Reducing sugar removes bulk and functionality in bakery formulations. Source: BENEO

How to choose
With new options available to help bakers reduce sugar without losing bulk or functionality, bakers need to prioritize their needs to narrow down the field. At the end of the day, it all comes down to consumers. That could mean a cleaner label, a leaner label, added fiber or other nutritional benefits. Bakers must know what their customers are going to want and work from there.

“Label, first and foremost,” said Bill Gilbert, certified master baker, Cargill.

Consumers are reading labels diligently: the Nutrition Facts Panel, health claims and ingredient lists. Know the end goal regarding the label. Is it aiming for a certain level of sugar reduction, cleaning up the ingredient list or calling out extra fiber or nutrients? These questions will guide the solutions bakers are willing to use. Even calorie reduction becomes a factor. Not all sugar-reduction ingredients also reduce calories.

“Most see bakery products as an indulgence or a treat, so claims on sugar reduction may be construed as meaning the product will not taste as good,” Mr. Shinsato said. “Also, if the solution creates a less friendly ingredient declaration, this may cause concern among consumers.”

This could prioritize those ingredients that have the least impact on taste or mean a high-intensity sweetener needs to be used with a bulking agent.

“When it comes to replacing sugar, there isn’t a silver bullet out there, so it is important for formulators to understand all the options that are available,” Mr. Turowski said. “In most cases, a combination of solutions will be the best approach in achieving the desired functional and nutritional properties of the finished product.”

Because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, ADM approaches each sugar reduction request on a case-by-case basis. The company’s team of experts includes bakers, culinary professionals, R.&D. scientists and trained sensory science panelists to comb through ADM’s portfolio of sweetening options with each customer.

“We work closely alongside bakers and developers to understand and anticipate their needs and goals to provide the best possible ingredient solutions and approaches for sweetening to ensure optimized eating quality and consumer appeal, all with labeling, nutrition, functionality and cost-in-use needs top of mind,” said Mark Floerke, project lead, Bakery & Culinary Application, ADM.

Cargill also sees the benefit of having a diverse portfolio of sugar reduction options.

“We see a clear advantage with multiple products within our portfolio between our sweeteners group and texturizing group and working those together to find the synergies to come up with solutions for our customers,” Mr. Gilbert said.

In the end, it’s about communicating with suppliers to find that perfect solution for each unique product.