The cereal bar market is a massive growth sector in Europe, with 1,711 new product launches throughout 2009, a 32 per cent increase on 2008, according to Innova Market Insights.
Given this growth potential, Wild insists that its new clean-label cereal binding ingredient developed from fruit juice concentrates will fulfil a clear market demand within the bakery sector, given that (so the firm claims) rival binding agents all contain food additives carrying E-numbers.
Health conscious sector
Wild spokesman Christopher Beck told FoodNavigator.com that the new system had attracted strong interest from EU and worldwide food manufacturers active in the “health conscious sector”, and is tailored for use in cereal bars and granola muesli clusters, where, for instance, oats and dried fruit need binding.
Beck said:“Traditional cereal bars use emulsifiers, sorbitol, citric acid, glycerin, all of which have to be declared on product packaging with an E-number.”
Asked if other natural alternatives such as honey were not viable alternative agents, Beck said: “From a technical point of view it is not feasible, and in the past such standard binding ingredients led to a product that was either too sticky or too dry.”
He added that Wild’s new binding product resulted in a “soft but not sticky” product that cut out the need to use sorbitol, where the polyol is used less for its sweetening properties than as a ‘humectant’, a moisture-retaining substance.
A complete formulation
Beck said that other advantages of the new ingredient involve a long shelf life of 9 to 12 months, while a high Brix (sugar solid as a percentage of a solution) value and low pH levels meant that no additional preservatives are required to manufacture products.
He also rebuffed the suggestion that a high Brix value (as a sugar input) would make resultant products too sweet, thus denting their health credentials, given that “levels used are extremely low relative to the bar as a whole”.
Wild says that another advantage of its product is its ability to work alongside Wild’s natural flavouring, colours and fruit powder ranges in “complete formulations…which streamlines the production process for making cereal bars,” since manufacturers only need to use this binding system with a specific blend of cereals or fruits.