Reduced sugar rush: bakery and confectionery rise to the challenge
Sugar reduction is meeting clean label with implications that are simultaneously exciting and challenging for bakery and confectionery manufacturers. Sugar reduction is one of the most enduring industry trends, regularly appearing on the NPD agendas of food companies’. Nowhere is this more apparent than in bakery and confectionery, where reconciling indulgence and health presents an ongoing challenge.
It will usually necessitate a carefully balanced combination of ingredients – often acting synergistically – to match the functionality of sugar. For example, Brenntag has worked on projects where the texturising benefits of inulin derivatives have been combined with natural high intensity sweeteners such as stevia and polyol or erythritol for bulk. “That plays to our strengths as we have so many options in our portfolio, thanks to our extensive network of suppliers,” notes Steve Timms, Commercial Development Manager, Food & Nutrition, UK & Ireland.
Some of the ingredients that Brenntag F&N’s application experts might use include:
- Inulin: a soluble dietary fibre that allows sugar to be reduced by up to 30-40%. Inulin can be used as a partial replacement in combination with polyols or as a total sugar replacer.
- Polydextrose: by behaving like a fibre, polydextrose builds structure in confectionery products that are low in sugar without increasing the energy value.
- Polyols: maltitol, erythritol and isomalt provide bulk and a sweetening power that is almost equivalent to sugar.
- Functional starches: these can impart mouthfeel but deliver zero sweetness and have the same energy value as sugar.
- Hydrocolloids: will increase the viscosity of the mix and bind water so they may contribute to mouthfeel whilst providing a reduction in energy value. However, they deliver zero sweetness.
- Natural sugar: fruit and cereal derived syrups offer a label-friendly ingredient with a low proportion of declarable sugars.
Adeline Duchatel and her team in France recently developed a 30% less sugar muffin using wheat and barley malt syrup – a clean label ingredient that is obtained by treating sustainably sourced wheat starch with barley malt. The muffin contained just 20% declarable sugar. This did present a water activity challenge, but the team overcame it by decreasing the amount of whole egg in the recipe.
Blending the trends
Demand for reduced sugar products is universal and, on the rise, to the point where sugar reduction is no longer a trend. It has become the norm. And the key to harnessing the opportunities it presents lie in blending the trends of health, naturalness, indulgence, sustainability and authenticity.
Curious to learn more?
Do you need a sugar-reduced solution for one of your products? Are you interested to develop together with our experts a sugar-reduced concept? Contact us and we'll be in touch very soon.