Health claims in bakery need science but communicating them remains challenging when the benefits cannot be directly perceived by consumers, says the research head at Vaasan Group.
The international baking group, headquartered in Finland, has developed several functional bakery products, including cholesterol-lowering bread using beta-glucan, and vitamin D-enriched bread.
Speaking to attendees at the Fi’s Bakery Innovation Europe conference in Munich on Wednesday 19, Marika Lyly, nutrition and research manager at Vaasan, said that communication to consumers, and also health professionals, was crucial to the success of functional bakery products.
“Communication is needed when you have to sell a consumer benefit which cannot be perceived directly,” she said.
Caution: You need to take into account legislation
However, Lyly reminded attendees that when developing functional bakery in Europe, the products fall under EFSA regulations in terms of the health claims that can be made about the product and its contents.
“It’s been a really hard process to get accepted claims… It has had quite a dramatic impact on communication,” she explained.
“One thing that’s important to remember is that to health professionals; you can communicate with broader literature. But to consumers, you can’t; you can only communicate the accepted health claims.”
‘You need to have answers’ for questions about your product
Vaasan has developed a ‘checklist’ for developing functional bakery products because there are a lot of answers needed when working on such products, Lyly said.
Companies need to know where ingredients are sourced from, the price, the carrier ingredient and whether this needs to be labeled, she said. They also need to know the sensory attributes, the stability of the ingredient, if that stability can be quantified after processing and if it impacts the freezing or shelf-life of the end product, she explained.
“Eventually someone will ask, and you need to have answers. It’s very good if you have your own data, or public, independent data which may be even better,” she said.
“To be successful in the development of healthier bakery products, it needs to be target-orientated with high in-house priority and support. Research and science give a very firm basis during the development, so use science. When you know your baking process, maybe with the help of science, it makes things faster and easier.”
Are you keen to find out more about salt, fat and sugar reduction in baked goods? BakeryandSnacks.com is hosting a FREE-TO-ATTEND online event Bakery Reformulation on March 5 covering much more on this topic. With expert insight on the latest ingredients and innovations available, to discussions on regulatory concerns and tips on how to market healthy baked goods, this online event is not to be missed. Click HERE to register for FREE.