Gloucestershire-based innovators are literally squashing more fibre into food
By James Young | 22nd November 2019
An innovative Gloucestershire company is attempting to solve one of the great riddles of 21st century life.
Not eating enough fibre is a cause for numerous medical complaints and health issues, but the food industry experts at CampdenBRI have concocted a solution.
The Chipping Campden-based firm has a long history of innovation in the food industry and their latest trick is to utilise otherwise discarded food waste.
As part of research into calorie reduction and fibre enhancement, Campden BRI have doubled the fibre content of a tortilla, meaning it can be called a 'high fibre' product.
Bakery scientist Lucas Westphal, who is leading the project, said: "We chose the tortilla for this project as its sales are continuing to rise significantly and therefore likely to have a real impact on people's diets.
"The recipe we developed incorporated the butternut squash peel to boost its fibre content.
"On average, people in the UK do not consume enough fibre, and food waste is also a major concern for both consumers and the food industry.
"Consumers like familiarity, so producing a high fibre product that is similar to a well-known one holds potential as an effective route to increasing the public's fibre intake."
The team working on the project replaced 20 per cent of the tortilla's wheat flour with the butternut squash peel powder.
This increased the fibre content by 97% per cent, up from 3.3g to 6.5g per 100g, but only reduced calories by 3.5 per cent.
If marketed, the tortilla would now be eligible for a 'high fibre' claim making it more appealing to consumers interested in healthy eating.
Adding this food waste ingredient also delivered another benefit.
Bakery technologist Leandra Molina Beato (below), who helped reformulate the tortilla, said: "Incorporating our butternut powder changed the colour of the tortilla.
"Colour plays a critical role in determining the consumer's acceptance of a product, and our reformulation created a golden yellow tortilla, a food colour that's generally accepted as appealing.
"There are many factors to consider when incorporating dietary fibre into a product.
"An ingredient's functionality can modify both the finished product in appearance, texture and taste, and the behaviour of the product during manufacture.
"Trialling different fibres in different products is the only way to determine the impact on functionality and consumer appeal."
Barfoots of Botley which specialises in semi-exotic produce, provided the butternut squash peels as part of their sustainability work.
Keston Williams, technical director, added: "The peel is currently used in our anaerobic digester, which produces electricity to run our factory and provides fertiliser for our crops.
"However, if the peel can be used for innovative healthy products like this, then this is the best place for it."
The research is part of a three-year project which aims to provide the food industry with an understanding of the functionality of dietary fibres, their performance and potential new sources.
The next phase of the research will begin trialling varying concentrations of commercial fibres in pizza bases, tomato sauces and in meatballs while assessing characteristics that may affect product quality and consumer acceptability.
Consumer and sensory trials will determine consumer acceptance of the reformulated products. The 'Calorie Reduction and Fibre Enhancement' project will continue until December 2021.
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