When adding any of these nutrients to batters or doughs, bakers may encounter various challenges. Areas of concern include dosage, dispersion, bioavailability and sensory attributes.

“Some vitamins can change the product’s color, such as vitamin B2,” said Annette Bueter, product developer, SternVitamin. “Others are especially heat sensitive, such as vitamin B1, so losses after baking can be high. In general, vitamins are sensitive to stress factors that occur during the processing of bakery products, such as heat, humidity and oxygen. This means that vitamins can lose some activity. Losses in activity can be compensated by adding overages.

Minerals, on the other hand, aren’t as sensitive to processing parameters, but they can impact finished characteristics of baked goods.

“We’ve seen interactions with ingredients such as iron, where sometimes changes in the final products appear due to a shift in the pH value,” Ms. Bueter said.

Minerals come in a variety of forms or compounds, so it’s important to select the ones best suited for an application. Nutrients may also be encapsulated to delay or prevent interactions. Masking flavors may be necessary to cover up off-notes.

“Many vitamins and minerals can come with unique challenges like flavor off-notes, changes in solubility or color changes,” said Nathan Pratt, nutritional scientist, Kerry. “Potassium, for example, is a mineral very few people in the US get enough of but adding it to foods in the form of potassium chloride brings a metallic taste to the food.

“Masking is best accomplished if you are working with a flavor team that understands exactly where the off-note is coming from rather than applying generic masking solutions.”

Formulators should consider using nutrient pre-mixes for consistency and quality, as well as to simplify the addition and tracking process. Scaling of a pre-mix can be done on a more macro level than the micro level required for each individual nutrient. This format assists with uniform dispersion of even the most micro of ingredients.

“Adding individual vitamins and minerals via a premix instead of doing so individually oftentimes ensures better handling and better ability to blend and disperse ingredients, which results in overall better end product,” said Kathy Sargent, global innovation director, Corbion. “When small amounts of individual vitamins and minerals are used, it can be difficult to ensure they are evenly distributed.”

Pre-mixes can also minimize costs and maximize efficiency, since numerous ingredients are replaced with one pre-mix. The onus of ensuring stability and bioavailability of individual nutrients in a pre-mix falls on the supplier, with the shelf life of the least stable nutrient determining the expiration date of the pre-mix.

“The individual nutrients are often required in very low amounts, so getting the correct dosage in the flour is difficult,” said Ms. Bueter. “Pre-mixes contain all the ingredients in the right amounts and can be diluted with carriers to become more homogeneous and get to a dosage level that is manageable.”

Nutrients should be added at appropriate levels to avoid excessive intake. Overages are not a good idea, as a little too much is a lot in a little body.

“When it comes to products for children, we check whether there are deficiency studies from the respective region,” Ms. Mesch said. “In addition, we check whether there are reference values for micronutrients for children in a country and factor this into our premix development.”

Tolerable upper intake level established by the Institute of Medicine can be useful in estimating the safe limits of adding essential nutrients to food.

“For instance, the Recommended Dietary Allowance for iron for children ages 4 to 8 is 10 milligrams per day, but the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for iron for those same ages is 40 milligrams per day, which is only four times higher than the daily recommendation,” Mr. Pratt said. “Formulators need to consider cumulative amounts of nutrients from all sources in the diet. Kids might be consuming different iron-fortified foods in one day, so you should formulate your fortification levels with that in mind.”

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to fortification. The combination of ingredients in a finished product should not negatively impact taste, texture, stability or shelf life, making pre-mix customization paramount.

This article is an excerpt from the June 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Fortification & Enrichments, click here.