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Let them eat healthy cake: Adding fibre to French baked goods

Baking in France is like a religion. Tell a French person your favoured type of bread and they'll likely be able to tell you which region you're from. And the commitment to quality is unwavering.

However, like people in most other countries, French consumers are becoming increasingly aware of health and the role of good nutrition in a healthy lifestyle. In 2017, the government rolled out Nutri-Score – colour-coded nutrition labelling that, more and more, is being used by shoppers to make better, healthier decisions.

The quest for nutrition
Recently, one of our French customers, who specialises in fine bakery products, spotted a gap in the market. People still desire comfort foods like cakes, biscuits and cookies – even more so during the stresses of a global pandemic – but they also prefer healthy and nutritious ingredients.

The customer had participated in an IMCD Insight Day, in which our technical experts presented a concept kit for a cake with a dramatically increased nutritional value. The customer was inspired by the demonstration and contacted us with their own challenge. 

They wanted our support in achieving the seemingly impossible: producing a baked good that contained less fat, less sugar and more fibre but remained fresh and delicious enough to satisfy some of the most demanding consumers on earth.

The main challenge was maintaining the colour, texture, and taste of the existing product while improving the fibre content, which would increase the product's Nutri-Score. 


A test of expertise & experience
It was a challenging and time-consuming process. Our Application Technologists started by conducting benchmarking exercises against several of Europe's leading fibre-enriched cake variations in Europe. Next, there were a series of baking trials. Close collaboration with the customer was essential throughout this process to maintain project clarity and alignment while also continuously being available to respond to and meet the customer's needs.

"This was a real test of our R&D team's ability to innovate in order to create solutions for our customers. That we were able to create a healthier product while maintaining the flavour and texture is a testament to our technical skills and commitment to supporting our customers in any way we can." - Gilles Donneaud, Business Unit Manager, Food & Nutrition France

Finally, our team conducted lab and industrial trials, with samples delivered to the customer. The customer was delighted and proceeded to a development partnership with IMCD. This agreement allows the customer to springboard off IMCD's technical development to launch their new product range, while IMCD provides formulations, ingredients and support. 


The final challenge

Once the validation of ingredients had taken place, the customer wanted to fast forward to production. The need for an accelerated process with high volumes of ingredients required an approach to logistics and quality assurance that was as innovative and demanding as the product itself. By taking a responsive and pragmatic approach focused on a high degree of communication, it was a challenge we were able to overcome.

The customer has launched the first product based on this new formula and it has been a commercial success. The next step is for IMCD and our customer to work together to expand the fibre-enriched line to their other ranges of cakes and baked goods. French consumers can now, quite literally, have their cake and eat it, free of guilt.

To learn more about IMCD's Food & Nutrition business, our portfolio and our technical expertise, click here.


For more insights into the latest industry trends and opportunities, download IMCD's Food & Nutrition Trend Commentary.