There are two approaches to improving the nutritional profile of baked goods. One is to add isolated vitamins, minerals, and other healthy compounds directly to the dough or batter. This is often done in the form of a premix, which is a pre-dosed and distributed nutrient package. The other is to formulate with whole food ingredients that are sources of critical nutrients.
Regarding the latter, there are certain nutrients that are crucial for brain development. Some of these are found in nuts and seeds, such as essential fatty acids, protein, zinc, and B vitamins. While bakers may have avoided nuts and seeds in the past due to food allergies, the new dietary guidelines recommend early adoption to prevent food allergies.
Berries are another nutritious whole food ingredient that can also help with natural sweetening while also providing an appealing color. Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries in particular are rich in flavonoid compounds called anthocyanins, which are believed to improve mental performance by increasing blood flow to the brain.
“They also protect against inflammation and improve certain signaling pathways that promote the production of nerve cells and cellular processes involved in learning and memory,” said Patrick Quinn, former educator and current education expert at Brainly, an online learning community based in Poland also extremely nutritious, and they can provide the energy and fuel for the brain kids need first thing in the morning. Oatmeal is a high-fiber food that keeps the heart and brain arteries free. “
Baking with eggs is also beneficial from a nutritional point of view.
“The versatile egg is a great source of protein, and egg yolks are filled with choline, which helps develop memory,” Quinn said.
Using whole foods is the approach Serenity Kids, Austin, Texas is taking with its new Grain Free Puffs. This snack consists of nutrient-rich cassava root, dehydrated organic vegetables, pasture-raised beef bone broth, and olive oil.
“We wanted to continue to provide nutritious, healthy options to babies as they grow,” said Serenity Carr, co-founder and chief operating officer of Serenity Kids.
Quaker also relies on whole foods to add nutritional value to its new Quaker Kids Organic soft-baked bars and canapés. Made from organic whole grain oats and wheat flour, each serving contains 11 to 19 grams of whole grain products. While the product does provide fiber and protein, it does not provide significant amounts of most vitamins and minerals.
That’s not the case with the Nutri-Grain Kids soft-baked mini-granola bars from the Kellogg Company of Battle Creek, Michigan. This formula provides 10% of the daily value of many important nutrients, including calcium.
“In childhood and adolescence, getting enough calcium is critical to the development of healthy bone mass,” said Bill Hanes, vice president of Marketing and Strategy, Lesaffre. “Unfortunately, this is also a time when children are not getting enough of this important nutrient. However, children tend to enjoy baked goods. Baked goods fortified with calcium inspire parents not only for their children, but also for their own sake.
“With our calcium fortification technology, we have integrated good, excellent and 8 oz glass-milk contents of calcium into bakery applications without affecting the eating experience.”
Ms. Mesch agreed that bone health is one of the most important positioning categories of products for children. In response, SternVitamin developed a grain-based nutrient system for baked goods that contains vitamin D and calcium.
Immunity is also a top priority because of the pandemic, with vitamin D playing an important role in immune function. A deficiency has been shown to increase the susceptibility to infections. Bakers may want to add other immunity boosting ingredients like antioxidants, probiotics, and postbiotics.
Postbiotics eliminate the need to add probiotics as they are the healthy metabolites that the microbiome produces, the compounds that have real health benefits. These include a number of enzymes, peptides, organic acids, fatty acids, and more.
“Postbiotics are the newcomers to the block,” said Justin Green, director of scientific affairs at Cargill Health Technologies. “Compared to the more well-known probiotics, postbiotics offer greater stability and consistency.”
June Lin, Global Vice President Marketing, Health and Wellness, ADM, said, “Because postbiotics do not contain live microorganisms, our postbiotic has a variety of uses as it can withstand harsh processing conditions such as high heat in baking. This makes it possible to provide nutritional support to the food that carers and children consume on a daily basis. “
Choline is another nutrient that is under-consumed by children. It is vital to lifelong cognitive functioning and is specifically linked to fetal and infant brain development and improved memory. Omega-3 fatty acids are another. In particular, docosahexaenoic acid contributes to the development and function of the brain and nervous system. It is important for brain development in infants and young children, as well as eyesight and cognitive health throughout life.
This article is an excerpt from the June 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full Fortification & Enrichments feature, click here.