Bakery trends: healthy bread is on the rise

Steve Sutton-Wild of Brenntag UK & Ireland shares his opinion on health trends in bakery segments

The bakery category is a vitally important part in any store offering.

Bakery remains an essential part of most consumer diets, with virtually every household buying into it. Consumption trends in bakery are largely driven by external factors that are common across most food — concerns about healthy eating or the “Macro Trend of Health” being one of the key issues.

Breads that are focused on health and diet have found a new lease of life, with seeded breads, diet or low calorie breads performing especially well. Some categories have reported growth of up to 20%.

The increasing demand for natural bakery products that contain ingredients such as fibre and whole grains is expected to fuel the demand for bakery products, as dietary fibre helps to reduce obesity, maintain optimum blood sugar levels and help consumers to effectively manage their energy levels.

The ongoing rise in daily intake of dietary fibre products will significantly benefit the bakery industry, which is predicted to emerge as the fastest growing sector in dietary fibre market during the forecast period.

Chicory root fibre is rapidly becoming the favoured choice, with its clean labelling and ability to replace sugar, and the addition of fibre: the European bakery market has seen in the region of 228 product launches in the last 12 months with Inulin, oligofructose or chicory root fibre labelled on packaging; of these launches, 11% was in the UK (Sensus, 2016).

Chicory fibre has the ability to replicate the bulking, functionality and texture that sugar provides. It offers a natural sweetness with less than half the calories of sugar, making it the ideal product to reduce the amount of processed sugar in bakery products. By targeting cake bases, fillings, icing or toppings in combination, sugar reduction targets can be achieved with little or no detriment to taste.

Fat reduction in bakery products has always presented a challenge, as high fat levels give most products the best taste experience.

Again, chicory root fibre and cellulose gum have the ability to mimic both the effect of fat in bakery products and provide fat mimetic. Pastry fat reduction can be achieved by targeting the base, filling, icing or topping of a product in combination.

Small Fat reductions from each component can provide good total reduction without too much impact on taste.

Salt is essential for food microbial safety, taste quality and texture. During the bread making process, salt is crucial not only for taste but also to provide a technological function within the “gluten forming proteins” during the mixing stage.

The flour proteins glutenin and gliadin rely on salt to knit them together to form a cohesive gluten structure that is capable of trapping carbon dioxide during fermentation/proving stage. More importantly, without adequate salt, the gluten matrix will not stretch effectively as the dough is rising.

Bread produced with salt levels much below 1% results in bread with a very poor coarse grey texture with a taste like cardboard.

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