DECATUR, Ill. — Responding to research that shows consumers want their food to be healthy but tasty, food ingredient manufacturer Tate & Lyle has developed a line of formulations that eliminate trans fats and maintain flavor in selected baked goods and desserts.
The London-based company's formulations are available for desserts such as lemon meringue pie, lemon berry bars, brownies, apple spice cake, and various sauces and toppings for a good finish. The products are timely, as some cities and states are now moving to eliminate trans fats from local restaurants. New York City recently approved such a ban, and Massachusetts and some other states are considering similar regulations.
Meanwhile, retailers following the trend have told SN they are actively looking for ingredients, mixes and products that are trans fat-free but also measure up to their quality and taste standards.
John Chickery, bakery director at Riesbeck's Markets, a St. Clairsville, Ohio-based chain of 10 stores, said he's still looking for the right ingredients for some of his products.
“We're taking a proactive stance, looking, asking our distributors,” said Chickery. “We keep trying things, but some trans fat-free [ingredients] just don't make the product palatable.”
Steve Beaird, bakery director at Kowalski's Markets, a chain of eight stores based in St. Paul, Minn., said he has found some satisfactory oils that don't change the texture or taste of many of his products.
“There are more options in ingredients out there now, but just fairly recently,” Beaird said. “Basically, we've gone 75% trans fat-free in the last four or five months, with minor adjustments to muffins, bread and cookies. The last big category is cake. We don't have trans fat-free cake yet.”
At the same time, more than 60% of U.S. consumers found the idea of products that promote a healthy digestive system appealing, paving the way for probiotic introductions, according to Tate & Lyle's research, which was completed in the fall. About two-thirds of consumers were also receptive to a range of products that help boost the immune system through an optimum combination of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
This month, Tate & Lyle launched a system that enables dairy processors to create products bolstered with additional nutrients, without having to compromise on flavor, officials said.