Food Processors Work on Building Healthier Desserts

You can build healthier desserts and confections with the right ingredients.

By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., and David Feder, RD, Technical Editors

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An even bigger push came with the release of a probiotic chocolate bar from San Francisco-based Attune Foods. "The key to making this digestive-health product a hit was the use of high-grade, confectionary-quality chocolate and packaging it in a familiar, chocolate bar shape," says Annelies Zijderveld, a communications director for the Attune family of companies. And, of course, Attune associates on multiple levels with community and health and social awareness issues.

If the antioxidant-rich blueberry and pomegranate ingredients don't grab you, the probiotics in this frozen yogurt will.

How about some probiotics in your dessert? Ganeden Labs' patented bacteria strain GanedenBC30 is a spore-forming probiotic bacterium, meaning that inside the bacterial cell is a hardened structure, or spore that safeguards the cell's genetic material from the heat and pressure of manufacturing processes. As a result, BC30 has been added to chocolate (via an Agostoni Chocolate private label product) and to frozen desserts (via Pierre's Ice Cream Co.'s Yovation frozen yogurt).

As one of the most important health-building ingredients studied, omega oils have been high on everyone's list of must-adds. But this posed a problem for confectioners. Even the most stringent purification has left enough off-taste in some omega ingredients to be anathema to sweets. Who wants a fishy chocolate cookie, after all? But as purification and encapsulation technology has improved, the ability to add omegas to dessert items has gained both capability and attraction.

Omega Protein Corp., Houston, makes a super-refined, long-chain omega-3 in a balanced EPA and DHA fish oil ingredient: OmegaPure. It's stabilized with antioxidant blends based on rosemary and vitamin E as tocopherol. The solution provides for both oxidative stability and a clean label and is suitable for bakery products, confectionary and dairy-based desserts.

Taking it a step further into sweet indulgence territory, the company formed a partnership with New Braunfels, Texas-based Custom Ingredients Ltd. to develop the OmegaBits line of bits made from all-natural flavor concentrates with omega-3 fatty acids. Chocolate and yogurt toppings have been added in order to include coated grains and small clusters specifically customized to allow for varying textures, appearance and "flavor bursts."

The customization extends to accommodating particular nutritional requirements and can encompass combinations of nuts, seeds, fruit concentrates or powders and even be certified organic.

There is more than ample evidence that consumers are buying in with gusto the notion of desserts and confections that bring a healthy boost to their lives.

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