If you’re thinking of a new product fortified with additional nutrients, you have many options. Customized premixes can be tailored exactly to fit the food and its intended market targets. In this exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A, David Pfefer, product manager, enrichment/fortification blends, Caravan Ingredients, Lenexa, KS, looks at some of the newer nutritional components now available in premixes.

Baking & Snack: Is there a place in the market for a “standard” nutrient premix? Or is this an idea of the past?

David Pfefer: For over 70 years “standard” enrichment blends have been used in the flour milling industry and the baking industry. These were designed to meet the requirements set by the US government for enriched foods having federal Standards of Identity. But more recently, bakers have desired to differentiate their products from their competitors. They have done this by adding a variety of ingredients, including natural ingredients as well as different combinations of nuts, seeds, flavorings and dairy ingredients.

Uniqueness of the base product is paralleled by uniqueness of the nutrient premix. If the goal is to have a bread product with as much calcium per serving as an 8-oz glace of milk, this would require about 330 mg of calcium. This level can be obtained by adding calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, cultured whey, calcium lactate, monocalcium phosphate and dicalcium phosphate alone or in combinations. Marketing departments of baking companies often have varying nutrition targets and claims they wish to feature on different products. If the goal is to feature “as much calcium as a glass of milk and a good source of seven vitamins," each would require a separate nutritional premix.

Additionally, what works in white bread would not yield the same nutrition panel results in a 100% whole wheat bread or in a layer cake. This is due to the difference in background contributions of vitamins and minerals from the bakery ingredients as well as the serving sizes.

Sometimes, higher end product lines in bakeries seem to feature more complex and costly nutrition packages. These might include omega-3s, phytosterols, choline, or vitamin A. We have produced hundreds of custom formulations for the baking and general food industry because no two applications are alike.

Has the shift into variety breads and whole grain products changed what goes into nutrient premixes for grain-based foods?

Whole grain flours and meals provide much more vitamin and mineral contribution than their refined, milled counterparts. We take this into consideration when formulating nutrient premixes to go on top of them, but generally the contribution from the grain ingredients is a small fraction of the final label target. Ultimately, the premix carries most of the weight of that requirement.

One point to note is that standardized white bread and rolls carry the enrichment mandate, which includes folic acid since 1998. Standardized whole wheat bread, labeled as such, is not enriched and therefore does not carry any added folic acid. This discrepancy is being lobbied at FDA by various whole grain groups.

Besides the standard bread/flour enrichment package (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, iron and optional calcium) for white bread, what other nutrients are getting attention? For example, but not limited to, vitamins B6, C, D and K, antioxidants, phytochemicals, flavonoids, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, dietary supplements, and so forth?

Vitamins B6 and/or B12 are sometimes added to improve energy.

Vitamin C, an antioxidant, is very important but is not at all heat-stable during baking. Sometimes, a heat-resistant, microencapsulated vitamin C ingredient is incorporated into a topping of grain meals or flakes and applied to the top of products after exiting the oven.

Vitamin K has recently become popular due to its ability to inhibit the formation of calcium-induced plaques in the circulatory system. High calcium fortifications, which also contain vitamin K, allow consumers to get their calcium intake while also protecting against the buildup of calcium in the arteries. Antioxidants from botanicals such as grape seed extract, green tea, Acai fruit and tocopherols are also popular.

Iodine is generally not used that frequently in the US because most of the population gets sufficient quantity from our table salt iodation program, seafood and other food sources. This is contrary to what is found in some of the developing countries and, most recently, New Zealand.

Magnesium, zinc, selenium and other trace minerals are generally not used in bakery fortifications for a couple of reasons. First, they can affect fermentation and finished product color. Second, they are not well understood or demanded by the consumer. Phytosterols are showing up more frequently in bakery products due to their permitted FDA health claim towards reducing cholesterol.

How much customization of premixes are your customers in the baking and snack industries requesting? What are the reasons for such needs?

Almost all of our customers want a customized premix exactly tailored to their product, its ingredients, its processing parameters and its label and marketing claims. Some customers require non-GMO ingredients for European destinations, natural forms for specific retail systems, chelated forms of minerals for the ultra-health-conscious consumers and certified-gluten-free nutrient blends for gluten-free bakery products. In some cases, customers are looking for specific weight batch pack pouches so their plants have a more convenient method for incorporating batch contents without the need to scale the powder. A few have even requested organic nutrient blends.

Given the popularity of tablets and pouches, are there other delivery formats that would interest bakers?

We manufacture and provide precision micronutrient feeders to our flour milling customers. Some bakers are looking at the possibility of dispensing nutrient blends directly into their mixers with some of these feeders. Another format being considered is a liquid slurry that would be injected directly into the potable water line going into the mixer.

What does a formulator need to know to be able to specify the optimum nutrient premix for a new product or a reformulated one?

First, the formulator needs to know what the label target is on the Nutrition Facts panel. Next, they need to know all of the ingredients going into the product so they can calculate the nutritional contributions of those ingredients. Lastly, they need to know the processing parameters such as dough pH, baking time and temperature and shelf life expectations so they can calculate and estimate the processing losses which would be anticipated.

The serving size of the finished product will determine the dosage of the nutrition premix going into the bakery mixer. For instance, a 2-oz serving size for a bread item that yields 165 lb of bread per 100 lb of flour would mean 1,320 servings would come from those 100 lb of flour. If the dosage were 30 mb per serving, the baker would use 39.6 g per 100 lb of flour.

Formulators can accurately hit targets from a mathematical stand point, but an assay of the finished product after baking and at the end of shelf life is the gold standard. If the nutrients present at that time are outside the product’s specifications, then it is an easy matter to make a knowledgeable correction.