CHICAGO — Three-quarters of shoppers look for one or more specific ingredients when purchasing baked goods, according to “Power of Bakery 2019,” a new report from the American Bakers Association and Food Marketing Institute that is sponsored by Corbion. While whole grain and multi-grain are the most sought ingredients, the presence of vitamins, minerals and a growing array of functional nutrients appeals to nearly a quarter of all shoppers, particularly younger ones who want more from what they eat.

It’s no wonder bakers are increasingly giving their products boosts of extra nutrition, an effort known as fortification. This is not to be confused with enrichment, which refers to the addition of micronutrients depleted during processing. With both practices, bakers may encounter taste and stability challenges that need to be addressed early in the development process.

There are several approaches to effectively deliver extra nutrition. These include technologies that protect the nutrients, best practices for weighing and adding nutrients, and smart-blending systems. But, first and foremost, a baker should determine what nutrients to add and why. Is it to enhance nutrient content or make a health claim? Is it to comply with a standard of identity? Is it for a specific demographic known to be deficient in certain nutrients?

“Different age groups and lifestyles have different nutritional requirements, so it’s important to know who the target consumer is before developing a concept,” said Nathan Pratt, R.&D. scientist of nutrition for Kerry Ingredients. “For example, children need iron, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D for optimal growth and development, but many kids do not get enough of these, so they are great candidates for fortification into foods kids eat frequently.”

Adding nutrients to baked goods increases costs; therefore, it is paramount that only the right ones in the most effective form be added to the formulation. You also want to make sure that addition fulfills a purpose.

“The fortified food should be consumed in quantities that will make a significant contribution to the diet of the population in need,” said Jasmine Monette, professional nutritionist and technical support manager at Lallemand Baking. “The baker needs to make sure that the addition does not create an imbalance of essential nutrients and that the nutrient is stable under proper conditions of storage and use.”

Vitamins, for example, are more sensitive to stress during the baking process.

“This means vitamins can lose some activity,” said Annette Bueter, product developer for SternVitamin. “Losses in activity can be compensated by adding overages, which means we are adding higher vitamin levels than what is required on the label of the final product. Minerals are less sensitive than vitamins, but they can have an impact on the sensory properties of the baked goods.”

Nutrient distribution and interactions must also be evaluated. The latter may change over shelf life and have a negative impact on taste and appearance.

“Differences in particle size may cause incomplete blending or segregation of nutrients,” said Mel Mann, director of innovation for Wixon. “Minerals such as calcium may disrupt bubble formation — gas leavening — during baking, resulting in lower rise. Bioavailability should also be considered. There may be solubility issues because of nutrient interactions.”

Encapsulation can delay or prevent interactions.

“In the end, it all depends on the levels and the combinations of micronutrients in the final product,” Ms. Bueter said.

Enrich vs. fortify

Historically, fortification was all about adding vitamins and minerals to everyday foods to prevent deficiencies that can lead to disease. This has evolved to include adding nutrients to help the body function at its best.

“Bakers who fortify their products have an opportunity to create functional foods that provide broad nutritional benefits, or they can reach into highly desirable niche food markets by developing products tailored to specific health conditions,” said Laura Tagliani, director of science and compliance at Quintessence Nutraceuticals.

Markets like bakery and snacks that have matured often start to converge into different segments as companies differentiate their products and gain consumer attention, observed Sam Wright, chief executive officer of The Wright Group.

“Segments can be based on age, gender, lifestyle considerations, health conditions or even time of day,” he said. “The permutations are endless, and each segment would require a different combination of nutrients to support the market positioning.”

Take calcium fortification.

Cheese crackers“This is important for healthy development in children, as well as necessary for maintaining bone health throughout adulthood,” said Matt Patrick, technology, applications research and technical services for Delavau Bakery Partners by SafPro.

This bone-building nutrient is not inherently present in grain; however, varied grain-based foods are commonly consumed by the demographics that need calcium. Young children, for example, eat breakfast cereals and snack crackers. Adding calcium to these products for bone development can round out these products.

While older children and young adults would also benefit from calcium, their nutritional needs and diets are different. This demographic gravitates toward portable bars and may benefit from protein and even a dose of caffeine for an afternoon energy boost.

Keep in mind the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require fortification or enrichment for any food product; however, for products described as “enriched,” there is a standard of identity that must be maintained.

Flour is one of the most commonly enriched and fortified food ingredients. In the U.S., the Code of Federal Regulations specifies the exact amount of five nutrients — folic acid, iron, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin — that must be added to enriched flour and provides specifications for other optional nutrients. Other countries have their own fortification specifications based on the nutritional needs of the population.

