Researchers have shown that fortifying sauces with micro- and macronutrients may offer an approach to improving energy intake.

Functional ingredient menu

Every functional ingredient poses a different formulation challenge and must be evaluated by application, manufacturing process, distribution and shelf life requirements.

“Stability, for instance, might be an issue with proteins, as they tend to denature when exposed to various heat treatments, changes in pH or agitation,” Ms. Fligel said. “They will also thicken, gel or precipitate over time, impacting the final shelf life of applications. On the other hand, omega-3 fortification ingredients can cause oxidation if they’re not properly processed.”

Glanbia Nutritionals offers a range of dairy proteins that may provide the benefits of protein and calcium as well as functional benefits. These include whey and milk protein concentrates and isolates in various forms, based on fat or mineral content.

“An increasingly popular ingredient with culinologists is hydrolyzed protein,” Ms. Fligel said. “These proteins are able to withstand higher-temperature processing.”

Many functional ingredients deliver more than one nutrient, and, while providing nutrition, they often serve a purpose in the applications.

“For example, for baked goods such as pancakes, waffles, cookies and gluten-free muffins, we developed an egg-replacement solution that can be labelled as ‘flaxseed meal and whey protein concentrate,’” Ms. Fligel said. “The ingredient provides both emulsification and structure while improving texture and mouthfeel. It is significantly lower in fat and cholesterol than dried whole eggs and adds the nutritional benefits of fiber, protein and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 while improving moistness.”

All types of dairy ingredients may be useful tools for boosting not just protein content but calcium content as well. For example, calcium-rich milk minerals may be included in ready-to-drink smoothies, yogurt parfaits, beverages and baked goods.

“They come in various particle sizes for different needs in terms of solubility, stability and mouthfeel,” Ms. Fligel said. “Our milk mineral ingredient naturally contains 21 minerals found in milk that are essential for normal human growth and metabolism.”

Culinologists also need to determine the type of content claim. Absolute numbers, such as “contains 3 grams of fiber per serving,” tend to be easier to make than “good source” or “excellent source” claims.

“We offer a non‐GMO functional fiber derived from citrus pulp,” Ms. Wagner said. When used in combination with other fibers, it is possible to boost the fiber content of the food high enough to make a “good” or “excellent” source of fiber claim. While contributing fiber content, this citrus is also a performance fiber, as it can assist with moisture management, emulsification, stabilization and thickening of various foods.

“It’s an excellent water binder, which is why it is often used to control moisture migration in baked goods. This helps preserve freshness for an extended period of time, all while increasing fiber content.”

Depending on the food product, it is stated on a label declaration either as citrus fiber or citrus flour and registers as fiber on the nutritional label.

Though both fiber and omega-3 fatty acids may be added as isolated food ingredients to formulations, some ingredients are a source of the essential nutrients and others. For example, stabilized rice bran is an inherent source of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and ALA.

“Bran is about 10% by weight of the rice kernel,” said Robert Smith, senior vice-president of business development for RiceBran Technologies, Scottsdale, Ariz. “This is also where 80% of the nutrition resides. We’ve patented a process to stabilize the bran to prevent it from oxidizing, and thereby are able to provide an ingredient loaded with many nutrients lacking in today’s diet.”

It readily dissolves in water or other liquid, with some versions dissolving clear and others providing desirable opacity with or without viscosity. Applications include baked goods, pasta, pizza crust, protein and sports drinks, tortillas and snack bars.

“It’s even an approved binder for use in meats, such as hot dogs,” Mr. Smith said. “In conjunction with animal proteins, rice bran proteins can offer cost savings and a balanced amino acid profile.

“Rice bran brings protein, dietary fiber, phytosterols, antioxidants and gamma oryzanol to make fresh foods functional foods.”

Matcha is another multi-nutrient ingredient. It is also an ingredient chefs are increasingly using for sensory impact.

Matcha is fast becoming popular as an ingredient in sweet and savory foods for its healthy antioxidants, as well as its fresh and herbaceous taste.

Matcha is finely milled green tea powder made from green tea leaves. Its traditional use is in Japanese tea ceremonies, but is fast becoming popular as an ingredient in sweet and savory foods for its healthy antioxidants, as well as its fresh and herbaceous taste, according to Rona Tison, senior vice-president of corporate relations, Ito En (North America) Inc., New York.

“Innovative matcha applications range from dips and dressings to cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies,” she said. “It’s great in all types of dairy, including milk, ice cream and even pudding.”

Bill Driessen, director of Taiyo International Inc., Minneapolis, added, “Matcha has a pleasant earthy taste and naturally bright green color. Bakers are adding it directly to breads, cupcakes and muffins.

“When we consume matcha, we are eating the entire green tea leaf,” Mr. Driessen said. “You are getting all the soluble antioxidant components found in a cup of brewed green tea, as well as the insoluble components in the leaf, like some fiber, proteins and chlorophyll.”

Mr. Driessen concluded by noting that, “It is always a good opportunity for including functional ingredients in chef-inspired fresh foods when we can up the nutritional content of the end product without negatively affecting taste or texture. Sometimes it is even possible to both improve the nutritional content of a food, while at the same time improving texture and mouthfeel.”