Functional Ingredients Offer the Best of Both Worlds13 Oct 2014
Over the years Food & Drink International has reported on the industry, the functional ingredients sector has perhaps undergone the greatest change. It used to be the case that consumers would often have to make the choice between taste and functionality, and the latter would be very much a niche product, usually available only in […]
Over the years Food & Drink International has reported on the industry, the functional ingredients sector has perhaps undergone the greatest change. It used to be the case that consumers would often have to make the choice between taste and functionality, and the latter would be very much a niche product, usually available only in specialist retailers.
Nowadays, as will be illustrated at Hi Europe, both taste and functionality are emphasised throughout numerous products – many of which are in the mainstream. The recent launch of Coca-Cola Life is a great example of how functionality is now a much sought-after attribute by many consumers.
In the UK, the gluten-free market is now said to be worth over £175 million and is the home of a huge number of launches. It used to be that a gluten-free diet would only be followed by those who were recommended to do so for health reasons, but now consumers increasingly make the choice to select it as a lifestyle option.
Consumers aren’t wishing to sacrifice taste, however, so the challenge for manufacturers is to incorporate these new functional ingredients into their products in a way that offers the same flexibility, quality and taste as those which use existing ingredients. Happily, a growing range of starch-based alternatives mimic the essential texture, performance and shelf life of everyday ingredients, such as egg, dairy solids and fruit pulp – which can help cut ingredient and manufacturing costs, without sacrificing consumer appeal. Indeed, the ability to provide more flexibility and cut costs, without sacrificing quality, is a valuable one for many producers.
Many flavouring specialists are now producing bespoke functional flavours, which can compensate for loss of body, mouthfeel and sweetness in products with reduced sugar. The bespoke flavourings enable manufacturers to shorten development time when modifying sweetening systems or reducing the sugar content of products.
One great example is how Barry Callebaut has launched Choc-a-like, an extended range of compounds for bakers, ice cream manufacturers and chocolatiers. The compound combines the sensation of chocolate taste, easy workability and food appeal. The flexibility they offer allows food processing professionals to go beyond the technical limits of chocolate while retaining an authentic chocolate taste, look and feel – the best of both worlds.
Functional ingredients have taken on increased importance as consumers aim to eat healthily but are still tempted by attractive flavours, colours and scents. While the public are often turned off by products that appear blatantly artificial, the new breed of ingredients offers all the properties of previous ingredients, but with additional bonuses in manufacturing efficiency and quality.
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