The increase in global demand for bread, biscuits, pasta and bakery products brings with it the growth of the additives market. Increasing consumer awareness of healthy food products in the past few years has skyrocketed the nutritious food market. The combination of enzymes and micronutrient premixes serves not only as a value addition to the nutritional profile but also refines the textural properties of the flour. Life-saving vitamins and minerals should be made available through fortified grains to the billions around the globe who suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.
Additives play an important role in determining the physical and functional properties of bakery products. Additives are used to enhance the color, texture, flavor, and stability of bakery products such as bread, cakes, muffins, rolls, croissants, pizza, biscuits, and donuts. Emulsifiers are one of the main ingredients used as bread additives in various bakery product applications. Other ingredients such as enzymes, oxidizing agents and reducing agents are also widely used in bakery applications. Manufacturers of bakery products are increasingly expanding their product range to meet dynamic consumer demands such as functional requirements like low fat and high nutritional value and taste. The demand for different types of bread such as whole wheat and multigrain increases the demand for bread additives.
Flour is a staple that serves as an excellent source of energy for people around the world, though the source and form of the flour may vary across regions. Wheat, maize and rice serve as the most common sources of flour though the production of wheat flour remains the highest. Flour is a relatively economical solution to significant proportions of the world‘s population as compared to other staples.
Flour forms an inevitable part of the modern-day processed food segment. It is the basis of most baked goods, snacks, extruded products such as noodles, pasta and wafers – products that occupy a major portion of the retail shelf. However, the processing of grains destroys the innate nutrients that pre-exist in its natural state. Although grains are preloaded with certain essential nutrients, processing conditions such as heat disrupt the nutritional profile of the processed food product. Thus, there arises a clamant need to restore the lost nutrients.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fortification is “the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, ie. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food irrespective of whether the nutrients were originally in the food before processing or not, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health”, whereas enrichment is defined as “synonymous with fortification and refers to the addition of micronutrients to a food which are lost during processing”.
Fortification of flour offers multiple benefits to consumers, satisfying caloric requirements as well as alleviating the problem of hidden hunger. Fortification of wheat flour with vital micronutrients is believed to serve as an effective technique to counter the nutritional deficiencies faced by the global population. It is a cost-effective tool for reducing micronutrient deficiencies and prevent birth defects such as neural tube defects that occur due to folic acid deficiency.
Vitamins B9, vitamin B12 and iron are the most preferred and commonly used micronutrients to fortify flour although a range of other micronutrients such as zinc, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine may also be chosen.
Vitamins are generally more sensitive to heat, light, oxidizing, and reducing agents as compared to minerals. The instability of micronutrients can be resolved by choosing the right forms of nutrients. An optimum overage is considered in certain cases to nullify the loss of nutrients during processing and storage.
The physiochemical properties of the substrates may also affect the stability of the micronutrients. For instance, the moisture content of flour might affect the stability of minerals like iron and zinc. Hence, depending on the nature of the food, the form of nutrients and their carrier are carefully chosen.
In addition to adding micronutrients – a conventional technique that is used to cut down the ill effects of malnutrition, the latest trend has been to combine the effectiveness of flour improvers and enzymes with the functional characteristics of micronutrient premixes – a blend of vitamins and minerals.
The physiochemical characteristics of wheat flour suits baking applications and hence serves as the most preferred form of flour. Although its natural properties compliment various aspects required for baking, baking industries are opting for certain flour additives that have the tendency to alter specific properties of the flour. These alterations enhance the sensorial qualities of the end product.
The additives are defined as flour improvers. Commonly used flour improvers include enzymes. The addition of enzymes in wheat flour has several effects on the end products such as enhanced raising of the dough, aiding better texture and porosity and improved shelf life due to anti-staling properties.
Enzymes such as amylases play a pivotal role in improving the texture of the product. It breaks down complex sugar molecules into simple sugar units, enhancing the process of fermentation of the dough. In wheat flour, the main structural protein called gluten is the key molecule behind the elastic properties of the flour. Proteases are enzymes that break down the protein molecules such as gluten, altering the textural properties of wheat flour to obtain the desired textural character. Certain other enzymes such as lipase and asparginase are also added to improve the qualities of wheat flour.
The combination of enzymes and micronutrient premixes serves not only as a value addition to the nutritional profile but also refines the textural properties of the flour.
COVER STORY INDEX
- How staple food fortification promotes healthier and brighter futures for people worldwide
“Partnering with companies who have a long history of working in the food fortification space, can offer governments, NGOs and donors the support they need to select and successfully implement the best-suited fortification method and program, while also measuring results effectively. DSM has been promoting and actively engaging in staple food fortification for decades, providing its technical and scientific capabilities to its partners, as well as supplying them with high-quality, reliable and traceable micronutrient solutions. Together, the public and private sectors have the power to eliminate hidden hunger and achieve zero hunger by 2030 (SDG 2), creating a better and more sustainable future for all.”
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- Flour improvers market in the Middle East
“The market of flour improvers in the Middle East is a promising market that is constantly growing with an estimated growth rate of 5% annually. This is the result of the growing number of flour mills and their increased production capacity and competitiveness in Egypt and the region in addition to the large and continuous increase in the population, the increased number of pasta, biscuit and pastry factories and of course due to the quality fluctuation of wheat used by mills.”
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- Syrian flat bread improvement
“The aims of using flour additive in flatbread industry is to optimize flour dough machinability and preventing bread staling. During bread staling bread firmness and fragility increase because of drying and starch retrogradation. Due to the differences in baking Syrian flatbread as compared with other bread like pan bread it is wrong to recommend the same types of bread improvers for both of them.”
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