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

“There are several factors to consider when adding vitamins and minerals to grain-based foods, from the sensory experience to dosage and shelf life,” said Jeff Hodges, manager, bakery, snacks and confections applications, ADM.

“Certain vitamins and minerals have inherent properties that can alter a baked good’s appearance, flavor and mouthfeel. On top of that, the formulation conditions when creating baked goods can impact the level of vitamin or mineral content, as well as their inherent benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, can lose effectiveness throughout processing conditions and during shelf life. Vitamin D, in particular, is light and heat sensitive, making it more susceptible to losing its potency.”

Added costs are another challenge with adding vitamins and minerals to foods. That’s why it is paramount that a baker use the most effective ingredient format.

“Vitamins can be sensitive during baking, and they can eventually lose activity,” said Amr Shaheed, technical service manager, food applications, Innophos. “This ties in to the cost issue, as the most effective way to compensate for lost activity is adding higher amounts of a vitamin than what is eventually displayed on the label.”

Ingredient interactions must also be monitored. Calcium, for example, can negatively affect gas leavening. Iron may impact color.

Innophos offers a specialty calcium phosphate leavening blend that fortifies baked goods with calcium (more than 15,000 mg of calcium per 100 grams of product) while also reducing sodium.

“This product offers similar texture and volume benefits to traditional sodium-based ingredients, such as sodium acid pyrophosphate,” Mr. Shaheed said. “We additionally offer a proprietary blend of leavening ingredients for use with high-protein alternative flours and ingredients that aid in improving the texture and volume of fortified baked goods.”

Lesaffre offers bakers a patented solution for fortifying baked goods with calcium and vitamins D2 and D3. The ingredients are flavor-neutral with no impact on the taste or aroma of finished products.

“We’ve developed products that contain meaningful levels of calcium without impacting the eating experience for consumers,” said Mary Thomas, senior research and development manager, Lesaffre.

“This includes 6-inch sandwich rolls that contain glass-of-milk levels of calcium, single tortillas containing 20% of the daily value for calcium and excellent levels of calcium (20% Daily Value) in two slices of whole grain bread.”

Baked items vary in their formulation hurdles. Off-notes, for instance, may be more obvious in a simple four-ingredient white bread versus one with whole grains.

“Flavor modulation and maskers are important formulation tools to ensure these finished products are both nutritious and delicious,” Mr. Hodges said. “Bakery brands may also leverage nutrients that are encapsulated to delay or mitigate ingredient interactions, further supporting sensory aspects, as well as the baked item’s shelf life.”

Each vitamin, mineral and other micronutrient has its own taste profile. And that may become more pronounced based on other ingredients in the system.

“We have found that when adding vitamins and minerals to a baked good, the product profile can change,” said Roni Eckert, senior food scientist, Wixon. “We have taste technologies to specifically tackle and help mask off-notes caused by bitterness, astringency, green/grassiness, protein addition and sourness.”

Botanicals represent a growth opportunity in the fortification of baked goods. They include everything from lavender as a relaxant to turmeric for immunity.

“Botanicals support not only wellness desires, but they also add premiumization to products,” Mr. Hodges said. “Our standardized and proprietary botanicals include various extracts like green tea, acerola and guarana, as well as antioxidant blends that contain vitamin C, beta-carotene and anthocyanins. We can combine these with our plant protein range of soy, pea, wheat, ancient grains, nuts, beans and pulses to maximize ingredient diversity and optimize functionality for fortified baked goods and snacks.”

John Quilter, vice president, global proactive health portfolio, Kerry, said that Ayurvedic ingredients like ashwagandha are growing in popularity as a source of science-backed brain health benefits in foods.

“Certain ashwagandhas are especially suited for formulation into baked goods due to properties like 95% water solubility for a smooth finish, combined with taste modulation technologies to mitigate the impact of ashwagandha’s natural strong taste,” he said.

Postbiotics are a new category in the fortification space. They do away with the need to add probiotics by being the healthy metabolites that the microbiome produce, the compounds that provide the actual health benefit. This includes an array of enzymes, peptides, organic acids, fatty acids and more.

“Our postbiotic ingredient is well-suited to overcome formulation and manufacturing challenges that may appear when adding health ingredients to baked foods,” said Jenna Nelson, channel lead, food and beverage, Cargill. “As shown through our stability testing, our postbiotic is highly heat stable, can handle varying pH levels and offers up to a three-year shelf life. This stability is due in large part to its inanimate nature. There is no concern about the efficacy of the ingredient dying or being ‘killed off’ in processing.”

The ingredient is used at a low efficacious dose of just 500 mg per serving. It can be mixed with dry or wet ingredients and offers a rich, brown color and slight savory flavor that pairs well with other ingredients in many baked goods.

“Being derived from the fermentation of baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), we like to think of it as a natural fit into the baked space,” Ms. Nelson said. “Our food scientists have created several great-tasting concepts using our postbiotic ingredient, including prototypes that range from oatmeal crème pies to banana nut muffins, cinnamon rolls to bars. Each prototype is formulated to achieve the 500 mg daily dose.

“Bakers will continue to add functional ingredients to their products, finding the perfect balance of nutrition and taste,” Ms. Nelson concluded.

With the aid of whole-food ingredients and isolated nutrients, baking companies can fortify their staple products to prevent hidden hunger from lurking in the shadows.

This article is an excerpt from the March 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Fortification & Enrichment, click here.