Natural Products Insider

JUL-AUG 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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32 INSIDER July/August 2018 high—and positive—profi le, as have monounsaturated fats found in many nuts and seeds. But evidence suggests medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) might also confer benefi ts in cognitive and sports performance, while boosting metabolism, fat oxidation and reduced food intake, said Alice Hirschel, Ph.D., technical business director, ABITEC. While healthy fats and attributes such as fi ber content boost a bar's nutritionals, perhaps no macronutrient gets the attention—in bars or elsewhere—that protein does. Mintel's recent bar report called the focus on protein "evident among product launches," with 23 percent of bar consumers choosing bars that pack 20 g or more protein per serving, and suggested "differentiation is important for bars to stand out from the pack of high-protein options, perhaps through a focus on protein source." Clean label also continues to be a priority. Don Trouba, senior director, go-to-market, The Annex by Ardent Mills, pointed to Mintel research, which found 22 percent of consumers think bars contain too many artifi cial ingredients. "The trend in consumer demand is for more nutritious bars made with 'real' ingredients like natural sweeteners, whole grains, nuts and more. Consumers want to read the package and see ingredients they know and love." Judie Giebel, AIB-certifi ed master baker, technical services, Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., added, for some consumers, what's not on the label can be equally infl uential. She stated many consumers favor products "free from" ingredients such as gluten, genetically modifi ed organisms (GMOs) and excess sweeteners both artifi cial and "natural." Yet, natural sweeteners contribute mightily to bar formulations, lending not just sweetness and fl avor, but texture and binding. "One of the biggest hurdles in formulating bars is controlling texture and moisture migration," Giebel said. "Using all natural ingredients and reducing sugar levels eliminates important barriers to moisture migration. So, keeping the right bar texture and good shelf stability requires a balance of inclusions to binder. To troubleshoot this, formulators must analyze all ingredients and fi nd the correct viscosity versus overall water activity. Determining the dextrose equivalent of sweetener and sugar profi le is critical to the fi nal product." Grains can also enhance a bar's appeal by lending "chew, crunch, crisp pops and other textural interest," Trouba suggested. Angela Ichwan, senior director of research and technical solutions at Ardent Mills, recommended mixing different grains and forms thereof "to fi nd that 'sweet spot' in fl avor, texture and visual appeal." For example, while whole sorghum fl our fi ts high-moisture applications, above a certain level it can impart grittiness. "So it's important to conduct a lot of trial and error to achieve the best ratios for each grain and fi nished product," she said. Mark Stavro, senior director of marketing, Bunge, also suggested ancient grains like millet, sorghum and quinoa "have trend appeal, fl avor and nutritional benefi ts, and can be used as an alternative to wheat- based grain for gluten-free applications." As ingredients and consumer expectations have risen to higher levels, perhaps the most important attribute of a successful bar is taste. "Bars aren't just for protein or sports enthusiasts anymore," said Andrew Wheeler, corporate director of marketing, FutureCeuticals. Now that they've "moved from the fringes to center-store," he said, "gone are the days of bland, hard-to- stomach products. As with other foods, consumers have a more sophisticated palate today and look for the bar 'trifecta': fl avor, texture and function." Despite all the considerations, mastering the bar doesn't have to be rocket science. "Don't overthink it," Wheeler advised. "Look to real, whole-food nutrition and manufacturers or suppliers who can partner with you to design something consumers will love to eat. Tell consumers what's in it and how much, show them where it comes from, keep the ingredient deck small, demonstrate corporate responsibility—and deliver on your nutritional promise for goodness' sake." Kimberly J. Decker is a Bay Area food writer. She's worked in product development for the frozen sector and written about food, nutrition and the culinary arts, getting her hands into everything from cookbook projects for local chefs, to corporate communications and regular appearances on the pages of industry journals. Reach her at Food & Beverage: Functional Bars While healthy fats and attributes such as fiber content boost a bar's nutritionals, perhaps no macronutrient gets the attention—in bars or elsewhere—that protein does. Read the Full Article For additional information on the bars category, formulation challenges, trending ingredients and more, click on the QR code to read this article in its entirety. Scan Here foodsbeverages/bar-necessities-formulating- functional-bars-stand-out-crowd

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