If scientific studies say people need more of a vitamin or a mineral, and if consumer surveys show people are seeking that vitamin or mineral, grain-based foods companies might want to add it to their products. Calcium and potassium are two possibilities. Vitamin D, vitamin E and choline might be worth investigating as well.
|Alice Wilkinson, v.p. of nutritional innovation for Watson, Inc.|
“There are two different ways to approach it,” said Alice Wilkinson, vice-president of nutritional innovation for Watson, Inc., West Haven, Conn. “There’s been more and better science every day on what people need more of, and then there’s the other half of it — what consumers recognize more.”
One more area might be considered. Will it work in grain-based foods? For example, certain vitamin applications may require such strategies as adding overages or an encapsulation layer, Ms. Wilkinson said. She said the baking industry also looks at margins closer than other industries, such as those for dietary supplements and sports nutrition products. Bakers may be less likely to use expensive ingredients since consumers may pay only so much for a loaf of bread, she said.
“It just has to make sense,” Ms. Wilkinson said. “It has to make sense from a physical component — is it physically possible to be done? — but then economically, it needs to make sense as well.”
Guidelines for Americans
The upcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 should give insight on what vitamins and minerals people need to eat. The scientific report released earlier this year by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee said vitamin D, calcium, potassium and fiber are not consumed enough, so much so that it may pose a public health concern.
The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2015 Food and Health Survey, meanwhile, turned in favorable numbers for calcium and potassium. The survey of 1,007 Americans ages 18 to 80 found 43% are trying to get a certain amount of calcium or as much as possible, up from 36% last year, and 26% are trying to get a certain amount of potassium or as much as possible, up from 19% last year.
Calcium may fit into an American trend — snacking. Arla Foods Ingredients, Viby, Denmark, has developed a snack cake system that may be used to create products containing up to 10% whey protein and 200 mg of calcium in a 21-gram serving while having 100 calories. The snack cake system in particular may appeal to the demographic groups of children and millennials, according to Arla Foods Ingredients.
A snack cake serving may provide 25% of a person’s daily calcium intake, said John Gelley, sales manager, North America Bakery, for Arla Foods Ingredients.
“‘Snackification’ is growing rapidly, and this solution is spot on,” he said. “With the growth of the wellness trend, it has become very common to snack during the day instead of consuming three large meals.”
The report “Snacking Motivations and Attitudes U.S. 2015” from Mintel revealed 94% of Americans snack at least once a day and that 50% of adults snack two to three times per day.
Adding enough calcium to reach desired levels in snack cakes or other grain-based foods might be difficult, Ms. Wilkinson said.
“There is no pure source of calcium,” she said. “Calcium only comes with some sort of other component.”
There is calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate and calcium phosphate, for example. A formulator has to add not only calcium but also the other component to an application, meaning a higher percentage inclusion in the application.
Dry premix application is a common way to add minerals like calcium and potassium to products, said Russ Hazen, Ph.D., premix innovations manager, Fortitech premixes by DSM.
“There are many sources that can be considered, and the amount of the mineral can vary widely by source,” he said. “Also, the solubility and taste impacts of these materials will vary depending on the form chosen.
“Using calcium as an example, adding calcium carbonate to a formulation will deliver a different flavor profile than calcium citrate. Also, these two materials will have a different impact on the pH of the final product and can dramatically impact the physical attributes of the finished good.”
Potassium’s off-taste may prove challenging in applications, Ms. Wilkinson said.
“It’s like chewing on a penny,” she said of potassium.
When companies say they want a product to deliver 10% of the Daily Value of potassium, she tries to steer them in a different direction.
Potassium also takes on functional roles in baked foods, according to the fourth edition of “Baking Science & Technology” published by Sosland Publishing Co. Potassium bicarbonate may be used in place of sodium bicarbonate to reduce sodium in leavening systems, but potassium bicarbonate may have an aftertaste and may cost more than sodium bicarbonate. Potassium sorbate, when used as a preservative, has been shown to be effective against yeast and mold.
Potassium plays critical roles in muscle function, cardiac function and the regulation of blood pressure, according to the report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Lack of potassium consumption is of particular concern for middle-aged and older adults, according to the D.G.A.C.