For Puratos - an international group offering a full range of innovative products, raw materials and application expertise for artisans, industry, retailers and foodservice customers in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors - nutrition is a key commitment, with the issue of fat reduction firmly set in its sights.
There is no discussion anymore over the urgency of addressing the rise of obesity and associated metabolic disorders. This constitutes one of the major global challenges for many stakeholders: consumers, associations, governments and also the food industry. Helping consumers achieve a balanced diet is crucial and requires improved availability of healthier food products.
The food industry has a key role to play in this global challenge by offering healthier food, with limited levels of nutrients of concerns such as saturated fat and trans fatty acids (TFA).
Reducing the amount of total fat intake to less than 30% of total energy intake helps prevent unhealthy weight gain in the adult population. Also, the risk of developing non-communicable diseases is lowered by reducing saturated fat to less than 10% of total energy intake and trans fat to less than 1% of total energy intake, and replacing both with unsaturated fat.
Reducing fat - saturated fat and trans fat in particular - is a real challenge as fat has an essential role in food: it not only delivers a good taste but also gives desired functionalities to products. Puratos, has addressed this challenge to offer its customers ingredients and solutions on fats to improve the well-being of consumers.
Nutrition is one of Puratos's main commitments, and it is dedicated to developing products and solutions that present the best nutritional profile without compromising on taste, quality or safety to achieve that goal. Of course, fat is one of its key focuses. When developing new products or reformulating existing ones, R&D teams follow internal nutritional guidelines that are based on well-recognised dietary recommendations. The target is to reduce the intake of fat with low nutritional quality or replace it with fat of good nutritional quality, and virtually remove all trans fat.
Puratos also integrates recent advancements in nutritional science into its approach. For instance, it is now well recognised that the cardiovascular effect of saturated fats is more complex than first thought: the type of fatty acids and the food source should be considered. For example, cocoa butter, which is, for the most part, composed of saturated fats (stearic acid being the major saturated fatty acid), has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
Puratos applies this approach to its entire product portfolio. In particular, specific products and solutions have been developed for customers to remove trans fat or reduce fat in bakery and patisserie products. These include a range of margarines made with non-hydrogenated fats; Puraslim, a new product to reduce fat in rich breads while keeping the same organoleptic qualities; and Cremfil Ultim, a range of chocolate and nut fillings that contains up to 83% less fat than traditional fat-based chocolate fillings.
Puratos takes trans fat seriously. Indeed, bakery and patisserie products can be significant contributors to consumers' trans fat intake. For instance, just one croissant for breakfast and a piece of cake as an afternoon treat, if made with fats containing partially hydrogenated fat, will provide almost 5g of trans fat.
This actually exceeds the daily trans fat quota of an average adult (see table, above right). According to the most recent World Health Organization recommendation, the mean population intake of trans fat should be less than 1% of daily energy intake. For an average adult, needing 2,000kcal daily, this accounts for 2g of trans fat a day.
Eliminating trans fat from food products is quite a challenge for the food industriy as partially hydrogenated fats, the main source of industrial trans fat, play an important functional role in food: they improve the plasticity, crystallisation and melting characteristics of products, and are more resistant to oxidation than non-hydrogenated oils.
Eliminating partially hydrogenated oils is possible by the careful selection of alternative fats and optimisation of processing conditions. Reformulation and testing takes time, but it is necessary to ensure consistent optimal quality. The cost impact of new formulations in bakery, patisserie and chocolate products depends on the availability and price of specific alternative fats, as well as necessary changes in processing. Intensive optimisation keeps this cost impact to a minimum, while, in exceptional cases, the new formulation can be significantly more expensive.
Eliminating TFAs entirely, however, is technically not possible today. Indeed, natural non-hydrogenated refined fats and oils do contain small levels of TFAs, formed during the refining process, which is essential to convert crude oils into safe, edible oils. Therefore, despite huge industry efforts, a total absence cannot be guaranteed. That is why one can talk only of limits such as 1 or 2% of total fat.
Puratos has been working on technology to remove virtually all trans fat from its ingredients for bakery, patisserie and chocolate products. For example, it has developed non-hydrogenated margarine without compromising the well-known quality level of Puratos standards. Thus, it has margarine made from non-hydrogenated fats that contain a very low level of trans fat - under 2% of trans fat on total-fat basis, and this without significantly increasing the amount of saturated fat.
To return to the one croissant and one serving of cake: using Puratos non-hydrogenated margarine can reduce the quantity of TFAs to below 0.5g, and thus helps consumers limit their TFA intake and meet dietary recommendations.
Think of a bun - your favourite bun. Now imagine the same bun with 50% less fat. Unrealistic? No - it simply contains Puraslim.
When consumers buy bread, their decision is driven by three key criteria: taste, freshness and health. Consumers are more aware and more attentive than ever of what to eat in order to live healthier.
Being conscious about their food, consumers frequently read the nutritional and ingredient information on the label. While doing so, they mainly check the fat and calorie levels. So consumers are looking for healthy and better-balanced products, but with no compromise on indulgence or taste, and at an affordable price. Bakers worldwide are looking for innovative solutions to meet these consumer expectations, and, at the same time, increase their own convenience and overcome their own hurdles, such as cost management, structural constraints and the production environment.
Fat is a key ingredient in baking. It plays a crucial role in the volume of the bread, in texture improvement and in flavour. But it significantly contributes to the caloric value. When burned or metabolised in the body, each gram of fat releases about nine calories, which is more than double the amount of released by sugar or protein. Furthermore, fat also represents a significant cost that is subject to large price fluctuations.
Puraslim is included in improvers and mixes, allowing fat reduction while still baking rich breads with a great texture and freshness. In this way, Puraslim improvers and mixes help bakers to respond to three major market challenges: nutrition, cost management and greater convenience in their working conditions.
