A nutritional and commercial evaluation of using novel food ingredients as sugar replacers in cake recipes.
The current global obesity crisis has resulted in Government agencies at a global, European and national level introducing initiatives to reduce overweight and obesity rates and Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Sweet bakery products such as cake are considered high contributors to added sugar in the diet. Excess sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, overweight, obesity and resultant NCDs. Government agencies are challenging the cake manufacturers to reformulate to reduce the sugar content of cakes, as part of these initiatives. Barriers to cooperation of cake manufactures with reformulation include the failure of government agencies to consider the financial implications of increased ingredient costs and potential commercial failure if the consumer demand for reformulated cakes is not prevalent. Sugar reduction in cakes is highly challenging, as no one ingredient can replace the full functionality of sugar in cake applications. Previous studies on sugar reduction in cake have concluded that the replacement of sugar with sweeteners or sugar alcohols has posed challenges. Cake manufacturers are looking to food technologists to develop innovative new ingredients to help solve these challenges without compromising the consumer experience, or business profit. Novel food ingredients are foods that have not been traditionally consumed by the general population, potentially involving new production processes, innovative foods, new technologies or foods traditionally consumed in other global regions. Novel food ingredients can also include valorised by-products from other food production processes. This thesis investigated whether novel food ingredients would make suitable sugar replacers in cake applications, if they were commercially viable and would achieve consumer acceptability in terms of best fit texture, volume and sensory criteria. The results indicate that novel food ingredients cannot replicate the functionality of sugar in cake recipes to achieve consumer acceptability in terms of this criteria. Some novel food ingredients demonstrated consumer acceptability on most metrics and therefore future research is recommended to ascertain if the addition of emulsifiers, enzymes, flavour modulators etc. could achieve consumer acceptability. Assessment of the commercial viability of novel food ingredients in terms of global availability and market price, concluded that they were not commercially viable for cake manufacturers. Further studies could consider economic incentives such as valorisation grants, to reduce the financial burden on cake manufacturers of reformulation.