The growing need for clean label products is a broad demand but a real one. According to Nielsen, clean label products have been the biggest growth drivers of the packaged food and beverage industry in the past five years. Fruit powders can help slim down ingredient labels and increase wellness claims as they are natural and retain many of their built-in health advantages.
“Fruit powders have been used in baked goods for quite some time,” said Brigham Sikora, research, development and applications director, Bakery, Kerry. “The innovation we are seeing currently and some of the uses we are trying to explore are using our vegetable and fruit powders to add claims of servings of fruits or vegetables in the final product. In some cases, we are also able to label just the fruit or vegetable in the ingredient declaration with no other additives.”
Kerry’s portfolio of powders includes a range of fruits, vegetables and specialty varieties such as honey, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar and have been applied to cookies, muffins and donuts as an added health component.
“Traditionally, fruit powders have been used in bakery items to add flavor and in some cases color,” Mr. Lutomski said. “But recent trends look for more than just taste, color and ease-of-use; these trends are looking for ingredients with inherent functional benefits and clean labels.”
The advantages of produce powders can be seen in scientific studies as well as countless consumer trends. For example, a 2016 study performed at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center involving adults who had mild cognitive impairment — a risk condition for Alzheimer’s disease — revealed that participants given the powdered equivalent of a cup of blueberries vs. a placebo powder had improved cognitive performance and brain function compared with those who took the placebo. The blueberry group also demonstrated improved memory and improved access to words and concepts. As these studies reveal health benefits, powders instead of other fillers could be used to leverage these research-based claims and target consumers searching for specific benefits.
Welch’s Concord Fruit Powder is packed with a wide variety of polyphenols. The polyphenols found in concord grapes have been shown to help support a healthy heart and early research indicates they also provide enhanced cognitive function. The fruit and vegetable powder format has a denser concentration of the polyphenols allowing it to have a real effect on herbal extract products.
“The baker will need to determine what claims they are comfortable making, but Welch’s will gladly share its research to help our customer make that decision,” Mr. Lutomski said.
Another factor to consider is the growing desire among millennials for snacks loaded with vital minerals, nutrients and vitamins. “Snacking Motivations and Attitudes US 2015,” a recent report by Mintel, revealed they are more likely than older generations to buy snacks with added nutritional benefits such as high fiber, energizing claims or protein content.