Repurposing food waste to make a high-fibre claim

Using manufacturing byproducts can help companies achieve nutritional and sustainability goals. 

15 October 2019
bakeryfibrehealthmeet the expertnutritiontechnology

Meet the Expert

Who: Lucas Westphal

What: Senior Bakery Scientist

Where: Campden BRI

 

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 now under pressure to reformulate their products 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:

  • pure fibres, e.g. inulin
  • 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, repurposing leftovers and byproducts so they don’t go in the bin.

As part of its research into calorie reduction and fibre enhancement, food science and research organisation Campden BRI has been looking into this approach.

Waste not, want not

Bakery scientists at Campden BRI have redeveloped a 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).

The team created this powder by grinding up peels (supplied by Barfoots of Botley Ltd for the project) that would otherwise go to waste when manufacturers process butternut squash, for example in making soup.

Making a claim

There are two different nutritional claims for fibre that manufacturers can put on their products to promote the fibre content, assuming they comply with conditions laid down in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. The claims are:

  • Source of fibre – where a product contains at least 3g of fibre per 100g or at least 1.5g of fibre per 100 kcal
  • High fibre– where a product contains at least 6g of fibre per 100g or at least 3g of fibre per 100 kcal

Under these regulations, the reformulated tortilla described above could therefore declare a ‘high fibre’ claim as it contains 6.5g of fibre per 100g.

Consumers like familiarity, so increasing the fibre of an existing product that’s well known to them increases its appeal.

As manufacturers look to reduce their food waste, this approach has shown an effective way of repurposing food in a product without heavily impacting its functionality.

However, Campden BRI did come across hurdles.

Reformulation challenges

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 powder.

Note the colour change in the figure above, where Campden BRI compared the ‘butternut tortilla’ with an ordinary one. The butternut squash tortilla took on a golden yellow appearance. Despite this generally being acceptable as an attractive food colour, in does highlight the potential for reformulation to have an impact on a product’s aesthetic appeal.

In the future, Campden BRI will trial varying concentrations of commercial fibres in a pizza base and in meat balls.

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