The growing market is focused on less un-healthy ingredients instead of more healthier ones.
The market for natural bakery and confectionary products and ingredients is consistently growing today due to health-conscious trends and research. Confectionaries, which are well-known as candies and chocolates and bakeries, which we all know are oven-baked goods, most of the time made with some sort of sweeter, have similar if not the same ingredients. People all over the globe indulge in sweets without glancing at the label, however, more consumers, especially parents, are becoming aware of the negative affects that cookies and gummy bears can have on their children’s health.
“Confectionery is traditionally a market for indulgence where visual appearance, taste and texture play a decisive role,” explained Leslie Lannebere, business manager of New Jersey-based Naturex Inc., an ingredient supplier that makes natural candy coatings in a variety of colors. “The functional confectionary market represents 5 percent of the total confectionary market in 2014 in North America and has registered 4. 2 percent of the market value since 2012,” she said. In sugar confectionary, ‘all natural’ is an important attribute for 45 percent of consumers, Lannebere noted, followed by sugar reduction and calorie reduction (more than 40 percent), according to The Global New Products Database (GNPD).
David Janow, CEO of Axiom Foods in California, said he believes that nutritional functional ingredients target a niched audience such as the food allergy market and that “instead of more of something healthy in their treats, consumers tend to want less of something unhealthy, such as sugar, wheat flour, fat, etc., as long as taste is not compromised,” he said. Fruity flavors and all natural are a hot topic in the confectionary market. Because of this, fruit powders are taking the place of synthetic flavors since it verifies “real fruit content,” Lannebere said.
Taking control of this matter, companies are replacing ingredients with a variety of extracts, such as Szechuan pepper and Brazil cress that are being made known for confectionary applications. “Consumers welcome the change with enthusiasm: the number and variety of new product launches shows that people are looking for products with a sugar-free promise that provide health benefits–from simple antioxidant benefits to the more sophisticated energy trend,” Lannebere continued.
The downside to switching to nutritionally functional ingredients is the cost factor. If you compare a regular muffin to a muffin with benefits and healthier substitutes, you will find that a regular muffin is more cost efficient. This can be a challenge for consumers and bakeries. “Bakeries operate on such small margins,” Janow said, “and typically source such low cost ingredients, it could be a challenge to absorb the cost of a protein or other nutritional ingredients.” Although the price of ingredients is a factor in confectionaries, Lannebere said the real challenge is finding a compromise between enjoyment and health benefits. “Moms particularly pay close attention to what their children eat and are anxious to choose candies that are more in line with their viewpoint.”
Consumers are becoming more aware of the gluten-free, fiber and protein trends, in bakery, as well as confectionary, fiber enrichment is a key area of interest, said Joseph O’Neill, president and general manager of New Jersey-based BENEO Inc. People lack in the amount of fiber intake, which is why they are on the hunt for fiberenriched food. To resolve this issue, naturally derived, non-GMO (genetically modified organism) dietary fibers, such as BENEO’s inulin and oligofructose allow manufacturers to take best advantage.
“For example, 73 percent of consumers in the U.S. try to get at least a minimum amount of fiber in their diet,” O’Neill added. In a recent study by Tarte & Lyle’s Latest Research Finding: Consumers Want the Nutritional Punch of Fiber in Their Favorite Foods and Beverages, shows that nine out of 10 parents think that fiber is a key nutrient to include in their children’s diet, and more than 85 percent of parents believe fiber is important in their own diets as well.
According to Janow, protein is the third most popular nutrient people are looking to consume, and four out of 10 people deliberately buy products with more protein. In addition, breakfast baked products, such as muffins, waffles and pancakes have become the most popular nutritionally functional food, explained Jim Berg, vice president of HORN FoodTech in California. For example, waffles provide functional benefits by including ancient grains, fiber, antioxidant-rich fruits and added protein. “The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) has been promoting the benefits of a high protein breakfast, plus dietitians and weight-loss product manufacturers have been promoting protein as part of a weight-management program, helping curb hunger between breakfast and lunch,” Berg said.
