Looking for a way to boost nutritional value in a baked food or snack? In this exclusive Q&A, Cheryl Borders, a technical service manager with ADM Research, Decatur, IL, describes how to use cooked edible beans to make better-for-you foods. Naturally high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, beans also provide a source of resistant starch — all components that enable low-glycemic-index formulating.

Baking & Snack: What do fruits and vegetables bring to the formulators’ choice of ingredients in terms of their nutritional content? Are there certain nutrients that these extracts, concentrates and powders contribute better than other ingredients can? What are the health-and-wellness benefits that products made with them can claim?

Cheryl Borders: Beans are a very nutritious and sustainable food source. They are not listed as allergens, are non-GMO and are minimally processed making them a natural choice for the product developer.

Manufacturers are looking for various ways to offer better-for-you baked goods and snack foods without sacrificing taste or texture. Using cooked ground bean powders alone or in conjunction with other vegetable powders can allow product developers to provide a half or whole serving of vegetables in an unexpected form.

VegeFull is ADM’s edible cooked ground bean line with products that are pre-cooked and dehydrated to provide convenience. The line includes whole dehydrated beans, pieces, grits, “noodles” and bean powders. Beans are more nutrient dense than typical cereal grains and flours, and contain significant amounts of protein and fiber.

Edible bean products contain both soluble and insoluble fiber in addition to resistant starch. The fiber and resistant starch may help to slow digestion and prolong energy, while providing a feeling of fullness or satiety. The complex carbohydrates in the beans also contribute to a low glycemic index which results in a slower release of glucose following a meal and a more stable insulin.

Other nutritional benefits include a low caloric content plus being naturally low in sodium and saturated fat. The bean products are gluten free and are suitable for celiacs and individuals with gluten sensitivity.

Can you offer specific examples of baked foods and/or snacks made with your fruit and vegetable ingredients that cater to consumers’ desires for enhanced nutrition?

VegeFull bean grits and powders allow food manufacturers to incorporate vegetables in a non-traditional way in extruded and sheeted snacks, dips and crackers. Depending upon the formulation and application, it can be possible to provide a half to full serving of vegetables. In addition, some of the products are able to claim a good source of protein and fiber.

Does form (particulate, extract, concentrate, powder, etc.) make a difference in formulating? What do you advise product developers about selecting among these styles?

Depending upon the nutritional targets and the desired finished product, VegeFull bean powders can be used up to 100% for extruded snacks and up to 50% for sheeted. The powders work well with other ingredients typically used in snack production, such as cereal grains, starches and other proteins.

In baking applications, the flour percentage can be replaced 1:1 with bean powders. A starting point would be 10 to 30% replacement, but water may need to be adjusted due to the protein and fiber content of the bean powders. One approach, depending upon the product or process, may be to add the bean powder later in the process or creaming the bean powder with the fat component to coat the particles and slow water absorption. The bean grits have a larger particle size and hydrate slower than the powders.

What fruit and vegetable products of these sorts does your company offer for bakery use?

Pre-cooked dehydrated edible beans: VegeFull whole beans, pieces, grits, “noodles” and bean powders. To learn more, visit www.adm.com/vegefull.