While cereal has long been a breakfast staple at kitchen tables across North America, changing consumer attitudes towards refined sugar and processed foods have threatened the long-standing favorite. Now Israel-based Gat Foods is hoping to re-invent the way health-conscious shoppers perceive breakfast cereal.
The company introduced a new liquid base called Fruitlift on Monday that is made up of 90 percent real fruit and can be used to replace refined sugars commonly found in ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast cereal. The fruit-based formula is rich in fiber and can work as a natural sweetener without affecting cereal brands signature flavor.
Gat Foods International Marketing Director, Michal Katzir Emek, says cereal manufacturers need to offer innovative and nutritious products to suit the eating habits of today’s consumer.
“The cereals market has been stagnant for some time,” says Katzir Emek. “Refined sugars can make up anywhere from 15 percent to a whopping 40 percent of a typical box of cereals. We decided to face the challenge head-on and give manufacturers the option of offering consumers the next generation of cereals — cereals that are more nutritious, with cleaner labels and infused with more natural ingredients, yet without sacrificing the organoleptic qualities. And, most importantly, attaining a delicate sweetness with zero refined sugar.”
Many consumers nowadays lead fast-paced lives, and their busy schedules make RTE food items a popular choice, especially for younger generations. By combining health and convenience, Gat Foods hopes its new Fruitlift formula will help restore breakfast cereal to its former glory.
“Consumers reluctant to give up the convenience of RTE breakfast cereals are voicing a desire to see more healthful attributes attached to these products to fit their busy lifestyles,” says Hila Bentman, International Brand Manager for Gat Foods. “There are numerous cereals on the market with a fruit coating, however, they still contain relatively high amounts of refined sugar. Our fruit base is designed to permeate the entire expanded cereal as a complete substitute for the refined sugars that have historically been an inseparable part of RTE cereals.”
Cereal manufacturers can use Fruitlfts liquid base by injecting it into their flour mixture or by applying it through a coating drum. The formula will give cereal a mild to sweet flavor with or without a fruity after taste.
Sugar reduction can be costly for food manufacturers and provides new challenges in the production process, but Gat Foods believes they have a solution to overcome common obstacles faced in the industry.
The company says they use technology to integrate wet solutions in dry products while still maintaining the cereal’s flavor and crispy texture. This method is also anticaking free, which is a common process in the industry to prevent lumps and moisture damage but has been reported to affect the nutritional content of food.
The base can be incorporated into any manufacturing extrusion process and be used in any flour base. In addition, manufacturers can adjust the sweetness level of the fruit-based formula to their preference, but a 15 percent volume is the average measurement recommended. The flavors come in apple, banana, mango, citrus fruits, and pineapple.
As of now, the formula has successfully undergone two rounds of initial pilot trials in the UK. Based on younger demographics preferences, the future of better-for-you food items looks promising. The RTE cereal industry will likely have to modify their ingredients if they want to rise as a top-selling commodity in the years to come.