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Breakfast Cereals Grow UpBreakfast Cereals Grow Up

August 1, 2000

25 Min Read
Breakfast Cereals Grow Up

August 2000
Design Elements Breakfast Cereals Grow Up
By Lynn A. Kuntz
Editor   Admit it. Weve all done it. Turned our backs on our old friends, leaving Tony, the Captain, the Count, the Rabbit, even Fred and Barney, high and dry. Instead of digging for the toy at the bottom of the cereal box, were reading nutrition labels. Although, admittedly, Captain Crunch® and Frosted Flakes® fans over the age of 21 occasionally emerge from the closet, as we get older, we abandon brightly colored, sugary cereals and pour ourselves a bowl of granola, Wheaties® or Special K®. This natural process occurs for many reasons: most involving changes in tastes, awareness of nutritional needs and other adult priorities. The case for taste One reason for this change in breakfast cereal preferences is that as we get older, our tastes evolve. It begins with the science of taste perception. Taste is a complex chemical reaction involving not only the taste buds, but other sensations such as smell, texture, pain, temperature and touch. While adult taste buds are located primarily on the tongue, infants have taste buds on the sides and the roof of their mouth. We are conditioned even before birth, some scientists believe, to recognize sweet flavors first because carbohydrates and sugars provide a readily available, generally safe source of energy. Sour and salty are learned or acquired tastes that we develop as we move from our primary source of nutrients as an infant, into other food types and groups. The bumps on the tongues surface, called papillae, house the taste buds a few hundred buds per bump. Foods that make our mouth water actually aid in flavor detection. Flavor is dissolved in our saliva, which then gathers in minuscule puddles in the papillae where the taste buds can finally detect the flavor and send a signal to the brain. Our culture also plays a role in the evolution of taste perception as well. This affects the flavoring considerations of multi-national corporations with international cereal brands. "Flavor tastes will vary from one country to another," says a spokesperson at one major United States cereal manufacturer. "One example would be chocolate flavoring. European tastes for chocolate are more bittersweet, while U.S. consumers prefer milk chocolate. We also offer more chocolate-flavored products in Mexico and Europe than here in the U.S. In those areas, it is culturally acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast, while that isnt the case here at home." Linda Lakind, marketing manager in the bakery, confection and savory division, Bush Boake Allen Inc., Montvale, NJ, agrees: "In the United States, adult consumers look for flavors in the brown range, such as vanilla, honey, grain and graham." These natural flavors also enhance the wholesome perception created by grains used in the cereal base. Children like these flavors as well, but tend to enjoy more intense flavor notes and more flavors from the fruit category, as well as a high level of sweetener. Flavor trends Product designers should be aware of which flavors complement or enhance the base grains in the finished product. For example, corn taste will be inherently stronger than that of a wheat-based cereal and the flavor level should be adjusted accordingly. This concept would hold true for any multi-grain cereal as well. As the trend towards increased fortification and nutraceutical foods continues to grow, Lakind notes that flavoring takes on an increasingly important role. The more vitamins and minerals added to a product, the greater the challenge. "The mixture of certain vitamin flavors can be very unappealing," she says. "And certain flavors actually enhance the vitamin notes, so we avoid those. Vanilla is always a great flavor for starters when trying to mask unwanted notes." Other flavor maskers might be used in a product fortified or based on soy and soy proteins to hide the associated beany note. Lakind says that Bush Boake Allen also has a product that provides the mouthfeel and perception of fat a great asset when a product is fortified with calcium. In the future, says Lakind, "We see the pendulum in food trends swinging to the indulgent side," and she predicts that cereals will follow this trend. One of the first product lines in the cereal aisle to join this trend was Kelloggs® Country Inn Specialties™ line of cereals, inspired by the succulent breakfasts commonly served at country inns. These combine luxury ingredients such as pecan pralines, soft-dried cranberries, dried cherries, maple oat clusters and golden raisins. Great grains A quartet of grains comprise the most commonly used cereal ingredients: corn, followed by wheat, oats and rice. However, some cereals may include more exotic grains or grain-like ingredients to pique consumer interest, such as soy or amaranth. Corn is an American institution. Corn is available in abundant supply, the market price is generally reasonable and it is versatile and easy to work with in cereal manufacture. It can be puffed, extruded, shredded, flaked and worked into a variety of cereal forms. Yellow corn is most commonly used in cereal formulation, traditionally for cornflakes. Corn