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Bunge targets snack bar makers with protein enhancement system

By Lorraine Heller in Orlando , 28-Jun-2006

Leading oilseed producer Bunge has developed a new process to incorporate protein into candy bars, which the company claims does not have a negative impact on the product's texture and taste.

Introduced at the IFT food expo closing today in Orlando, the firm's Lipid Protein Complex process has been under development for almost two years.

According to the firm, the vegetable based lipid system is designed specifically to allow for protein enhancement to a compound coating while delivering acceptable sheen, gloss and organoleptic characteristics.

"We conducted research to try to estimate where the consumer currently stands. And what we found was a need for nutrition permission, for responsible indulgence," said director of new business development at Bunge Oils Roger Daniels.

The firm showcased its new technology in a nougat and chocolate candy bar, which it said generated enormous interest from visitors to the IFT.

"It's really been a hit, we're overwhelmed with the response. Without a doubt, this will take off," said Daniels.

Food manufacturers have traditionally faced certain obstacles when trying to incorporate protein into their products, which often lose moisture and remain very firm. This is because protein is hygroscopic-meaning it absorbs water.

But the new process involves putting a barrier around protein particles in order to prevent the characteristic drying up of protein-fortified goods.

The process works by blending equal parts of protein and fat.

"We particularly like the fact that this process can accommodate different protein systems and different fat systems. We've used whey protein and palm oil in our demonstration product, but the process can also be used with protein derived from soy and fat derived form just about any oil you can think of, including soybean oil, canola oil and coconut oil," Daniels told FoodNavigator-USA.com.

Lipid Protein Complex can be used in a variety of sweet coated food product applications, including energy, nutrition and breakfast bars.

The product developed by Bunge for demonstration of its new process claims to provide consumers with 16 percent of the recommended daily intake for protein in a confection.

The company also used the IFT to introduce an ingredient that allows manufacturers of baked goods to introduce phytosterols into their products.

The new PhytoBake ingredient is a vegetable based plastic shortening designed to allow for the replacement of traditional shortening saturates with phytosterols. According to the company, the phytosterols serve to confer structure to the shortening, which is translated to the finished application.

The ingredient, which contains high oleic canola oil, cotton seed oil and phytosterols, has a texture similar to soft butter. According to the firm, it is suitable for use in a variety of bakery applications including cookies, pie crusts and cakes.

This year's IFT annual meeting and food expo is closing today in Orlando's Orange County Convention Center. The world's largest event on food ingredients this year ran between June 24-28, and attracted thousands of food scientists, suppliers and marketers from around the world to learn about the latest ingredients innovations.

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