketing Sweet Goods EMEA at ADM, highlighted a range of soluble dietary fibre ingredients which has been shown to support factors relevant to gut and digestive health, with clinical studies indicating that it promotes the growth of gut microbes positively associated with health. “At 3.75 grams per serving, a clinical study showed ADMs soluble fibre can help nourish intestinal microbiota and support the intestinal tract environment. Moreover, research studies demonstrate that 10 grams of our soluble fibre with a meal may stimulate the production of satiety hormones associated with delayed post-meal hunger in healthy adults,” she says.
ADM also offers a range of botanical extracts, standardised plant extracts. Botanical extracts such as guarana, green coffee and yerba mate can provide natural sources of caffeine, which may deliver support for cognitive performance or fatigue reduction.
Clara went on to point out that postbiotics and spore-forming probiotics are also trending in the bakery and snack space, due to their ability to withstand processing conditions often encountered there, such as high-heat. She says: “Heat-treated postbiotic versions of ADM’s proprietary Bifidobacterium longum and its Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis, are designed to be added to a wide range of formulations – regardless of moisture content or heat application during production – due to the robustness of the postbiotic strains. Data also suggest that our Bifidobacterium longum has the potential to help support digestive and gastrointestinal health, as well as gut function, in both non-gluten-sensitive and gluten-sensitive individuals. Further, ADMs spore-forming probiotic Bacillus subtilis is able to retain its functionality despite challenging processing conditions that may otherwise damage conventional probiotics.”
According to the latest 2023 Taste Tomorrow research from Puratos, over half of European consumers prioritise taste and freshness when buying bread and pastries. In north America, taste is the most important factor – cited by 61% of bread buyers and 68% of pastry buyers – as it is in Asia Pacific. When it comes to purchasing pastries, freshness (45%) is even more important than taste (39%) for Middle Eastern and African consumers. But cost is never far from mind either: globally, it’s now the second strongest influence on pastry purchasing decisions. North and South America are the most cost-conscious regions overall across the bread and pastry sectors.
So, how can bakers deliver on, or exceed, consumer expectations relating to taste and freshness, while remaining cost-effective themselves? According to Philippa Knight, Marketing Director at Puratos UK, the right approach requires strategic decisions to be made about both ingredients and production processes. “Manufacturers have been hugely affected by the fluctuating prices and availability of eggs this year, for example,” she says. “Egg-free alternatives can offer a solution here, as long as they are able to deliver good colour and shine. Puratos offers a solution that is able to glaze 10% more products than traditional liquid eggs. Egg replacers can also reduce costs in egg-enriched products, while retaining the indulgent taste consumers expect. Solutions are available, for example, that allow 10kg of eggs to be replaced with just 2kg of egg replacer and 8kg of water.”
Puratos’ recently-launched Brioche concentrate mix is also said to offer cost and health advantages. It has been developed using an enzyme-based improver that helps with fat reduction and egg replacement. “The concentrate can be used with a lower amount of fat, when compared with a traditional brioche recipe,” says Philippa. “This offers cost savings due to reduced egg content. Of course, manufacturers do have the option of adding egg and higher levels of butter to the concentrate, if they wish to produce a richer, more indulgent product.”
Puratos can also offer a plant-based butter alternative that is said to be up to three times more sustainable than traditional butter, according to life cycle analysis. It replicates the taste and melting experience of butter while being completely additive-free, so can help bakeries tick both the clean label and indulgent boxes when it comes to the creation of morning goods.
Mixing it up
When consumers have breakfast – whether at home or while on the go and whether it’s a weekday or a weekend treat – they increasingly want a meal option that is indulgent but that also involves healthier products, particularly bread and bakery products.
Morning goods producers who have recognised this trend are tweaking their recipes to create breakfast products that meet the demand for healthier options.
Michael Schofield, Marketing Manager at British Bakels, pointed out that the growing consumer awareness, in relation to health and wellbeing, has fuelled a surge in demand for bread which can deliver health and nutritional benefits.
British Bakels’ nutrient-packed Country Oven bread mix is said to provide a solution here. It is suitable for vegans and provides a good source of fibre. “The Country Oven Multiseed Bread Concentrate contains pumpkin, linseed and sunflower seeds, wheat bran and oat flakes, giving extra bite to this darker style of bread. Producing a coarser, open texture, bakers can consolidate their ingredients with this concentrate, making artisan bread, as well as rolls, cookies, scones and more from one mix. It provides a good source of fibre, protein, folate, supporting the immune system, and iron, supporting the metabolism,” says Michael. “Country Oven Golden Grains Bread Concentrate offers a blend of chia and quinoa ancient grains, boosted with sunflower, linseed, and turmeric Golden Grains is a source of fibre, protein, copper, supporting the nervous system, and folate and iron, reducing tiredness and fatigue.”
Of course, another important area that morning goods need to be able to address is the trend for plant-based and vegan offerings. “The past year has seen a 10% rise in bakery snack sales, with the increases driven by the sector’s focus on healthy options, including vegan alternative,” says Michael. “Not only have we seen a 400% growth in the vegan sector over the past five years, for reasons beyond ethics, but other health and diet trends have emerged, and stayed put, particularly gluten free and dairy-free.”
Dairy free is an increasingly important consideration because, according to a report by Bupa, around one-in-10 older children and adults are thought to have lactose intolerance and cannot properly digest lactose. The best way for bakers to address this demand is by offering vegan options, as all vegan foods are inherently dairy-free.
Discussing yet another morning goods trend, Michael touched on the subject of sourdough. “While sourdough isn’t exactly a new bakery ingredient, it has taken on a new prominence in recent times and has been one of the biggest growth areas in bread since the Covid-19 pandemic, and is highly relevant to the breakfast occasion, whether in or out of home.”
British Bakels offers a range of sourdough products developed to assist bakers in efficiently producing a variety of artisanal style bakery offerings. “From a baker’s perspective, convenience and skills are key considerations when producing products containing sourdough,” says Michael. “Our sourdoughs offer a way to add flavour to artisanal-style breads. They allow bakers to experiment with different combinations of wheat, spelt, rye and speciality sours, to deliver signature loaves for a value-seeking consumer. In line with industry trends, bakers are also using our sourdough spreads across a range of other bread products for the breakfast occasion, including crumpets, rolls and bagels.”
The notion that ‘breakfast is most important meal of the day’ continues to resonate with many consumers, despite the fact that the reality of busy schedules today often hinders the ability for many to freshly prepare a meal in the morning. Indeed, according to a report from FMCG Gurus, 75% of global consumers say they prioritise convenience at breakfast time, looking for products that allow them to kickstart their day whilst providing satiety.
The ‘snackification’ of meals trend therefore bodes well for producers of morning goods, who are able to provide consumers with breakfast options such as grab-and-go bars and baked snack clusters, combined with wholesome ingredients that can provide protein and fibre in a convenient, portable format.
Editor: Kiran Grewal email@example.com