"Polydextrose prebiotic fiber can be easily added to milks, smoothies and other dairy-based foods. With meal replacement beverages for the breakfast space, you can deliver the synergistic combination of probiotics and prebiotics. While probiotics are a common fixture at the breakfast table in yogurt and fermented beverages like kefir [where they occur naturally], they're migrating into other breakfast foods as consumers learn about their digestive health and immune benefits." Synergizing probiotics and prebiotics can provide benefit to products for which they are new ingredients, enhance nutritional profiles and improving texture.
For probiotics to deliver a health benefit, they must remain live and active, as well as be included at a particular level of potency. Target levels have been established through research studies that demonstrate efficacy.
When formulating with probiotics, typical challenges that need to be considered are elevated temperatures in processing and storage, and low pH. Other factors that can influence survivability include: water activity, oxygen content, metabolic carbohydrates, mechanical stress during processing, impact from other additives (colors, flavors, salt, etc.) and inoculation practices.
"For probiotics to survive processing, they should be added at a point in the process when there are no more heating steps and the product has been cooled," says Dorko. "Distribution and storage temperatures should then be in the refrigeration range. If pH can be adjusted up [typically to >3.8], survivability can be greatly enhanced. At lower pH levels, high overages could be necessary to achieve desired shelflife." DuPont Danisco promotes its Howaru brand of probiotics that remain stable in most applications, so they can be delivered intact at the target levels.
Ganeden Biotech Inc. (www.ganedenlabs.com), Mayfield Heights, Ohio, also provides a line of probiotic bacteria, including its GanedenBC30. The proprietary strain of Bacillus coagulans is a spore form that gives it high stability. It's able to withstand the manufacturing processes typical in breakfast product manufacturing, such as baking and boiling, freezing and refrigeration and high pressure applications like extrusion and roll forming.
GanedenBC30 also survives the high acid/bile conditions in the gut. No refrigeration is needed and it can be used in products with shelflife ratings of up to two years. It is GRAS, kosher and non-GMO. The spore-forming bacterium, once germinated, produces lactic acid, thus supporting good bacteria in the digestive system that compete and supersede non-beneficial bacteria.
While these multifaceted methods of improving the breakfast table offerings are becoming rules rather than exceptions in product formulation, the ultimate goal is for the consumer to get a healthier start to a busy day.