Form and function for fortification
Because phytonutrient content, rather than color and taste, determines fortification use for fruit and vegetable ingredients, form makes a big difference. In some applications, powders work best. Alison Raban, food technologist, BI Nutraceuticals, Long Beach, CA, gave the example of incorporating spinach and carrot into baked crackers. “A blend of vegetable powders could be easily added to the dry mix component of the batter,” she said. “Overall, in most baking applications both savory and sweet, a powder could be easily mixed with other dry ingredients giving formulators another tool to create unique and tasty products.”
Powders fit the needs of dry-mixed products, while purees and juice concentrates work best for wet-mixed products.
Processing conditions figure into the choice, particularly when antioxidant content is the desired benefit. “Every time you apply heat to a source of antioxidants, you lose more potency,” cautioned J.M. Degen, principal, J.M. Degen & Co., Phoenix, AZ. “The closer you get the original material, the higher the antioxidant content. Thus, diced dried plums or plum concentrate, a water extraction of the fresh fruit itself, will deliver more of antioxidants than the dried powder form.”
Sorbitol, a sweet compound natural to plums, follows a different rule. Plum concentrate is naturally high in sorbitol, but dried plum powder, made from the concentrate, is even higher in this polyol.
Ingredient processors go to considerable effort to retain the nutritional benefits of these materials. In the case of Van Drunen Farms, the company’s primary business is low-moisture and freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. “We take care so none of the nutritional aspects are damaged in the process,” said Carl De Vries, sales representative, Van Drunen Farms, Momence, IL. “We remove the water, and the formulator can use less in quantity to get the same nutrition.” These methods yield ingredients that can be stored at ambient temperatures.
“Moisture is the biggest battle for bakers,” Mr. De Vries observed. “And that’s solved by our form of ingredients.”
Water solubility can be an issue, and for this reason, Gina Valentino, principal, HP Ingredients, Bradenton, FL, advised formulators that maqui berry juice concentrates, not powders, tend to offer a better taste profile.
Another way to solve the moisture problem is to infuse the fruit pieces with sweetener and/or glycerin, as Ocean Spray does with its sweetened dried cranberries (SDCs). “They are process-tolerant and retain moisture and color well,” noted Kristen Girard, principal food scientist, Ocean Spray Ingredient Technology Group, Lakeville-Middleboro, MA. The company’s BerrryFusions Fruits SDCs come in many flavors including orange, blueberry, mango, pomegranate, cherry and strawberry.
They stand up to bakery processing conditions and in foods with a long shelf life. “They maintain their attractive appearance and piece identity when used as bakery inclusions and can, therefore, help manufacturers overcome many of the problems traditionally faced when adding fruit to baked foods,” Ms. Girard said.