Then there's the issue of mouthfeel in low-fat products. "A new normal may be just around the corner where product developers start with the goal of producing a delicious lower-calorie and healthier product, even though the product will not necessarily be labeled as low or reduced fat," says Janelle Litel, marketing director at Gum Technology Corp. (www.gumtech.com), Tucson, Ariz. "More products will be developed that have a rich, moist mouthfeel, but are still low in fat."
Gum Technology, naturally, works mostly with gums to lend this mouthfeel to low-fat products. A key solution is Coyote Brand Fat Replacer, designed to reduce fat in a wide range of applications. "It can be used to replace up to 50 percent of butter, shortening or margarine in baked goods like cookies or cakes, while providing texture and adding fiber into the system," she says. "This translates into products with lower cholesterol and/or trans-fat content."
But her company is exploring another route. "Gum Technology and Fiberstar Inc. (www.citir-fi.com) have combined their expertise and ingredients to develop a new generation of texturizers, called Hydro-Fi, that combine Coyote Brand hydrocolloids and Citri-Fi citrus fiber. One of the new texturizers, called Hydro-Fi CXA-0823, helps bind water to create a moist cake with great texture and mouthfeel. It also improves emulsification and can replace up to 50 percent of eggs in cakes."
Healthy and indulgent not mutually exclusive
"We're seeing a couple of trends tied to what we're calling healthy indulgence," says Beth Peta, bakery marketing manager for Minneapolis-based Cargill/Horizon Milling (a joint venture of Cargill and CHS Inc.).
"First, we're seeing continued interest in mini options, bite-sized cookies, brownies and muffins, which allows for customization and portion control. Also, we're seeing the addition of functional ingredients into bakery items to add the health benefits of dark chocolate, nuts, fiber, grains and fruit. Better nutritionals and added convenience are a must in both these trends."
Cargill/Horizon Milling recently created two prototypes incorporating these trends. Whole Wheat Indulgent Snack Rolls are whole-wheat yeast dough rolled around a sticky sweet filling much like a jelly roll. The fillings can be fruits, such as apple or raisins, exotic spices or chocolate. It can be rolled in grains or seeds before baking to add interest and a crunchy texture. The key is WheatSelect white spring whole-wheat flour, a good source of fiber -- 3g per 50g (two pieces).
"WheatSelect gives baked products more of the lighter color, softer texture and milder flavor of traditional wheat flour," she says, but with the nutritional advantages of whole wheat.
Another prototype is a reduced fat, whole-grain muffin, which not only includes all of the benefits of whole grains but also has 33 percent less fat with 0g grams trans and no saturated fats. Plus, this prototype adds omega-3 fatty acids. "It exceeds consumer taste experience expectations," she says Peta. "It qualifies for the whole grain stamp and provides a good source of ALA omega-3."