is lower in protein than wheat, with approximately 9.5% on a 10% moisture basis, with an average fat content of under 5.0%. It contains a high starch level, which helps crisp a cereals texture and easily expands in an extruded form. Corn has a stronger flavor than wheat, so the flavor system should be adjusted accordingly. Wheat dates back before even the ancient Greeks and Romans, when earlier civilizations already cultivated wheat for bread. Club wheat, Triticum aestivum subspecies compactum , a soft-kernel variety that can be used for cereal flakes and shredded wheat products, has a protein content between 8% and 10%. Durum wheat, with a protein content of approximately 12% to 14% at 10.9% moisture, is the ingredient of choice for puffed cereal products where the additional protein helps form a rigid structure. Both wheat and corn have a higher moisture content than oats. Wheat is a good source of fiber and protein and contains very little fat. Wheat bran, a by-product of the flour milling industry, appears in bran flakes and other bran cereals. Wheat bran contains niacin, magnesium and iron along with 17% protein, 3.5% fat, and 42% dietary fiber by weight. Wheat germ is a good source of thiamin, vitamin E, iron and riboflavin and consists of approximately 32% protein and 10.5% dietary fiber. Defatted wheat germ can minimize rancidity potential, but has a lower tocopherol content. Oats enjoyed renewed popularity two to three years ago and the trend continues, says Bill Bonner, director of technical services, Con Agra Grain Processing Co., Omaha, NE. One reason formulators incorporating oats into their cereals received FDA approval to cite the link between the soluble fiber beta-glucan in oats and the accompanying effect on lowering serum cholesterol. These studies are well-documented, including a June, 1999 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association stating that women can reduce their risk of heart disease by eating soluble fiber from cereals such as oatmeal. Overall, the study showed that daily consumption of cereal fibers (five or more servings per week) reduced the risk for heart disease in women by 19%, while oatmeal fiber, considered alone, reduced the risk by 29%. Trends change as well, sometimes affecting the fate of a grain despite its potential health claims. Bonner says that although the health claims for oats are well documented, consumers remember the oat-bran craze of the early 90s. "Some people meet those health claims with a bit of skepticism," he says. "To them, any oat-based cereal is just oat bran repackaged." Researchers in Finland are trying to repackage the basic grain itself. In a study financed cooperatively by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, VTT Biotechnology and Food Research and the Helsinki University of Technology, scientists plan to use limited germination to capture insoluble storage compounds, like starch and protein, and then export these compounds in a selected, limited manner into the embryo of a new plantlet. The researchers goal is to add sweetness and flavor to the seed to increase oat products consumer appeal. Oats contain a high level of protein and stand as particularly good sources of thiamine, or vitamin B. With 10.6% dietary fiber, 7.0% fat and 8.0% moisture, oats have a slightly higher fat content than some other grains. Oats comprise 80% of the ingredient mix for one of the most popular brands of cereal, Cheerios®, a product of General Mills, Minneapolis. They are also readily incorporated into granola and multigrain cereals. Other potential health benefits linked to oats include blood-pressure control, artery health, insulin control and weight loss. The fourth major grain, rice, offers product designers a neutral flavor, lack of allergenicity, easy digestion and a good nutritional profile. Generally, whole kernels of medium-grain white rice are used in cereal production, and the expanded rice kernel is the most common form of rice-based breakfast cereal, having a crispy open texture. Gun-puffed rice tends to be more spongy. Most rice ingredients are from milled rice, with the bran removed; this gives whole milled rice and rice flour at about 12% moisture, a protein content of about 6.0% to 6.5% and a fat content generally under 1%. Rice flour can be used in extruded products or substituted for wheat flour and helps provide a crisper texture. Rice bran, the outer layer of brown rice, can also be used in cereals and mixes, providing an excellent source of thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and fiber. It has about 20% fat, the majority unsaturated. This oil might provide nutritional benefits due to its composition. Some studies show rice bran oil reduces the harmful LDL cholesterol without reducing the good HDL cholesterol; this effect might be promoted by the oils oryzanol content. Specialty grains make an appearance almost exclusively in organic adult-oriented cereals. Products such as Natures Path Heritage® and Health Valley® Organic Amaranth Flakes utilize amaranth, spelt, quinoa and kamut some of which do not technically qualify as grains. (See "Ingredients from Grains" in the July 2000 issue of Food Product Design for additional information.) Amaranth, for example, is not a member of the grass family, which all true grains are, but