Consumers are turning to functional foods to support their health and wellness, and digestive and immune health support are among the top fortified benefits they seek. For example, global food and beverage launches with digestive health-related claims grew 25% annually between 2012 and 2016, according to Innova Market Insights. Research by Global Data in 2015 also shows that improving immune function is a leading health concern among consumers.

Kerry Ingredients’ product range includes clean label solutions for extended shelf life, functional proteins, specialty enzymes, emulsifiers and texturants. Jordan Miller, content marketing manager, Kerry, said two of the nutritional solutions Kerry offers 
— Wellmune and GanedenBC30 — deliver effective, science-backed digestive and immune health benefits to shoppers who are looking for functional foods.

Wellmune, a beta glucan extracted from a proprietary strain of baker’s yeast, is clinically proven to help strengthen the immune system.

“More than a dozen clinical studies have confirmed the safety and efficacy of this natural immune health ingredient, which is the perfect ingredient for a range of healthy baked goods including nutritional bars, crackers and baked snacks,” Mr. Miller said

GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) is a spore-forming probiotic that’s extremely stable and remains viable even in the high-temperature processing environments found in industrial bakeries.

“Probiotics have a reputation for being fragile, which is why they have traditionally been confined to chilled dairy products,” Mr. Miller said. “However, these healthy bacteria are now making inroads into the baked goods aisle.”

GanedenBC30 can deliver digestive health, immune health and protein utilization benefits in applications such as bread, cakes, pastries and cookies.

With the rapid rise in consumer demand for plant-based protein, Cargill, along with PURIS, the largest North American producer of pea protein, have signed a joint venture agreement to accelerate growth of sustainable and label-friendly plant-based foods.

“As consumers continue to look at better-for-you options, bakery is a great space to offer products with improved nutritional profiles,” said Paige Ties, senior technical service specialist, research and development, for Cargill.

For example, PURIS pea protein delivers 80% protein with a high-protein, digestibility-corrected amino acid score.

With PURIS, it’s possible to develop bakery products that achieve a “good source” claim for protein while still meeting consumers’ sensory expectations. Similarly, Cargill’s Oliggo-Fiber chicory root fiber offers a label-friendly option to incorporate more fiber into most any baked foods or snacks without affecting the taste or texture of the final product.

Bakers are realizing that these proteins can be incorporated in their final products with limited effects on taste or mouthfeel. Cosucra provides texturing solutions with pea protein isolate and native pea starch. The company’s pea protein, Pisane B9 is a functional pea protein isolate with optimized water-retention properties. Frank Truong, general manager, said Pisane B9 may be used for creating gluten-free bread with a crisp crust, moist crumb, protein-rich bars and crunchy biscuits that are both gluten-free and egg-free.

“Nastar, a functional native pea starch product of Cosucra, contains a high amount of amylose and has excellent gelling properties,” he said.

Consumer trends show that people can’t get enough protein but that they are also craving simple, yet nutritious, ingredients that add value to their favorite baked foods.