Caravan produces calorie-cutting ingredient system for English muffins

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Caravan Ingredients has developed a new ingredient system that can produce English muffins with as few as 85 calories without impacting volume or eating quality, the company claims.

Caravan’s new CI LT English Muffin 5 is a combination of starches, gums, strengtheners and conditioners, and is intended to take advantage of consumers’ interest in lower calorie products. According to a consumer survey from the International Food Information Council, calories are one of the top items that people check on Nutrition Facts panels when deciding whether to purchase a product, with 74 percent of consumers saying that they check.

Manager of bakery applications at Caravan Ingredients Jesse Weilert told FoodNavigator-USA that English muffins are usually already relatively low in calories and low in fat, with flour being the leading contributor of calories. Therefore, the main way in which manufacturers can cut calories in English muffins is to replace some of the flour.

“With a big push for health and wellness and nutrition, English muffins are a big breakfast item,”​ Weilert said. “A lot of breakfast items tend to be high in calories.

We also wanted to give them some other benefits, such as high fiber content.”

He explained that in order to produce an 80 or 90 calorie muffin, a manufacturer would need to take out about 30 to 40 percent of the flour in a formulation, which means that a lot of the strengthening components of flour would be lost. In order to tackle this, Caravan’s new ingredient system would be used at a level of five percent of the volume of flour and, in order to replace the remainder, the company recommends particular fibers and other elements, such as enzymes and malted flour.

“Our product is the engine,”​ he said.

Weilert added that the positioning of reduced calorie English muffins would most likely be a more premium-end product, because flour replacement would be expected to increase the overall ingredient cost.

“Obviously, as a baker, flour is one of your cheapest components, so it will have an impact of price,”​ he said. “The end user needs to have an avenue for this style of products – someone who is willing to pay a little bit more for a low calorie, high fiber product.”

Weilert said that the company is confident that there is a strong market for this kind of product, and while the new ingredient mix is what he calls a more ‘traditional’ formulation, including ingredients such as datum and calcium propionate, in the future he sees opportunities for creating a clean label version.

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