a pseudo-cereal seed. It carries an impressive nutritional profile high in the amino acid lysine, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and calcium. The chief drawbacks of specialty grains like amaranth are price and availability. American farmers cultivate fewer than 10,000 acres of amaranth, compared to 77.4 million acres of corn, 24 million acres of wheat and 1.18 million acres of oats. Due to the small amount of amaranth grown, the accompanying research base is almost nonexistent. According to Bonner, any major cereal manufacturer with even a 1% market share for a cereal would require 30 million pounds of available product. However, Larry Walters, president of Nu-World Amaranth Inc., Naperville, IL, remains hopeful about its prospects: "Amaranth is positioned in todays marketplace like soybeans were 50 years ago." In those 50 years, soy has traveled a long way. Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, MI, was the first company to introduce a cereal to the breakfast table with soy as a primary ingredient. This past January, the company launched an extension to its Smart Start® line with Soy Protein cereal, a blend of rice, whole wheat flakes and soy granola clusters. This new product appeared in response to the FDAs approval of a new health claim that states that 25 grams of soy protein a day, in combination with a low-fat diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of Kelloggs® Soy Protein cereal delivers 6.25 grams of soy protein. Protein fortification is not the only benefit to be gained from formulating cereals with soy. Soy contains phytoestrogen isoflavones, mainly daidzein, glycitin and genisten. These act as weak estrogens and as antioxidants that may lessen the symptoms of menopause, aid in osteoporosis prevention and provide some protection against heart disease by lowering serum cholesterol (possibly in combination with soy protein). There is also some evidence that consumption of these phytoestrogens may provide a measure of protection against breast cancer, at least if they are consumed at a younger age. However, there is some question as to whether they might promote existing-tumor growth in post-menopausal women. Because the isoflavones may be lost in the processing of soy protein ingredients, product designers looking for added isoflavones might want to avoid alcohol-extracted ingredients which results in the removal of up to 90% of the isoflavones or look at ingredients designed to have a high isoflavone content. For example, Natures Path Foods, Inc., Blaine, WA, incorporates a 40% protein soy germ ingredient, SoyLife, from Schouten USA, in its granola cereal called Soy Plus. In addition to protein, this ingredient contains 2.0% soy isoflavones (vs. 0.2% in raw soy), 4.0% saponins and 0.4% plant sterols. According to Laurent Leduc, marketing manager, North America, Schouten, the product has a roasted grain flavor and the usage level, around 2.0% of the finished product, will not contribute a beany flavor. The ingredient can be mixed in, or used in cooked or extruded product. "Weve done studies on cooking and extrusion and the isoflavones are heat stable up to 500°F," he says. Bonner believes another grain, psyllium, also an excellent source of dietary soluble fiber, never achieved full potential as a cereal ingredient because of its name. "Its basic word association," he says. "Psyllium reminds people of the word silly. Perhaps if it had a different name, it would have taken hold." From field to box Basic methods used to make cereal include flaked cereals, gun-puffed whole grains, extruded gun-puffed cereals, shredded whole grains, extruded and other shredded cereals, oven-puffed cereals, granola, and extruded expanded cereals. The flake-making process, the grandfather of cereal making, is relatively simple. After the chosen grain is cleaned, it is then milled to break the grain into smaller pieces, one-third to one-half the original size of the kernel. The pieces are mixed with other ingredients, such as vitamins, nutrients and sweeteners, then steamed under pressure for a number of hours. After being broken into bits again and partially dried, the pieces are flaked between steel rolls, then dried further and toasted to their final desired flavor and color. Manufacturers today might use extrusion instead of steaming. Extrusion forms pellets into uniform sizes instead of the more randomly broken pieces traditionally fed into the rollers. Cereals also can be puffed, typically using either oven-puffing or gun-puffing methods. This processing method utilizes whole grains, such as wheat or rice, expanding them to several times their normal volume by applying heat and pressure. Gun-puffed cereals generally have greater volume than oven-puffed products. Extrusion cooking is the most modern method of cereal production. With extrusion cooking, several operations used in traditional cereal manufacture are compressed into fewer steps within a shorter time period, leading to greater retention of added nutrients. For example, the vitamins that fortify a typically processed cereal, such as thiamin, are usually lost using traditional processing and need to be replaced at the end of the process. A new method of extrusion technology, developed by Sy Rizvi, Ph.D. in the Food Science department at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and financed through Dairy Management Inc.