Gelita launches Optibar for soft and sugar-free protein bars

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

© RHJ / Getty Images
© RHJ / Getty Images

Related tags Functional food Protein

Gelita has launched its new Optibar collagen blend to allow manufacturers to create "future-proof, next-generation" protein bars that are both soft and low sugar.

The collagen peptide supplier says the specific blend allows more protein to be delivered in functional bars with a long-lasting, soft and indulgent texture. It also acts as a sugar-free binder, enabling ‘low sugar’ and ‘no sugar’ claims in cereal bars.

Gelita developed the ingredient to tap into the 27% of consumers who say that a high source of protein is important in snack bars, with 'high source of protein' and 'low/no sugar' claims the most influential claims in global sports and functional nutrition (Innova Market Insights).

Developed to offer superior solubility, the powdered ingredient is designed to create pleasantly smooth bars with an indulgent mouthfeel that lasts throughout the shelf life—even at very high protein levels of as much as 60%.

"The main challenge in high protein bars is texture and taste as protein bars tend to harden during shelf life," Natalie Leuwer, Gelita category manager food specialties, told NutraIngredients. "We are convinced that people are tired of hard and grainy textured protein bars and that they are looking for high protein bars that make them feel like enjoying a candy bar. It’s all about taste and texture."

Derived by enzymatic hydrolysis of natural collagen, Optibar has good bioavailability, and its neutral taste means it can be incorporated into both sweet or savory bars. According to Innova Market Insights' category survey 2023, top flavors in energy and cereal bars are milk chocolate, almond, mixed nuts and dark chocolate. 

The blend is also designed to combine well with other nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, and ingredients such as dried fruits and cereals.

As it is non-GMO and free from E-numbers, it can be incorporated into clean label products with potential nutritional claims (under EU Regulation 1924/2006) including ‘source of protein’, ‘high protein’, ‘reduced sugar’, ‘low sugar’, and ‘sugar-free’.

Ease of processing

Unlike traditional cereal bar binders, there is no need for boiling with Optibar. It is warmed with water and oil to 70° C before the dry ingredients are added and the mass molded.

What's more, it can be used in existing production lines without the need for additional equipment, and its agglomerated form guarantees dust-free handling. Overall, using this blend should lead to lower energy requirements, reduced processing costs, less thermal stress on sensitive ingredients and a lower environmental impact, the firm said.

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