The taste testing marks the final stage of the four-year collaborative EU-funded HealthBread project to develop wholegrain recipes that appeal to consumers while increasing dietary fiber and micronutrient intake.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com, TNO consultant Jan Willem Van der Kamp said that high fiber breads developed under the project were being evaluated by consumers in a handful of European countries, with initial results promising.
Seven bakeries in Italy, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands were experimenting with the wholegrain recipes and five had developed new products, Van Der Kamp said.
“The feedback we’ve received is that consumers like the bread we have developed, but we need to wait for the full results of our consumer tests. We are confident they will validate the efficacy of the business model we are proposing and this will encourage other mills and bakers in the EU to get on board.”
He said discussions were taking place between partners to work out the best way to manage the roll-out of the wholegrain bread to “maximize its potential”.
“In the long-term we estimate flour mills selling these special flours/fractions will increase sales by 30%, so there is a major market opportunity. The recipes could eventually become mainstream.”
Van Der Kamp said TNO had developed the breads using the aleurone fraction of bran – a part rich in nutrients.
“This is fermented in optimal process conditions to liberate the ferulic acid and degrade the phytic acid to improve the bioaccessibility of minerals but with minimal dough stickiness,” he explained.
“The aim is to produce bread which is relatively similar to white baguettes but has nutritional qualities similar to wholegrain bread. No additives are used, giving the products a ‘clean’ label for bakers to exploit. End products will target the high end of the market.”
He said that most Europeans preferred the mild taste, soft crumb and crispy crusts of white bread – something that had fueled low wholegrain consumption.
“Ten years ago wholegrain bread didn’t exist at all in Italy and France but now there is a trend emerging.”
He said that should industry succeed in a major shift from white to whole grain bread, it would “contribute to lowering the incidence of heart diseases, diabetes type-2 and colon cancer”.
The Healthbread project followed on from the Healthgrain Forum, which had developed a yeast fermentation process (bioprocessing) to maximise the bioavailability of minerals and micronutrients in bran fractions.
It has seen millers, bakers and food consultants work collaboratively to develop high fiber, wholegrain breads with improved sensory properties and ultimately commercialize products.