Breakfast Trends: New Ingredients Help Wake America Up

Substitute new ingredients to make 'the most important meal' even healthier.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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In contrast, branded breakfast bars, the No. 2 segment at about half the size, decelerated over the past four years, posting a 0.4 percent decline to $495.9, but private label advances were in the double digits in each of the past four years.

NutraFlora is a short-chain fructooligosaccharide (scFOS) derived from beet or cane sugar using a natural fermentation method, resulting in 95 percent scFOS. It is heat stable and non-reducing, does not undergo Maillard reaction in the presence of protein and heat, so it prevents excessive browning in baked goods. Slightly sweet, and with only 1.5kcal/g, it can be used in reduced-sugar and reduced-calorie applications.

"As a prebiotic fiber, NutraFlora is ideal for inclusion into breakfast foods [including] cereal and breakfast bars," says Loretta Kelly, product manager for health and nutrition. "With long-term consumption, NutraFlora prebiotic fiber may help to support overall health benefits related to increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut."

NutraFlora passes intact through the upper gastrointestinal tract, arriving in the colon where it is fermented by beneficial bacteria into short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). The production of SCFA is associated with enhanced mineral absorption and improved digestive and immune health, she says.

Supported by more than 200 studies highlighting its health benefits for bone, digestive and immune health, "NutraFlora has been known to increase beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract with as little as 1g per day," Kelly adds.

NutraFlora provides a variety of meaningful claim opportunities at low inclusion levels, adds Juliana Zeiher, business development manager. "It can be easily incorporated into a wide variety of applications without negatively impacting the finished product. It delivers numerous functional advantages, such as water-binding for texture improvement, extended shelf-life and moisture retention. Its non-viscous nature allows it to be incorporated into the mixing stage in extruded products.

Alternatively, it can also be sprayed onto extruded cereal, helping to improve coating adhesion. In non-yeast leavened baked goods, NutraFlora can be incorporated into the batter or dough prior to mixing," she explains.

She says many popular breakfast foods are fortified with this effective prebiotic. "Foods enhanced with NutraFlora can be identified by the green leaf seal on product packaging, and include such better-for-you products as Barbara's Bakery cereals, DeWaflebakker's frozen waffles and pancakes and Monkey Brains granola bars and oatmeal."

"For food processors, blueberries are a smart breakfast food ingredient, not only because of their clean-label consumer appeal and flavor; but also for their ease of formulation and year-round availability in many convenient formats [whole, fresh or dried, freeze-dried, as puree, concentrate, juice, etc.]," says Thomas Payne, industry specialist for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (www.blueberry.org) Folsom, Calif.

"Blueberries are a natural with breakfast options from blueberry bagels and pancakes, to blueberry pastries and blueberry breakfast bars," he continues. Aside from their versatility in product categories — yogurt, dairy, beverages or baked goods — Payne points out their synergy with so many other ingredients from sweet to spicy to savory.

"Blueberries are synergistic with oats, amaranth, buckwheat, chia, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff, kamut, farro, spelt, etc.," he says. "With heightened interest in gluten-free products, blueberries are a popular ingredient; their presence lends the gluten-free formulations a homey and old-fashioned attraction. Blueberries can serve as the basis for vegan bars and other special diet bars. They are also compatible with nuts and seeds."

There are lots of good things to add to breakfast products, but there remain two key ingredients to eliminate: trans fats and saturated fats.

"Monsanto has been working on a new low saturate high oleic soybean, Vistive Gold, that will soon be commercialized," says Philippe Ballet, food business development director of St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. "Vistive Gold (www.vistivegold.com) is significantly lower in saturated fat than palm oil (85 percent less), fry shortening (70 percent less), soybean oil (percent less) and even high oleic sunflower oil (percent less)," he explains.

"This oil will be applicable for a variety of heavy-duty frying and baking applications and as a spray oil and blending component," explains Ballet. "We are not claiming that we are going to make donuts a healthy food, but we can make them healthier."

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