National Starch launches ingredient for reduced-fat cakes

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Butter, Baking

National Starch Food Innovation (NSFI) is launching a new specialty starch derived from tapioca, which is said to enable a 75 per cent reduction on the butter, margarine or shortening used in cakes.

Delivering indulgent products with a healthier composition but with a taste and texture that is acceptable to consumers is a major challenge for food manufacturers; although consumers show willing to replace full fat treat foods with lower fat versions, they are not prepared to compromise on the sensory pleasure.

The new starch, called N-Dulge FR, is intended for use in soft baked goods. NSFI already has a raft of starches under the N-Dulge brand, which is all about fat reduction – but this is the first time it has targeted cakes.

Alison Knight, European technical development manager for bakery, told FoodNavigator.com that the new starch is intended for soft baked goods such as cakes, muffins, soft eat cookies, cake fillings and buttercream.

The starch, which was 18 months in development, is a compound ingredient comprised of dextrin and starch components. These components have undergone physical processing but not chemical, meaning that they meet clean-label requirements. The label declaration is dextrin starch.

On-going reductions

While the new ingredient allows for the reduction of butter, margarine or shortening by as much as 75 per cent in cakes, the company is communicating the possibility of 30 per cent reduction for other soft baked goods, like muffins and cookies.

Knight explained the reason for the difference is that the cake making process is simpler. “It is a lot easier to get a good cake than a good muffin with a light, airy texture​,” she said.

The 30 per cent figure is not set in stone, however. It may be possible that customers can achieve greater reductions in muffins, of perhaps 50 per cent, when they test the starch in their applications and as NSFI builds up more knowledge of the tool. But for now, Knight said, “we didn’t want to over-egg it”.

In soft-eat cookies, on the other hand, test showed that using the ingredient to replace more than 30 per cent of the fat yielded a very different kind of result. “It became more like a rock cake”.

Knight said there is also potential to develop more fat-replacer ingredient under the N-Dulge brand geared towards other kinds of baked goods, such as pastries.

Cost question

Manufacturers are more aware than ever of the need to reduce costs in the current economic environment – and Knight said that using the fat-replacer would “certainly be cheaper than butter”.

Given the scope for manufacturers to use the ingredient in different ways, however, it is not possible to give a firm cost comparison.

Europe first

N-Dulge FR is being launched first in the European market, but Knight said there is “no reason why it couldn’t go global”.

She added that fat reduction is a global trend – but that European consumers are especially sophisticated in their demand for lower fat foods that taste as good as the originals.

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