Some fiber ingredients enable bakers to reduce sugar without adding to the “added sugar” in a formulation while also delivering functionality. 

As consumers become more skeptical of added sugars, bakers must find ways to reduce sugar while maintaining bulk and function in products. According to the article “Sweet Inspiration: Spotlight on added sugar” by Nielsen, products that contain alternative sweeteners are gaining traction among consumers, as sales grew 19% in 2016 over 2015 and 200% compared to four years ago. Finding substitutes with added health benefits can make the product even more attractive.

A common way to put the bulk and functionality back into a bakery formulation is to add fiber. Fiber can contribute to texture, mouthfeel and sometimes even flavor while also delivering lower-calorie claims and digestive health. Bakers have several different kinds of fiber in their formulating toolkit.

“Sugar is a bulk sweetener bringing both texture and body,” said Jon Peters, president, Beneo, Inc. “Chicory root fibers also bring texture and body and even some sweetness. While being a fiber, chicory root is at near parity as a sugar replacer and adds healthy attributes.”

Beneo’s Orafti chicory root fibers, inulin and oligofructose, are both prebiotic fibers and can maintain and sometimes even improve taste and texture in baked foods. These prebiotic soluble fibers contain half the calories of sucrose and can improve digestive health.

“Beneo’s chicory root fibers offer attractive solutions to turn baked goods such as muffins, cookies, bagels as well as cereal bars into healthier snacks,” Mr. Peters explained. “In an application, they help to mask the undesired aftertaste often associated with high intensity sweeteners and give a smooth texture without bits and pieces.”

Chicory root fiber can maintain and improve taste and texture in bars.

These fibers, he continued, can also act as a humectant and help maintain moisture over time. In recent trials at Beneo’s Technology Center, the company found that both inulin and oligofructose reduced sugar in cookies by 30% while maintaining sweet taste and crunch equal to the full-sugar products.

Sensus America’s chicory root fiber ingredient, Frutalose SF75, is 65% the sweetness of sugar and contains 75% dietary fiber.

“Most importantly it does not contribute any ‘added sugar’ to the finished product,” said Scott Turowski, technical sales manager, Sensus America. “Its humectant properties even allow it to directly replace invert sugar and high-fructose corn syrup without negatively impacting taste or texture.”

Ingredion’s fructooligosaccharide provides sweetness and bulk along with browning and humectancy for partial sugar replacement.

Promitor Soluble Fiber and STA-LITE Polydextrose from Tate & Lyle both maintain the sensory experience of full-sugar products. These fibers can help bakers make health benefit claims, nutrient claims or reduced calories claims. Promitor, which has been shown to enhance calcium absorption, can be paired with calcium and vitamin D to help boost calcium absorption in a bar application. STA-LITE works well in applications in which bakers are looking to reduce not only sugar but also calories. It contains 1 calorie per gram while still maintaining sugar-like functionality like cookie spread or tender crumb texture.

“In addition, we’ve seen a growing interest among customers seeking to incorporate oat fiber in baked goods for various reasons,” said Sarah Scholl, food scientist, bakery team lead, Tate & Lyle.

Bakers can use oat beta glucan, which has high moisture management and therefore can provide proper mouthfeel to the end product.

“Moisture management is particularly important to manufacturers creating products such as granola and protein bars because the ingredient may provide a chewy texture throughout shelf life,” Ms. Scholl said.

Oat beta glucan can also help maintain normal cholesterol levels.

In ADM’s toolkit of solutions is Fibersol, a joint venture with Matsutani. This highly functional dietary fiber is a digestion-resistant maltodextrin that is flavorless, clear, highly soluble and stable under a variety of conditions. Fibersol can address bulking issues. Fibersol soluble vegetable (corn) fiber or Fibersol soluble corn fiber provides some of the functionality sugar provides such as managing viscosity in batters, fillings and syrups. Fibersol can reduce sugar up to 25% without a detectable loss of sweetness, said Doris Dougherty, Fibersol technical service representative, ADM. For greater sugar reduction, she suggested Fibersol work in tandem with a high-intensity sweetener.