In times like today, when consumers favor simplified ingredient lists, the addition of extra nutrients to baked foods must become more nuanced. Such fortification has to be done in a transparent way, and that need supports use of macronutrients, for example, fiber and protein. The ongoing health-and-wellness trend creates new opportunities for micronutrients, adding vitamins and minerals but with choices that go beyond conventional enrichment.
New realities face formulators working to enrich or fortify foods. First, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans flagged several “nutrients of concern” because of current under-consumption: calcium, potassium, vitamin D, fiber and iron. The panel making these recommendations pushed for greater attention to micronutrients. “The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee urged consumers to check the label for enrichment,” said Christine Cochran, executive director, Grain Foods Foundation (GFF).
Another federal program also pushed enrichment awareness. “As part of its MyPlate, MyWins campaign, the US Department of Agriculture explains that most refined grains are enriched,” Ms. Cochran said and credited these recommendations to GFF’s ongoing enrichment education program.
Additional emphasis came from changes made in 2016 to the Nutrition Facts Panel printed on all processed food labels. “There are various factors that come into play,” said Ricardo Rodriguez, marketing manager, confectionery and bakery, Ingredion, Inc. “The new labeling guidelines certainly put a focus on consumers reading labels and understanding what ingredients are contributing to their overall health.”
Differences in the way dietary fiber is listed now place this macronutrient back into the spotlight, according to Randy Kreienbrink, vice-president, marketing, BI Nutraceuticals. “And there’s the very hot topic of protein,” he noted. “A lot of formulators are looking at vegetable sources.”
Abby Ceule, senior industry director, bakery, Corbion, confirmed the attention to label and ingredient details and explained, “Consumer diets have evolved to be more focused on health and wellness. They are listening to their bodies and have become more aware of what vitamins and nutrients their bodies need to not only help with their physical appearance but also to maintain their personal wellness. So when they purchase food and beverages, they pay more attention to the ingredient statements and the nutritional information.”
Read on to learn more about consumer interest in fortification.