Exploring Additive Options In Baking

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Healthy lifestyles continue to drive free-from diets, creating ever greater demand for “cleaner” and healthier products, especially in segments such as gluten-free sweet bakery products, say Dr Galanakis, C.M. and Dr Y. Martin Lo, advisors from the Anti Additive Association.

Food additives have been used for decades to perform specific functions in foods as well as to extend the shelf-life of food, and feed the fast-growing population of the world. The fortification of foods with additives has substantially reduced food waste and food loss, however consumer demand is making it a necessity for manufacturers to reformulate recipes without additives.

Over the last years, ‘clean label’ has become a buzzword to food industries and many big food companies have committed to remove artificial food additives. To this end, formulating products with simple labels using recognisable ingredients is a growing commercial necessity. The utilisation of compounds that exist inherently in foods sounds healthier to consumers.

In some developed countries, however, the over-usage and over-consumption of synthetic food additives is the current practice. Bearing in mind that all chemicals are potentially toxic and there is a minimum level of exposure above which unfavourable health effects may occur.

Although many of the synthetic additives have been approved by corresponding authorities for the fortification of foods, the long-term impact of their consumption on human health still remains unknown. The use of food additives is regulated by specific European Union (EU) laws, considering chemical characterisation and purity, maximum content levels and the respective food where it can be applied (Commission Regulation (EU) Number 1129/2011; Directive 95/2/EC).

Synthetic Antioxidants In The Food Industry

Antioxidants are common food additives and their implementation is widespread in the food industry in a wide variety of foods. The addition of antioxidants is known to delay or inhibit the deterioration of food products and benefit consumer by prolonging their shelf-life (e.g. bread producers use them to extend shelf-life of bread up to 4 weeks).

Primary synthetic antioxidants such as butylated hydroxy anisole and butylated hydroxy toluene have been used in the food industry (especially in oil, fats, meat and bakery products) over the last 50 years. Some antioxidants have no danger at the dosages used as food additives, but the use of other antioxidants might trigger some side effects to the health of consumers. Moreover, despite their superior efficacy and high stability, these compounds do not exist inherently in foods.

Using Natural Extracts From Olive Processing By-Products In Bakery Products

The utilisation of compounds that not only exist inherently in foods but also have been recovered naturally has attracted much attention from consumers, showing a preference similar to organic foods. Natural antioxidants such as polyphenols have been recovered from relevant sources (olive cake, olive kernel, OMW) and used for the fortification of food products and the production of nutraceuticals. For instance, the insoluble dietary fibre of olive processing by-products has been proposed as a source of fermentable sugars in order to fortify bakery products, whereas the soluble one (pectin) has been used as fat replacement in meatballs due to its gelling properties (Galanakis, 2018). The efficacy of commercially available polyphenols recovered from olive mill wastewater (in a powder containing 10 percent polyphenols and 5 percent hydroxytyrosol) against other natural (but synthetically produced) antioxidants (namely ascorbic acid and tocopherols) to inhibit microbial growth of bread and rusks during storage has been investigated in bread and rusks (Galanakis et al., 2018). According to the results, a concentration of polyphenols of 200 mg/Kg flour was able to extend the preservation of both bread and rusk samples. Ascorbic acid and tocopherols had no real effect to the overall bread preservation in both assayed concentrations (500 and 1000 mg/Kg). Concerning rusk preservation, tocopherols and ascorbic acid were efficient at higher concentration (600 mg/Kg). The results of this study revealed the possibility of applying polyphenols from olive mill wastewater as an antimicrobial agent in bakery products.

Commercially available polyphenols (basically hydroxytyrosol) from olive mill wastewater can be found by CreAgri (US) and GenosaI+D (Spain). Other natural extracts containing antioxidants (polyphenols) and formulators (fibres, aromas) recovered from fruit and vegetable residues (unsellable fruits with defects) are commercially available by Indulleilda (Spain). Grape skin and seed flour (containing polyphenols) recovered by wine grapes pomace and seeds are used as additives in gluten-free baked goods (commercially available by WholeVine, US) (Galanakis et al., 2015). More insights about the fortification of foods with natural extracts from food processing by-products can be provided by the Food Waste Recovery Group.


“Healthy lifestyles continue to drive free-from diets, creating ever greater demand for “cleaner” and healthier products, especially in segments such as gluten-free sweet bakery products. Creating tasty, additive-free and reduced fat/sugar formulations will remain an important challenge,” says David Jago, Director of Innovation & Insight, Mintel.

Further, Dr Y. Martin Lo from Anti Additive Association has demonstrated that additive-free industrial baking is definitely possible. The purpose of additives used for baked goods could generally be categorised into three purposes: (1) to preserve; (2) to enhance the texture/taste; and (3) to make the product appealing. For preservation, such as preventing mould growth, a product could be handled with improved storage and display, or even by modified atmosphere packaging or even controlled release active packages with antimicrobial agents embedded.

For texture and taste, there are known natural emulsifiers such as soy lecithin or novel gelling agents derived from natural edible fibres.  For product appearance, one could use natural edible coatings such as pectin polysaccharides to generate a shiny, attractive appearance to the consumers.


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