Bakers and snack makers interested in fortifying products with added benefits have a variety of options.

Kerry’s Wellmune is a yeast beta glucan that supports immune health and can easily be used in food and beverage formulations, according to the company.

“Wellmune acts as an immunomodulator to help the body defend against pathogens by adjusting the normal immune response to respond more effectively when a pathogen has been detected,” said John Quilter, global proactive health vice president for Kerry Ingredients.

NutriLeads’ BeniCaros is an immune booster that is a soluble prebiotic carrot fiber, which the company says trains the immune system to respond faster by preparing innate immune cells for a heightened state of readiness and increases beneficial gut microorganisms and their metabolites that support immune responses. 

Sam Wright IV, chief executive officer, The Wright Group, referenced several beneficial vitamins and minerals that can help consumers.

“In addition to the standard of identity ingredients such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, calcium and iron, consumers are seeking other nutrients to help bolster their general health, activity levels, mental acuity and immunity,” he said. “The addition of zinc, vitamin D and magnesium would make sense in baked products. The decline in consumption of milk over the years has led to serious deficiencies in vitamin D, in particular. The addition of long-chain polyunsatured fatty acids such as EPA and DHA from fish oil or algal sources would also be a plus.”

Calcium-based leavening acids and potassium-based baking sodas provide ways to fortify baked goods with these minerals, said Amr Shaheed, technical service manager, food applications, Innophos.

Essential minerals like calcium and magnesium help support healthy bones and muscle function while choline and iron are critical for maintaining brain and cognitive health, said Eric Ciappio, PhD and RD strategic development manager, nutrition science, Balchem.

Snack bars that boost energy are finding new relevance, said Mathew Brady, marketing specialist at IFPC.

“Consumers often turn to baked goods to indulge themselves in a sweet treat,” he said. “This helps with stress reduction and relaxation. We are also seeing a rise in baked goods with energy boost claims infused with caffeine.”

Mental health has become a topic that is discussed more widely and openly, and more products are becoming available to help people cope with stress and anxiety.

“The pandemic has made consumers more aware of mental health,” said DeeAnn Roullier, marketing research insights specialist, Cargill. “We see an increase in consumers who believe food can improve their mood. Adaptogens are all the rage right now. They claim to improve mood, reduce stress and promote relaxation. Adaptogens can improve concentration, focus and memory.”

She added that food and beverages with a sleep claim have shown strong growth and those containing CBD are expected to expand broadly as well. 

One example she cited that illustrates this trend is the Good Mood Cookie launched in Germany by Berlin Organics. It contains ashwagandha and rishi, both of which are linked to reducing stress and anxiety.

This article is an excerpt from the November 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Fortification & Enrichment, click here.