As for gluten-free products, consumers have become interested because of perceived health and weight-loss benefits. GNPD shows that 72 percent of people who purchase gluten-free products have not been diagnosed with celiac disease. However, “If manufacturers are going to maximize the potential of consumers ‘healthy mindset’ toward gluten free, then they need to ensure that their products not only have a range of healthy attributes, but are convenient and offer an equivalent taste, texture and nutritional profile,” O’Neill said. According to GNPD, between 2011 and 2013, there has been a steady increase in gluten-free claims for sugar confectionary in the U.S. and Canada. “BENEO’s specialty rice ingredients, such as rice starch and rice flour, help manufacturers to develop gluten-free products with exceptional texture, structure and improved shelf life, while maintaining great taste,” O’Neill said.
What’s In It?
“In the bakery segment, several innovative ingredients are starting to be used in order to substitute for more traditional ingredients,” Berg said. “These would include AlgaVia Whole Algal Flour to replace butter and eggs. Citrus Fiber is also being used in bakery items to allow removal of egg from a formulation.”
Palatinose and isomalt are two functional prebiotic fibers included in confectionery products that have beneficial effects on digestive health, weight management and blood glucose levels. They can help enrich products with fiber as well as acting as a sugar replacer and can be easily incorporated into cookies, cakes, breads, fatbased fillings and candies, O’Neill said. Both are made from pure beet sugar, however, they have different qualities. Palatinose provides the same 4 kcal/g energy as sugar but doesn’t cause a “crash” like common sugars such as sucrose, and can also be used in glazes and icings for extended shelf life. Isomalt contains only half the calories of sucrose and allows for claims such as sugar-free, sugar-reduced, non- GMO, low glycemic and tooth friendly.
“A growing trend in the confectionery industry is the use of botanical extracts for their flavoring properties and health benefits,” Lannebere added. “Antioxidant, energy and breath freshening are the three most popular claims in the northern America.” A few of the extracts include acerola and rose hip extract, which are natural sources of vitamin C, along with lemon balm and guarana extract, which provide healthy support for brain function.
In baked goods, Axiom offers Vegotein pea protein, Orzatein brown rice protein, Oryzolait rice milk and Avenolait oat milk powder. Pea protein adds functional claims and texture. However, only rice protein is suitable for the food allergen market because of pea protein’s connection to legume allergies.
In addition, vitamins, omega-3, CoQ10 and inulin are being used by HORN for making nutritional gummies.
Berkeley, CA Voters Approve Sugar Tax
A recent example of the public’s concern with sugar reduction, on Election Day, November 4, 2014, Berkeley, CA became the first U.S. city to pass a law taxing sugary drinks, Berkeley’s Measure D. The proposition called for a 1-cent-per-ounce general tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and sweeteners used in flavored drinks, such as soda. More than three-quarters of the votes cast were in favor of Measure D, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. It only needed a majority of “yes” votes to pass.
In nearby San Francisco, city voters rejected a similar measure to tax sugary drinks. The measure needed two-thirds of the vote to approve the two-cent tax.
Measure D focuses on the distribution of sugary soda, energy drinks, juice with added sugar, and syrups that go into sugary drinks at cafes such as Starbucks.
One hundred percent juice and drinks with milk as the primary ingredient are exempt because of their nutritional value. Diet soda is exempt because it does not have added sugar, and alcohol is exempt because it is already taxed.
Supporters of the act said it is intended to discourage excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by increasing the price of these products and by creating a dedicated revenue source for programs and research designed to reduce the human and economic costs of diabetes, obesity, dental caries and other diet-related health conditions in priority populations.
Axiom Foods, Inc., (310) 264-2606
HORN FoodTech, (714) 523-8050
Naturex Inc., (201) 440-5000
BENEO Inc., (973) 867-2140
The growing market is focused on less un-healthy ingredients instead of more healthier ones.