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Natural Ingredients for Shelf-Life Extension in Clean Label Baked Goods

Faced with uncertainty in the labor market and supply chain, commercial bakeries are adapting to rising costs, macroeconomic factors, and other pressures on profitability. As a result, prevention of product loss to mold and staling has become more and more critical to protect margins for baked goods manufacturers and retailers. In addition to providing safe products for the consumer.

Shelf-life extension products help bakeries ensure uninterrupted availability and consistent quality of baked goods for end consumers. But extended shelf-life (ESL) ingredients do more than help keep bakeries and retailers profitable.

Extended freshness and mold inhibition in baked goods create value for producers, retailers, and end consumers by reducing food waste from spoilage. With four-out- of-five consumers concerned about the environmental consequences of food waste, ESL solutions can help formulators meet those needs1.

Acidity and Mold Inhibition

Industrial bakeries go to great lengths to inhibit mold growth, employing complex systems to ensure proper sanitation and cleanliness at every stage of production. Manufacturers use infrared and ultraviolet light systems, and advanced air filtration to minimize the spread of mold spores. Certain applications like flatbreads and pizza doughs may also require specialized packaging and refrigeration to suppress mold growth.

Acidity plays an especially critical role in mold inhibition. Low pH levels inhibit spore activity, but if doughs and batters are too acidic, they may undergo rheological changes as well as having an impact on yeast activity, making them difficult to handle and often times, lower in volume. This, in turn, contributes to waste and down time. Furthermore, some acidulants, such as acetic acid (vinegar), can have a strong taste at certain levels.

Food manufacturers have effective options for mold inhibition. Propionic acid is preferred for dough applications for its minimal flavor impact, cost, and effectiveness in sustaining pH levels of 5.5 or below. However, artificially derived ingredients, like calcium propionate, may not be a fit for every formulation, especially those with all-natural and clean label requirements.

Clean Label Natural Mold Inhibitors

Many consumers actively seek simple, transparent labels with ingredients they understand. For nearly three-out-offive U.S. shoppers, transparency on labels means simple and recognizable description of ingredients2. Therefore, certain artificial shelf-life extension ingredients are not viable options for clean label baked goods.

Natural Mold Inhibitors (NMI) are clean label solutions to prevent mold growth and are effective replacements for calcium propionate and potassium sorbate in breads and baked goods. Saf-Pro® Natural Mold Inhibitors, such as SafPro® XtendLife™ 40, are specially formulated for versatile and effective shelf-life extension in applications like bagels, pan breads, buns, pizza, and more.

XtendLife™ 40 blends cultured wheat starch and naturally fermented citric acid. Cultured wheat starch is a natural source of organic salts with high concentrations of propionic acid. Citric acid further lowers pH and improves the efficiency of the product to suppress mold.

Like calcium propionate, XtendLife™ 40 and other Saf-Pro® Natural Mold Inhibitors have minimal effect on fermentation, making them ideal for yeast-leavened applications like hamburger buns and dinner rolls.

Unlike calcium propionate, Saf-Pro® Natural Mold Inhibitors make it simple and straightforward to achieve clean label and transparency goals. NMIs like XtendLife™ 40, leave ingredient lists on packaged baked goods uncluttered and easy to read.

Anti-Staling Enzymes Plus Natural Mold Inhibitors

Textural characteristics are critical to shelf stability in applications like buns, flatbreads, and pita breads. Anti-staling (AST) products extend freshness by improving crumb softness, and in some cases, provide more crumb resilience to the baked goods. Bakeries may optimize production by pairing AST ingredients with Natural Mold Inhibitors.

Saf-Pro® Star-Zyme™ AST Bun & Flatbread + NMI is an allnatural dough conditioner specially formulated for shelf-life extension. Designed to be a turnkey solution for industrial bakeries, Star-Zyme™ AST Bun & Flatbread + NMI combines AST enzymes with cultured wheat starch as a natural preservative. The clean label enzyme blend is recommended for baked goods that will be held under refrigeration with shorter shelf life requirements.

Whether for par-baked or straight doughs, formulating with Star-Zyme™ AST Bun & Flatbread + NMI helps preserve the textural experience for the end consumer. The enzyme blend is recommended for pizza, flatbread, bun, tortilla, and pita applications.

At Lesaffre, our mission is to work together to better nourish and protect the planet. From the production line to the grocery store shelf to the kitchen pantry, reducing food loss to spoilage creates value for everyone. Extended shelf-life ingredients such as Star-Zyme™ AST Bun & Flatbread + NMI and XtendLife™ 40 significantly reduce spoilage and staling in baked goods and can help manufacturers reach their clean label goals.

Operating in more than 50 countries, Lesaffre offers world-leading technical knowledge of formulation for baking systems at any scale of commercial production. As a global leader in yeasts, enzymes, dough improvers, and other ingredients critical to commercial baking, we never stop seeking innovation for the baking industry. Our team’s comprehensive knowledge of commercial bakery production includes formulation experience with Natural Mold Inhibitors and AST enzymes.

Contact us to find out more about natural shelf-life extension.

1Frozen Food Institute, “Frozen Food Waste Study 2022.”
2FMI, Transparency, Health & Well-Being: In an Evolving Omnichannel World, 2022

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