Snacks are evolving from a simple between-meal treat to an everyday part of modern life. Instead of three main meals a day, more consumers are opting to graze on a selection of smaller snacks as part of their daily diet.
In particular, millennials have become a focus target group for product development experts, as extensive snacking is an expression of their lifestyle.
As the distinction between snacks and meals narrows, consumer requirements for snacks are changing as well, with issues such as nutritional value and health benefits playing an increasingly important role.
“The snack has evolved from the little sin you enjoy from time to time to a meal replacement promising to meet consumer demand for high standards,” said Michael Gusko, MD of GoodMills Innovation.
“The key point is that even snacks that are positioned in the area of health and wellbeing need to taste really good, too. Consumers don't want to sacrifice taste for the sake of a healthy product.”
Upping the ante
Among GoodMills Innovation’s extensive product portfolio are cereal ingredients that add a health value to a snack, while retaining its desirable taste and texture.
For example, RutinX – which is made from the prehistoric pseudo grain Tartary Buckwheat – transforms breads, savory snacks and spread into superfoods with a dosage of only 5%.
Rutin X is available in the form of flour or crisps and scores highly in terms of its functional properties. It is rich in the secondary plant substance rutin – an antioxidant that is thought to reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels – and zinc, which has been proven to promote carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.
GoodMills Innovation has succeeded in reducing the bitter compounds of rutin in a patented process while preserving its valuable nutrients.
Next generation whole grain
“When we think of whole grains, many of us think not only of high fiber and a beneficial contribution to intestinal health, but also of the rough, dry mouthfeel and the bitter taste which we’ve disliked since childhood. That's exactly what we wanted to change,” said Gusko.
The result is Snow Wheat for whole grain products that neither look nor taste like whole grain baked goods. It is a solution that enables even the most fervent of white flour fans to benefit from the health-promoting properties of whole grain.
When producing whole grain flour, the entire kernel is milled, which means that it contains not only the endosperm and the germ, but also the bran of the kernel. This is where most of the valuable nutrients are stored, including vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients.
However, this outer layer also contains phenols, which are responsible for the flour’s traditionally bitter taste. The red wheat used as standard across Europe is particularly high in bitter-tasting phenols.
For Snow Wheat, GoodMills Innovation uses white wheat grain varieties, which are especially low in phenols and thus very mild in taste, even when the whole kernel is milled.
The grain is also lighter in colour than red wheat, so more comparable in appearance to standard white flour.
Baked goods containing Snow Wheat have a mild, slightly sweet taste and are free from bran spots. However, they have the same nutritional profile as whole grain products made from red wheat.
The flour also offers an important technical function: It provides a high dough volume.
The company also supplies the flour in a spelt variant, called Snow Spelt.
Free-from is gaining in importance.
Gluten-free baked snacks, in particular, are no longer niche aimed solely for sufferers of celiac disease, but today appeal to health-conscious consumers who believe gluten-free is a preferable alternative to wheat.
GoodMills Innovation has developed a unique process based on dry grinding to produce masa for its Snackmaxx range, which offers considerable savings in terms of process water, as compared to traditional methods.
Supplemental additives such as lime are no longer required, which enhances the final flavor. Masa flours also ensure a homogenous particle distribution and the doughs demonstrate excellent machine compatibility properties as they are non-sticky.
Typical applications include tortilla chips, taco shells as well as sweet wafers.
GoodMills Innovation is exhibiting at Snackex 2019, being held in Barcelona, Spain, from June 27 to 28.