The unique protein-binding characteristics of a new milk protein concentrate will help formulators cut back on sugar and sweeteners in a variety of snacks, bars and cereal clusters, according to Linda Wilson, business development manager - bars, Glanbia Nutritionals, Fitchburg, WI.

Baking & Snack: What sugar-sparing strategies do you advise bakery formulators to follow?

Linda Wilson: We would advise formulators to use these strategies where sugar is reduced and structural integrity is wanted in a cluster. It is also advisable where chewiness is wanted in a granola bar or where a very soft texture is wanted in a fruit bar.

What ingredients does Glanbia Nutritionals offer for bakery and snack applications that reduce the amount of sugar in such foods?

Glanbia Nutritionals’ OptiSol 2000 is a milk protein concentrate with unique protein binding capabilities, which facilitates reduction in sugars of up to 50% for chewy granola bars, baked bars, snack bars and cereal cluster applications. In addition to sugar reduction, the ingredient also increases the nutritional profile of the food product and level of protein.

How does this work? What is the mechanism that allows these ingredients to reduce overall sugar content? Or cut the finished products glycemic index? What usage and/or substitution levels are required?

The incorporation of 0.5 to 5.0% OptiSol 2000 [milk protein concentrate] facilitates reduction in sugars up to 50%. Reducing sugar in foods usually leads to a decrease in binding structure; however, OptiSol 2000 overcomes this by binding water and maintaining the required sticky, soft food matrix. Glanbia Nutritionals has achieved this through its SugarTrim technology, which means that more protein can be incorporated into formulations while also creating room for other desirable nutrients such as additional fiber.

The product won the Innovation Award at IFT 2012, thanks to the novel approach of using a protein to address the functional challenges associated with low-sugar foods. OptiSol 2000 was recognized by the experts as being an innovative alternative to high-intensity sweetening that significantly reduces sugars without compromising quality characteristics of the food products.

Can you point to baked foods already on the market that achieve such results?

OptiSol 2000 can be incorporated into a number of baked goods, including granola bars, baked bars, cereal clusters and snack bars. Using the ingredient, Glanbia Nutritionals has demonstrated a cereal cluster with less sugar that maintains shape, structure and cluster integrity of the full-sugar product. Glanbia has also formulated cereal bars and indulgent snack products with up to 50% sugar reduction that have the same appearance, flavor and texture satisfaction of standard, full sugar products. The preferred nutritional profile created with OptiSol 2000 is a bonus to consumers.

Looking at current uses of your ingredients in such formulations, how would you recommend their use be improved? Be made more effective in reducing the amounts of added sugars?

Glanbia Nutritionals provides turn-key products which take into account processes and formulations customized for each client.

How must these materials be labeled in the ingredient listing on packages?

OptiSol 2000 is an effective, clean-label ingredient option and ticks the consumer boxes of great flavor and texture offered by standard full-sugar goods. OptiSol 2000 may be labeled as “milk protein concentrate.”