Reformulating with food ‘waste’ to double fibre content
6 December 2019
Lucas Westphal, Bakery Scientist
On average, people in the UK do not eat enough fibre. A report produced by the Scientific Advisory Committee on
Nutrition in 2015 suggested that adults should consume 30g of dietary fibre a day. Consumers who do not achieve this expose themselves to an
increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancers.
Consumers are becoming aware of these risks and this has increased the demand for high fibre products. Consequently,
food and drink manufacturers are responding by reformulating their products with more fibre so that they qualify for fibre claims. But what
approaches can they take to achieve this?
Two common methods manufacturers use to enhance the fibre in their products include incorporating:
- pure fibres – e.g. inulin, or
- whole ingredients naturally high in fibre – e.g. seeds or nuts
Alternatively, manufacturers can tap into food waste streams to incorporate highly fibrous ingredients into their
products – with the added benefit of repurposing food so it doesn’t go to waste. As part of our research into calorie reduction and fibre
enhancement, we successfully used food waste to double the fibre content of a tortilla.
Bakery scientist Lucas Westphal, who is leading the project, said:
We chose the tortilla for this project as its sales are continuing to rise significantly and therefore likely to
have a real impact on people’s diets. The recipe we developed incorporated butternut squash peel to boost its fibre content. Consumers
like familiarity, so producing a high fibre product that is similar to a well-known one holds potential as an effective route to
increasing the public’s fibre intake. This tortilla will also reduce food waste and so will help resolve an issue that is of major concern
for both consumers and the food industry.
Our bakery scientists redeveloped the traditional tortilla by replacing 20% of the ordinary flour with butternut
squash skin powder, boosting the tortilla’s fibre by 97% (from 3.3g to 6.5g per 100g).
Bakery technologist Leandra Molina Beato (pictured), who helped reformulate the tortilla, explained:
Incorporating our butternut powder changed the colour of the tortilla. Colour plays a critical role in determining
the consumer’s acceptance of a product, and our reformulation created a golden yellow tortilla, a food colour that’s generally accepted
as appealing. There are many factors to consider when incorporating dietary fibre into a product. An ingredient’s functionality can
modify both the finished product in appearance, texture and taste, and the behaviour of the product during manufacture. Trialling
different fibres in different products is the only way to determine the impact on functionality and consumer appeal.
Barfoots of Botley
which specialises in semi-exotic produce, provided the butternut squash peels as part of their sustainability work. Keston Williams, technical
The peel is currently used in our anaerobic digester, which produces electricity to run our factory and provides
fertiliser for our crops. However, if the peel can be used for innovative healthy products like this, then this is the best place for
Wheat flour has many favourable qualities. For example, it forms gluten relatively quickly. The butternut squash
skin powder was found to increase gluten formation time; longer mixing times would need to be factored in when taking a similar approach.
Increased hardness and volume reduction were also found in a previous experiment with naan bread that had been reformulated with this
Next, we will trial varying concentrations of commercial fibres in pizza bases, tomato sauces and in meatballs while
assessing characteristics that may affect product quality and consumer acceptability. Find out more about the project.
How can we help you?
Whether you’re looking to determine whether a salt or sugar reduction in your product will turn consumers away or
you’re seeking support with product innovation or reformulation to meet nutrition and health targets, contact us to find out how we can
How can we help you?
If you’d like to find out more about reformulating with food waste, contact our support team to find
out how we can help.
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The shorter version of this article was first published in