Superfoods Provide New Possibilities In The World Of Baking
Thursday, June 7th, 2018
One of the markets with great potential to use superfoods as ingredients is the bakery industry, says Daniel Carrión, manager, Tigernuts Traders.
Superfoods are in vogue. This fact is absolutely understandable, as superfoods tout more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than any other food on the planet. Instead of our bodies being invaded by toxins, empty calories and hard-to-digest substances, superfoods provide a multitude of benefits that make us feel and look better, give us more energy and help our bodies fight all kinds of diseases. Although most superfoods have been sold for millennia, some of them have been forgotten or consumed only by a minority of people. These once-lost superfoods have been undergoing a renaissance for some years now.
The term superfood includes products as disparate as the well-known Cocoa Beans, Chia, Honey or Avocado, as well as others that are much more unknown, such as Tiger nuts, Açai or Spirulina. While it is true that some specific legislations prohibit the use of the word superfood on its own—to avoid misleading advertising—they request it to be accompanied by verified ‘Health Claims’. There is no denying that these products have a different profile than other types of ingredients, and when we refer to ‘different’, it is different for the better.
Due to the benefits they provide, the consumption trend of this type of food is increasing exponentially—in fact, the main cause of this rise in consumption is the reformulation of successful recipes by manufacturers. These recipes now infuse a current, healthy and innovative touch to older products. This practice is definitely gaining followers among the most innovative companies in very different sectors within the food industry, from confectionery companies to pasta manufacturers.
Beyond the benefits they can bring, most of these superfoods have very specific characteristics that consumers are actively seeking. Almost all of them are gluten-free, lactose-free or vegan: properties that are highly appreciated by very specific consumers. These consumer preferences are opening up new frontiers and market niches that traditional manufacturers had not anticipated and tapped into. The new phase of innovation and development for large manufacturers is well underway, and now consumers can find products of all kinds (cookies, muffins, pasta, drinks and so on) with reformulations that include one or more superfoods as ingredients that offer numerous health benefits.
Even with the sudden introduction of superfoods as ingredients in formulations for different uses, the term ‘superfood’ is quite new. It was first introduced in 2005, so this market has not yet reached its peak. In fact, it is expected that in the coming months, many more companies will launch products on the market that combine traditional ingredients with superfoods, thus offering very balanced and tasty food.
One of the latest superfoods to appear on the market is Tiger Nuts. The Tiger Nut is indeed not a nut, but a tuber that was already consumed millennia ago by the Egyptian civilisation and its pharaohs. For centuries, it remained in the dark as its cultivation was limited to very specific regions. However, for some years now, this product has been rapidly expanding worldwide, and, although it is not yet available in all corners of the globe, all types of food companies have shown interest in experimenting with this ingredient for their formulations.
The main properties of Tiger Nuts are its high amount of natural sugars, which eliminates the need for excess or added sugar in the formulations where it is used. Moreover, its high fibre content and its high oleic acid content are also its nutritional selling points. It is also a rich source of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron, and are also high in starch, unsaturated fats, proteins and enzymes that facilitate digestion. Ingredients with high fibre contents are particularly important in gluten-free diets as it has been reported that the fibre intake of celiac patients is low.
One of the markets with great potential to use superfoods as ingredients is the bakery industry. Bakery companies, particularly those specialised in gluten-free products, are marketing bakery mixes with which everyone can bake their own bread at home. The increasing interest in this type of product has led to an increased growth in the concept among specialised bakery companies and the development of ready-to-eat products with remarkable success.
The transformation of superfoods into suitable flours for bakery use is essential. Some of these superfoods, such as Tiger Nuts, have certain grinding difficulties due to their fibrous character and the high unsaturated fat amount they contain, but there are certain companies specialised in their treatment such as Tigernuts Traders, S.L., that are able to integrate and process tiger nuts for manufacturing purposes.
A particularity of superfoods is that you cannot use 100 percent of a single product for baking, and, in many cases, the simple formula of water, flour and salt is not viable. Therefore, it is necessary to use a mixture of flour or food additives to give the bread the sponginess and texture necessary to obtain an optimal product.
Great strides are being made in this sector and, in fact, prestigious Universities around the world are engaged in research into product development including superfoods. There is no doubt that superfoods and their part in the baking industry have a promising future, and it is time for the industry to take a stand on this, as this will definitely be one of the trends in the coming years.
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