Repurposing food waste to make a high fibre claim From November 2019

Repurposing food waste to make a high fibre claim

On average, people in the UK do not eat enough fibre. A report produced by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition in 2015 suggested the average adult 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 now under pressure to reformulate their products with more fibre so that they qualify for fibre claims. But what approaches can they take to achieve this?

Increasing fibre
Two common methods manufacturers use to enhance the fibre in their products include incorporating:

Alternatively, manufacturers can tap into food waste streams to incorporate highly fibrous foods into their products - with the added benefit of repurposing food and reducing waste. Our member-funded project ‘Calorie reduction and fibre enhancement’ is focused on this.

Food waste for high fibre
Our bakery scientists redeveloped a traditional tortilla by replacing 20% of the ordinary flour with butternut squash skin powder, increasing the tortilla’s fibre by 97% (from 3.3g to 6.5g per 100g).

Our team created this powder by grinding up peels supplied by Campden BRI member, Barfoots of Botley Ltd, to support the project. The peels would otherwise go to waste when manufacturers process butternut squash, for example, with soup.

The benefits of this approach
Consumers like familiarity, as was made apparent at our recent Sensory and Consumer MIG meeting. A guest speaker from Mindlab presented findings from a large-scale consumer survey which showed that consumers favour products that are familiar, as opposed to novel. So, increasing the fibre of an existing product that’s well known to consumers (as we did with the tortillas) holds potential as an effective route to increasing the public’s fibre intake.

Also, if it was on the market, the reformulated tortilla could declare a ‘high fibre’ claim (see right) making it more appealing to consumers.

Repurposing food waste
‘Getting more from less’ has been a major ‘need’ articulated by our members which was again repeated at recent MIG meetings where members expressed their desire to reduce food waste. This recent work has shown an effective way of repurposing waste in a product without impacting heavily on its functionality (see August newsletter for more).

Functionality challenges Wheat flour has many favourable qualities. For example, it forms gluten relatively quickly. Unsurprisingly, replacing the tortilla’s wheat flour with the butternut squash skin powder affected the tortilla’s functionality. As our powder increased gluten formation time, longer mixing times would need to be factored in when taking on a similar approach. In a previous experiment where we used butternut squash skin powder to make a naan bread, we also found that as more powder was incorporated, the naan lost volume and became hard. However, as the ratio of water is higher when using the powder instead of wheat flour, there is potential for higher yields at lower cost.

What’s next?
We are currently trialling different types of commercial fibres at varying concentrations in a pizza base, tomato sauce and in meatballs, while assessing any characteristics that may affect product quality or consumer acceptability.

We would love to get your ideas on which product types you would like us to use in our upcoming consumer/sensory trials. Get in touch or attend the Nutrition and Health MIG meeting early next year to provide feedback.

Contact: Lucas Westphal
+44(0)1386 842241

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