“When wheat is milled, the bran and germ from the wheat kernel are removed, and the endosperm is processed into white flour, stripping certain vitamins and minerals,” said Cary Efurd, national sales manager for Corbion. “Flour enrichment adds those back, restoring essential nutrients that are lost during processing to meet mandatory regulations. When adding vitamins and minerals at the milling level, consistency is key. There are certain variables at the mill to overcome in order to meet the minimum requirements and guidelines for flour enrichment outlined by the F.D.A.”

This is where premixes are useful. Suppliers carefully combine micronutrients at specified levels to ensure the quantified dosage is delivered to the consumer through the end of the product’s shelf life.

“Premixes generally come from suppliers skilled in manufacturing and verification of content, including overages needed to account for losses from baking and shelf life,” Mr. Mann said.

Premixes are also pre-portioned to prevent nutrient imbalance and ease-of-use.

“In the premixes, the level of vitamins and minerals are pre-portioned according to the ratio of daily nutrient requirement,” Ms. Monette said.

Even with premixes, however, there can be taste and texture challenges.

“Flavor challenges can be overcome through techniques like encapsulation and flavor-masking,” Mr. Patrick said. “Overcoming textural challenges usually requires physical manipulation of the particle involved.”

For example, Lesaffre Yeast Corp. has overcome calcium fortification challenges through patented technology that uses calcium carbonate at a specific particle size together with solubility manipulation.

It’s important to consider how much of each nutrient will be present in each serving because marketers cannot control how much product a consumer will eat in one sitting. Sensible fortification practices must be employed to protect consumers from over-indulging.

“All vitamins and minerals have a daily requirement that we need to make sure to get enough of, as well as an upper limit we should not exceed,” Mr. Pratt said. “For example, the daily recommendation for vitamin D is 15 micrograms per day for most adults. The upper limit is 100 micrograms per day. Smart, safe addition levels would be 10 to 20% of the daily value of a nutrient per serving. Remember, people eat many different foods over the course of a day, so they do not need to get all their nutrient requirements from one food at one setting.”

Choices of fortificants

At the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition held in New Orleans in June, suppliers showcased fortified and enriched baked goods.

The Wright Group sampled a keto-designed peanut butter protein snack bar. It contained an array of microencapsulated and organic-compliant vitamins and minerals as well as soy and dairy protein, encapsulated omega-3 powder and a 60% medium-chain triglycerides powder, which is unique to the company.

Watson, Inc. showcased potassium-fortified snack bar bites. The prototype uses a premix containing a number of vitamins and minerals and allows for a “good source of potassium” claim.

“We designed a special microencapsulation system to mask the salty taste of potassium,” said Moira Watson, vice-president of marketing and communications at Watson. “The coating matrix had to survive the bar-making process, which involves high heat, high moisture levels and acidity.”

The premix included iodine, which was delivered through a potassium iodide and calcium sulfate blend microencapsulated by an acacia gum matrix for added stability.

Bread“Since the iodine in this formula is a very small amount, this process enables accurate delivery and homogenous distribution,” she said.

Quintessence Nutraceuticals markets a nutritionally potent extract of the pharmacological isolates from the bran and germ layers of rice. The ingredient is made through a patented hydrolyzation and extraction process that makes the nutrients in rice bioavailable and bioactive. The ingredient supports in-demand label claims such as sustainable and 100% non-G.M.O.

Delavau offers a system that delivers sodium reduction and calcium fortification in baked goods.

“With this fortification technology, we have achieved ‘good,’ ‘excellent’ and ‘glass-of-milk’ levels of calcium in baked goods,” Mr. Patrick said. “We’re able to deliver a glass-of-milk level of calcium in a 6-inch sandwich roll without negatively impacting the sensory experience.”

Going hand-in-hand with calcium is vitamin D, a nutrient also associated with bone health. It is considered a nutrient of concern with deficiency linked to certain chronic diseases. Lallemand offers a natural, vegetarian ingredient for vitamin D fortification of baked goods. The company developed a process that allows baker’s yeast to produce vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet light.

“The vitamin D yeast is available as a concentrate,” Ms. Monette said. “This type of product is ideal for industrial bakeries as it can be used to fortify bread by adding it to regular cream yeast. For more accurate vitamin D dosing in smaller batch sizes, we offer premixes.”

Wixon sells several flavor-masking technologies that can help cover the chemical notes of certain vitamins and minerals.

“These are custom designed; there is not a single fix for every problem,” said Roni Eckert, senior food scientist at Wixon.

Baked goods’ position as ideal carriers for nutrients mean fortification will remain a staple in the industry and could gain momentum in the future. “Vitamins and minerals are generally accepted ingredients in typical baked goods, as they are usually part of the flour system,” Mr. Mann said. “In response to consumer avoidance of chemical-sounding ingredients, expect to see increased used of whole food ingredients with high concentrations of desirable nutrients.”