Boosting Your Binding Syrup and Bar Formulations
Whether it’s a protein, breakfast, or granola bar, more than ever are bars serving as snacks or even convenient meal replacements as the on the go lifestyle continues to take hold. Almost 40 percent of the millennials surveyed by Mintel for its 2015 report said cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it. From this example, it can be seen that millennials want grab-and-go meal options to match their fast-paced lifestyles.
From a business standpoint, the bar category has some of the highest prices per unit in retail stores, opening up larger profit possibilities.
Our Gum Gurus® often field questions about using stabilizers and thickening systems to make an ideal nutritional, granola, or cereal bar. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about bar formulations:
What gum should I use for a binding syrup?
In product development, one main goal for a snack or meal bar is to keep all of the ingredients bound together. In many bars a general binder is needed, while in granola bars specifically, the film forming ability of a binding system is the key to cohesiveness and stability through processing and transit. For most granola bars, we recommend our Add-Here® line, a proprietary line of hydrocolloids that replaces the texture and binding qualities needed in bars, but with significantly less sugar in addition to other functional benefits. TIC Pretested® Gum Arabic FT is also suitable for creating binding syrups.
How should I incorporate the gums into my product?
Because sugar can compete with the gums for water in the mixing tank, it’s often helpful to disperse the gum in the tank and allow it to hydrate before adding sugar.
After the mixture is heated to boiling, while still hot, the binding syrup should be mixed into the dry ingredients and the bars should be allowed to cool in their desired shapes. Most of our hydrocolloid systems will work well in both chewy and crunchy granola bars. The major difference between the two is that crunchy bars will be put through a baking step, as opposed to chewy bars that must instead go through a drying step.
I am formulating a reduced sugar granola bar. What textural properties are important, and what binding options do I have?
Replacing sweetness can be accomplished with high-intensity sweeteners like aspartame or stevia but what is not easy to replace is the texture, stability, gloss, stickiness, and film forming attributes sugar provides and that are necessary to form and hold separate ingredients together. Dissolved sugar provides these because it can dry into a solid, and these solid properties are what bind the parts of the dry ingredients together.
In reduced sugar bars, TIC Gums’ Texture Terminology attributes that are important to monitor and maintain include, but are not limited to:
The following products were developed specifically for reduced sugar systems:
Do you have stabilizers that meet the definitions for all-natural, organic, and/or Non-GMO?
Top factors for consumers choosing a bar to buy are often focused on label claims including natural, organic or non-GMO. According to Innova Market Insights, the number of cereal and energy bars launched in the US bearing a clean label claim has dramatically increased in the last 5 years with 50% of those launches now bearing a GMO-free claim. Also notable is the drop in launches bearing a natural claim.
In the absence of definitions or standards for some claims, our Gum Gurus can work closely with you to select a gum system that meets your labeling requirements.
My bars are drying out. What can I do to retain moisture in my bar?
The softness in a chewy granola bar is often a function of the moisture retention properties of the bar; the more moisture that is retained, the softer the bar will be. To aid in moisture retention, we recommend that you blend our dry mixtures into the dry ingredients before mixing into the syrup.
Selecting gums for your bar formulations