Obesity in children and youths is a major health challenge around the world. In Germany alone, according to the Robert Koch Institute, one in six children is overweight or obese. Among 11 to 13-year-olds the figure is even higher, at one in five. Worldwide, the number of obese children and youths of school age has increased over tenfold in just 40 years, from 11 million to an alarming 124 million in 2016. Experts prognosticate a continued increase to 254 million obese children and youths aged 5 to 19 by 2030.
Nutrition plays a leading role in this drama. In this context, the reduction of sugar and fat in foods is a subject of intensive discussion around the world. In order to provide food producers with new approaches for healthier children’s products, Hydrosol has expanded its free-from product line. Together with sister companies SternVitamin and OlbrichtArom, this stabiliser specialist has developed concepts for making sugar- and fat-reduced dairy and deli products designed specifically for the needs of children.
Hydrosol uses carefully selected hydrocolloids and vegetable fibre to substitute for the beneficial technological properties of sugar and fat. This gives the various final products a pleasant texture and familiar mouthfeel. Enrichment with vitamins and minerals from sister company SternVitamin provides added health value. Meanwhile, child-appropriate flavourings from sister company OlbrichtArom give foods the right taste. The networked collaboration of the three companies results in individual concepts for a very diverse range of reformulated final products, whose flavour, texture and nutritional value are aligned with the needs of children.
Added value for children, from milk drinks to desserts to cheese
The focus in the new line is on stabilising systems for dairy products intended for children aged 5 and above. Katharina Schäfer, Product Manager Hydrosol, explains: “In addition to child-friendly flavours and declaration-friendly ingredients, the focus was on improving the nutritional values. Our recommended formulations meet these requirements, and permit the use of various nutritional and health laims, e.g., relating to an intact immune system, normal growth and cognitive development in children.”
After confectionery, dairy products are the second largest category of new products for children aged five to twelve. The leaders in this segment, by a large margin, are milk mixed beverages and drinking yogurt, followed by spoonable yogurt, quark desserts, classic milk, ice cream, desserts and processed cheese preparations.
With a flexible system for milk mixed beverages, manufacturers can make high quality milk drinks for children in very diverse flavours, from classic favourites like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and banana, to coconut and caramel. Thanks to its improved formulation, this stabilising system prevents sedimentation in even the most difficult cases, even with cocoa, where it keeps the particles suspended. Naturally, all these milk and cocoa drinks are sugar- and fat-reduced. They are sources of fibre and can be individually enriched with vitamins and minerals. The same goes for the system for making milk juice drinks. These are sugar-reduced and even fat-free. They also contain fibre, vitamins and minerals. Fermented milk products like yogurt, drinking yogurt and quark desserts can likewise readily be reformulated by reducing the sugar and fat, and enriching them with nutrients.
The concepts for pudding and ice cream can be marketed as treats with health benefits. The functional system for pudding can be used for sugar-reduced, low-fat, fibre-enriched products that are lactose-free and micronutrient-fortified. They feature creamy mouthfeel and great taste. The special recipe enables marketing communication of EU health claims, for example relating to normal growth and an intact immune system. The clean label system for ice cream forms the basis for a reformulated product with 30 percent less sugar. Although it contains no conventional emulsifiers, it still results in a final product with an especially creamy mouthfeel. The ice cream also has prebiotics that allow it to be declared as high-fibre, while the added vitamins and minerals support the normal functioning of the immune system. The final product can be offered as ice cream on a stick or in larger packs.
In the cheese category, Hydrosol has developed a stabilising system for “squeezable” processed cheese preparations in tubes, pouches and similar soft packaging. The declaration-friendly final product needs no melting salts or table salt. 50 percent cheese goes into the premium formulation. Various flavourings like vanilla, banana or strawberry can be used to give the products exciting flavours that kids like and that provide variety.
French fries with ketchup, mayo and a clear conscience
Kids don’t care about healthy, balanced eating. Flavour and enjoyment are what count with them, and french fries or chips with ketchup and mayonnaise are big favourites with youngsters. As alternatives to the calorie-heavy standard products, Hydrosol has developed recipes for sauces intended for children aged five to twelve. They feature kid-friendly flavours and improved nutritional values, and thanks to their selected ingredients they’re also declaration-friendly. For example, with the clean-label system for sugar-reduced ketchup, manufacturers can use other vegetables in addition to tomatoes. This means that parents can feed their children vegetables in hidden form.
The clean-label system for french fry sauce features not only nutritional benefits like high fibre content, but also easy production using standard machinery. This all-in compound has very high emulsification ability and ensures a stable final product, even without powdered egg yolk. Despite its improved nutritional value and reduced fat content, the sauce has a creamy mouthfeel and tasty flavour, making it the ideal alternative to conventional fatty mayonnaise.