They’re not just decorative anymore. Confectionery coatings and drops are earning new respect through enhancement with protein, fiber and nutrient fortification, according to Russell Tietz, R&D manager at Clasen Quality Coatings, Madison, WI. In this exclusive Q&A with Baking & Snack, he describes the next frontier for such ingredients.

Baking & Snack: What are the new product trends in the cracker category and what particulates are bakers adding to leverage these trends?

Russell Tietz: Some of the new product trends we are seeing are higher protein, higher fiber, reduced saturated fat and reduced sugar in bakery and snacks. A lot of bakers are adding nutritionally enhanced confectionery coatings and drops to bakery items to address this and to be able to make a nutritional claim or statement.


What are the latest inclusions for bakery and snack food applications your company has introduced?

Clasen Quality Coatings (CQC) has customized coatings and drops to have various protein, fiber, sugar levels and other nutritional enhancements to meet our customers' nutritional requirements. We have also launched a fat-based confectionery filling that is great for co-extruding in a bakery or snack food application. This product is lower in saturated fat than a traditional confectionery coating and is soft at room temperature and can be used to address reduction of saturated fats in a bakery or snack product.


What sets them apart from previous particulates? What problems do they solve for bakers and snack food manufacturers?

Often bakers can add only so much fiber and protein to their base product and still get the desired product attributes of taste, texture and shelf life. Using confectionery coatings as a vector to add additional nutritional enhancements can help them better position their product as a better for you snack. CQC's soft-set filling has benefits over a water based filling by being extremely low in water activity, making it great for use in shelf stable baked goods and snacks.


How do you advise bakers work with these ingredients in their formulations? What special considerations should they take into account?

Confectionery coatings are typically used in an enrobing, drizzling, panning or bottoming application. Confectionery drops and chunks are used as inclusions and fillings can be used as a layer or extruded filling. Proper storage is required along with application equipment. A key benefit with using confectionery coatings is that formulation is very versatile and can be modified to meet specific product needs. Confectionery coatings do not require the tempering and cooling parameters that are required with handling chocolate.


What functions can particulates serve for bakers and snack manufacturers beyond addition of flavors, colors and textures? How can inclusions help deliver nutrition?

In addition to adding flavor, color and texture, confectionery coatings and inclusions can serve as vectors for delivering other nutritional benefits as mentioned previously.


What's the next frontier in particulates? What challenges still remain to be solved?

The interest in the industry continues to remain strong for better for you ingredients and inclusions. Future opportunities continue to focus on ways to reduce sugar, fat and saturated fat. However ,there are still challenges to match flavor, texture and physical attributes when reducing sugar, fat and saturated fat.