In many countries, bakery products are staple foods which make the many challenges to improving the nutritional profile of our diets highly relevant to the bakery sector. A large majority of today's consumers are looking to balance taste and indulgence with sensible daily nutrition cutting down on sugar and fats while boosting intake of valuable nutrients.
Our R&D teams work hard to find the right technical solutions to reach Unibake's 2030 targets reducing the fat and sugar content while meeting consumer requirements to not compromise on taste.
Most consumers indulge themselves and try to balance nutrition and indulgence (72%).*
Around 50% of consumers agree that being mindful of calories, carbohydrates and sugar is more important for their health and wellbeing.*
Reducing fat and sugar
Fat and sugar are important ingredients to product structure, eating quality and to shelf-life. Fat is used to create a light and crispy texture in example pastries.
Sugar keeps baked goods soft and moist and ensure that they don't dry out too quickly. It creates tenderness, deepens color and flavor, and adds crunch.
There is an increasing demand for healthier alternatives, and when it comes to healthy formulation it’s not simply a case of taking out an ingredient, or adding another one in. Every ingredient performs a different function, contributing to texture or taste – two things that our research shows consumers are not willing to compromise on.
Salt influences the development of gluten during dough mixing. Reducing salt causes bread dough to become stickier and more difficult to process. You can read more about our salt commitment here.
Our 2030 calorie commitment
With taste being king, and a drive from consumers to put their health and wellbeing under the spotlight, we must provide the best of both worlds.
Reducing food portion sizes
Reducing food portion sizes has been proposed as a public health strategy to reduce obesity. Several studies have proved that smaller food sizes substantially decrease daily energy intake. It is an obvious option since it presents no changes to the to the quality of taste and texture required by consumers while slimming down the calorie content per portion with no sacrifice – thus making it easier to improve diet in a healthier direction.
Unibake already offers mini and medi-sizes and we will continue to accelerate these sizes in our portfolio in close cooperation with our business partners.
Around 70% claim interest in pastries that are more nutritious (less sugar and fat or more fibre or wholegrain) – but only if taste is the same! *
Fat is a calorie dense nutrient and public initiatives to reduce the total fat content of foods are based on both calorie reduction, and the removal of certain fat fractions from our diet, notably trans and saturated fatty acids. Hard fats have been used in bakery products for centuries. Traditionally these have been animal-based fats, such as suet and butter, but are now more commonly sourced from tropical seeds, such as palm, shea and coconut.
They have many functional properties of benefit to product quality. In recent years, the bakery sector has worked hard to achieve reductions in fat, particularly hard fat, both for health reasons, and in the case of palm oil, sustainability and ethical reasons.
Fat not only contributes to the eating qualities of biscuits and cakes, it also plays a functional role in dough handling and baking. Since fat has a range of technical roles, it is important to ensure that these roles are still met in reduced fat products or in those containing a replacement material.
Sugar has received negative publicity recently because of its impacts on our health. It has taken over from fat and salt as the ingredient that the food industry needs to reduce. There are three main health issues related to excessive sugar consumption:
- Diabetes: glucose (sugar) levels in the blood become high because the body is unable to convert excessive sugar to energy or store it. Type 2 diabetes is linked with obesity
- Obesity: this decreases satiety, with excess food converted to fat
- Dental: sugars feed tooth decay bacteria and cause dental caries
Sugar is a key ingredient affecting many properties of baked products (Table 2). When replacing sugar, some of these technical functions must be mimicked to produce a product which is palatable, functional and appealing. This usually requires more than one ingredient to be added, which increases cost. Sugar is one of the least expensive and readily available ingredients compared with other bakery ingredients such as flour, egg and fat. Sugar replacement usually comes at a cost and more ingredients must be declared on the label.
Around 70% claim interest in pastries that are more nutritious (less sugar and fat) – but only if taste is the same!*
Limit fat intake (WHO)
Reduce the amount of total fat intake to less than 30% of total energy intake to help prevent unhealthy weight gain. Lower your risk of developing noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers) by: reducing saturated fats (found in fatty meat, butter, coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard) to less than 10% of total energy intake; reducing total trans fats (found in processed food, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines and spreads) to less than 1% of total energy intake; and replacing both with unsaturated fats (found in fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil, soy, canola, sunflower and corn oils).
Limit sugar intake
Reduce your intake of free sugars throughout the lifecourse. Free sugars are all sugars added to foods or drinks (e.g. glucose, galactose, fructose, sucrose or table sugar) by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
Adults and children: reduce intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. A reduction to less than 5% of total energy intake provides additional health benefits, so reduce intake of free sugars further. Consuming free sugars increases the risk of dental caries (tooth decay). Excess calories from foods and drinks high in free sugars also contribute to unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to overweight and obesity.
As an integrated part of our Health strategy Lantmännen Unibake has set targets to reduce the calorie intake per portion of our sweets portfolio to make it easier for consumers to choose products high in taste and indulgence and low in calories.
*Source: Opeepl Health & Nutrition Tracker 2022