Puraslim has a nutritional benefit as it allows the reduction of calorie, total fat and saturated fat content of rich baked goods, mainly by increasing water content, with a marginal effect on refined carbohydrates and sugars.The reduction in calories, fat and saturated fat is such that it allows bakers to communicate health claims on the product packaging. Take, for example, a sweet bun: this product is generally considered to have 15% fat by flour weight, but a Puraslim bun only contains 5%. The results speak for themselves:10% fewer calories, 47% less fat and a reduction of 45% in saturated fat content (see table).
In this case, nutritional claims such as 'reduced in fat' and 'reduced in saturated fat' would be valid. Consumer tests have shown that consumers mostly prefer the Puraslim bun over the reference bun.
The reduction of the fat level helps to decrease the exposure to price fluctuations of fat (butter, margarine and oils). With Puraslim, bakers can also increase their yield management by adding more water. This can lead to a significant reduction in the total recipe cost. With Puraslim improvers and mixes, the recipe cost of a brioche bread could be reduced by 8% compared with a standard recipe, with no discernible differences in product characteristics.
Finally, using Puraslim mixes also requires less handling and thus a minimised risk on scaling mistakes. It guarantees the constant quality of the end result and greater peace of mind. The outcome is high-quality bread with a great texture and freshness.
Think again of a bun. This time, however, it contains a mouth-watering chocolate or hazelnut filling. Now imagine the same filled bun again but with 37% less fat; it contains Cremfil Ultim.
Cremfil Ultim fillings offer an answer to consumer snacking demands with the indulgent experience of soft chocolate centres. These centres are an emerging trend for chocolate fillings in buns, cakes, muffins, croissants and cookies. Fillings, and chocolate-flavoured fillings in particular, reinforce the indulgent perception of snacks. This is confirmed by recent studies in the 'Sensobus' - Puratos's unique mobile sensory analysis lab - whereby consumers were asked if they preferred sweet goods with or without fillings. In some markets, up to 98% of consumers preferred sweet goods with filling.
Moreover, Innova trend analysis reveals that chocolate and cocoa are the most popular flavours used in patisserie and sweet baked goods. Milk, dark or white; sweet, bitter or with a taste of hazelnuts, chocolate is loved by consumers worldwide, and the trend continues to grow. In addition, as consumers are prepared to pay more for appealing chocolate applications, this will translate to higher sales and profit.
Puratos creates solutions inspired by consumer trends by using the results from market studies and its 'Taste Tomorrow' research.
In chocolate, there is a trend polarisation among 'better for you' products due to increased health concerns, indulgence and the 'treat' image of chocolate. Industrial bakers are trying to move more towards chocolate fillings with better nutritional profiles, often as a result of pressure from governments that impose specific nutritional standards for products aimed at children. Countries such as Mexico, France, Spain, Australia and the US are focusing heavily on providing healthier snacking alternatives for schoolchildren.
Adding a Cremfil Ultim filling is a way of not only adding indulgence to a product but also rebalancing its nutritional profile. Cremfil Ultim fillings contain less than 10% fat, while a traditional fat-based filling contains at least 30% fat. In the case of Cremfil Ultim Hazelnut, it contains 70% less fat, 24% less sugar and 49% fewer calories than a traditional fat-based hazelnut filling.
The results of including Cremfil Ultim fillings in baked goods can therefore have a significant impact on the nutritional profile of the goods.
Take, again, the example of the bun: replacing a traditional hazelnut filling with Cremfil Ultim hazelnut in a soft bun results in a fat reduction of 37%, which would allow a 'reduced in fat' claim according to European and FDA legislation. In addition, the Cremfil Ultim bun has 27% less saturated fat. Sugars and calories are reduced by 14 and 15% respectively. In a muffin, it is possible to achieve 11% fat reduction, 15% saturated fat reduction, 5% sugar reduction and 6% calorie reduction.
Cremfil Ultim rebalances the nutritional profile not only of conventional fat-based filled items but of non-filled items as well. Adding Cremfil Ultim to unfilled products adds indulgence to finished goods but also lowers the fat content of unfilled layer cakes and long-shelf-life croissants. Cremfil Ultim fillings contain less than 10% fat, whereas non-filled sweet goods easily contain 20% fat. The greater the proportion of Cremfil Ultim you put into the product, the lower the fat and calorie content of layer cakes and long-shelf-life croissants.
In this way, and thanks to the use of Cremfil Ultim, more than 1,000t of fat was removed from consumers' diets in the past year in different countries around the world. The convenience of preserved freshness adds a benefit on top of Cremfil Ultim's fat reduction.
Cremfil Ultim fillings improve the overall freshness of soft bakery and patisserie items thanks to the controlled water activity. Studies in buns and muffins show that Cremfil Ultim is able to extend the freshness of soft baked goods over time.
Freshness after one month with Cremfil Ultim is equal to the freshness after one week with a fat-based filling.
Additionally, the texture of Cremfil Ultim remains soft and creamy throughout the product's shelf life. This was confirmed during a consumer test with Sensobus, where taste and freshness of Cremfil Ultim Hazelnut were appreciated significantly more than that of a standard chocolate hazelnut filling after three months of shelf life.
Cremfil Ultim fillings are adding real pleasure to soft, sweet baked goods - less fat, delicious chocolate nut tastes, and freshness.
Nutrition is a reality with Puratos: this year, thanks to its solutions, Puratos customers removed more than 2,150t of fat from the market. Of course, the company doesn't want to stop there - it aims to do much more in the coming years to support its customers in providing healthier foods to the end consumers, not only in terms of fat but also for salt, grains and seeds, for example.