In today’s age of technology and instant gratification, consumers want it all — and they want it to last. Specifically, the demand for clean, simple ingredient labels is juxtaposed with the desire for fresh products with longer shelf life; often consumers are looking for a shelf life of up to 20 days. This puts commercial bakers in a pickle, especially when factors such as industry consolidation and bigger distribution areas mean it takes more time for products to even land on shelves.

In its bakingHUB facility, AB Mauri, St. Louis, put its industry research and ingredient knowledge to work in developing enzyme-based softening solutions that will meet this challenge. While preservatives focus on the mold inhibition side of shelf life, enzymes address the staling side. AB Mauri’s Softase line was designed to meet extended shelf life (ESL) demands in terms of anti-staling for a wide variety of bakery products while addressing the ever-growing concern over complicated ingredient lists.

“We recognize today’s baking industry is constantly looking for label-friendly solutions to replace traditional shelf life chemicals such as mono- and ­diglycerides and sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate,” said Paul Bright, innovation manager for AB Mauri North America. “Our Softase clean-label solutions are ­simply labeled as enzymes and help shorten ­traditional bakery ingredient statements.”

Mr. Bright noted that customers have reported increased shelf life through improved softness compared with other traditional chemical-based softening systems. In an effort to corroborate results of the sensory effects, the company also conducted several trials through state-of-the-art instrumentation and standard bakery formulations. In addition to softness and resilience, Softase also enhances fine cell structure and volume tolerance to slight flour variability, according to the company.

“There are several hypotheses as to the anti-staling functionality of enzymes in baked goods,” Mr. Bright said. “However, the bottom line is that with the use of our Softase solutions, final baked products are perceived as being fresh and soft throughout the desired product shelf life.”

Bakery products that can benefit from Softase softener ingredient systems include white and whole wheat bread and rolls as well as chemically leavened products such as tortillas, cakes, donuts, biscuits and muffins. AB Mauri also indicated Softase as a cost-effective solution due to its tolerance to process and raw-material variability. For more information AB Mauri’s Softase clean-label solutions or the company’s new bakingHUB, visit