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Robby Gardner is a freelance journalist in Los Angeles, specializing in fresh produce and health food ingredients.
Improving baked goods and energy drinks with premixes
Premix concepts change with the interests of shoppers and the emergence of new science. A variety of newer trends, made possible by both, are stocking the shelves today. Just ask David Pfefer, product category manager for premix fortifications at Corbion Caravan (Lenexa, KS). Pfefer says that botanical extracts, fruit powders, vegetable powders, and GMO-free nutrients are all increasing in popularity. Still, newer-type ingredients are gaining ground too. And it isn’t just probiotics and omega fatty acids-but different forms of them.
“Probiotic isn’t one product,” says Sam Wright, CEO of The Wright Group (Crowley, LA). “It’s hundreds of strains, each with their own identifications, and each with their own condition-specific hooks-whether it’s digestive health, oral health, dementia, or some other health condition that might have a probiotic relationship.”
In the case of omega-3s, different omega fatty acids and different sources (plant and animal, for example) provide the diversity.
Whether its some of these newer ingredients requested of premix providers, or longstanding vitamins and minerals that have been in premixes for years, premix providers are more capable than ever at placing all these nutrients in nearly every type of food or beverage product. The latest results are
proving quite interesting.
A relatively new category for premixes is baked goods. The high-heat temperatures required for making these fluffy foods have traditional discouraged manufacturers from adding nutritional ingredients, for fear that many of these ingredients would deteriorate in the oven. If any did withstand the high processing temperatures, taste was still another obstacle.
“Consumers want these nutrients on the label, but they don’t want to taste them,” says Wright. This is where microencapsulation services can do wonders. The Wright Group’s Supercoat line of microencapsulated ingredients includes vitamins, minerals, botanicals, and even some specialty ingredients such as omega-3 powder. Each of these nutrients can be housed in a multi-functional coating that prevents deterioration of the ingredient (cost savings), masks the ingredient’s taste, and prevents unwanted reactions from taking place between ingredients in a given formula.
A lot of these Supercoat products would make a perfect addition to a bakery item as part of the product’s flour base, but Wright says that some ingredients are probably best suited for specific types of products.
“I don’t think you’re going to see omega-3 powder in indulgence items like croissants,” says Wright, “but you’ll see it in oat bran muffins, and you’ll see it in breads. You’ll see it in bars, too-cooked and extruded bars.”
Microencapsulation now has a purpose in food and beverage nutrition formulas, but the technology may still find other uses in baked goods. In fact, the Wright Group used its same process to develop “Wrise,” a microencapsulated leavening system for doughs and dry bakery mixes. And the system won’t begin to react until it’s in the oven.
Much more accustomed to premixes, energy drinks have introduced shoppers to a laundry list of ingredients over the years. Foremost in the historic lineup is caffeine. While caffeine undoubtedly offers a high amount of usable energy, the safety of some caffeine sources are being called into question. And Pfefer at Corbion Caravan says the market is now entering an era of “responsibly fortified drinks, as opposed to high-octane energy drinks.”
Fortitech (Schenectady, NY), now a part of DSM, reports fewer and fewer premix requests for products with high caffeine levels or directly added caffeine. Instead, customers are requesting what are perhaps more diversified, cleaner-label options: guarana, coffee extracts, green tea extracts, and yerba mate. With their longstanding use and established safety, B vitamins also remain common. The greater beverage market will gain more from premixes as premixes gradually include more than just nutritional solutions. In addition to nutritional ingredients, most beverage manufacturers also seek out flavors, colors, and sweeteners. A turnkey solution with each of these needs could prove valuable and available in the very near future.
“The product category continues to become more diverse and complex,” says Wright. “We are very excited by the potential this offers for nutrient premixes.”