™, Rosemont, IL, called supercritical fluid extrusion (SCFX), utilizes lower temperatures to allow formulators to incorporate heat-sensitive ingredients, such as dry dairy ingredients, in extruded or puffed cereals. Using this technology, a cereal manufacturer could pump up the protein and calcium profile by adding whey protein concentrate or isolate. Another advantage of this technology is that the extruded or puffed products produced using this method have a smaller pore size, contributing to a longer bowl life. Pump it up Adults consider the basic grains as "good-for-you," but milling and the above processing techniques can remove some of the natural nutrition. Therefore, cereal manufacturers routinely fortify their products in the case of some micronutrients, they supply 100% of the daily recommended requirement. Thanks to this practice, consumers who eat cereal for breakfast can rely on benefiting from a significantly higher level of essential vitamins and minerals than their counterparts who skip that meal or settle for coffee and a danish at the office. Minerals and the more stable vitamins usually are added to the front end of the basic formula mix, while the more labile vitamins, such as vitamins A, C, D and thiamin, are added as a spray solution/suspension after other processing. These less-stable vitamins often require an overage of 50% to preserve labeling claims during the cereals shelf life. Other minerals can usually be added at a 15% overage. Certain factors play into the targeted fortification and overage levels. Overages are required for three reasons, says Ram Chaudhari, Ph.D, senior executive vice president, research and development, Fortitech, Inc., Schenectady, NY. Analytical methods often give a plus or minus variance, the process used and losses encountered and loss during shelf life. Also, some vitamins, such as vitamin D, are toxic when used in high concentrations and require careful regulation. (For a more comprehensive look at vitamin fortification, see "Building a Better Breakfast Cereal," Food Product Design, April 1998.) Some fortification levels are based on health benefits for the adult population. A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine linked the ingestion of breakfast cereal fortified with 100% of the Daily Recommended Value of folic acid and vitamin B6, with a reduced blood level of homocysteine, an identified risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In the study, participants who consumed 1 oz. of General Mills Inc. Total® breakfast cereal, which is fortified with 100% of the recommended daily values for these nutrients, experienced an 11% reduction in blood homocysteine levels. Calcium is another important nutrient for the adult population, given the prevalence of osteoporosis approximately 28 million people in the United States. The National Academy of Sciences recommends adults take in 1000 to 1200 mg calcium per day. Calcium ingredient options abound (see "Culinary Cures: Calcium Fortification," Food Product Design, Sept. 1997), but Chaudhari recommends that one-third of the daily calcium requirement be met in cereals to help maximize absorption. With the rise in popularity of functional foods, cereals offer fortification opportunities beyond vitamins and minerals. The newest kids on the block, relatively speaking, are ingredients classified as pre- and probiotics. Now, the relatively new and exciting array of probiotic and prebiotic ingredients is no longer limited to use in yogurt and cultured dairy products. Possibilities exist for product designers to use ingredients that can further enhance the nutritional value and possibly strengthen label claims on a cereal package. One such prebiotic is inulin, an ingredient processed in our bodies as a soluble dietary fiber, derived from the chicory plant. This natural, water-soluble carbohydrate contains fructo-oligosaccharides, with one-tenth the sweetness of refined sugar. Inulin mimics some of the characteristics of fat for flavor delivery and two additional benefits to cereal manufacturers are potential probiotic health claims and textural properties. When added in the premix phase of extruded-cereal production, inulin lowers the dies back pressure, and enhances expansion, giving the cereal greater crispiness. If used during the coating process, inulin will form a film, to help extend the cereals bowl life by coating the pores. Probiotics are "friendly" bacteria that help balance microflora in the human gastrointestinal tract to promote better health. They actually inhibit the growth of "bad" bacteria. Prebiotics help promote the growth or create a positive environment for the growth of probiotic organisms. Two accepted prebiotics are whey and fructo-oligosaccharides. In its prebiotic capacity, inulin enhances the environment for the growth of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. The elimination of pathogenic bacteria aids in mineral absorption. Pam Galvin, vice president of business development for Imperial Sensus, Sugar Land, TX, indicates that an efficacious dose of inulin to modify the gut microflora is 4 grams per day. "An average adult eating a typical Western diet, not high in vegetables or fruits, is only ingesting 2.6 grams of inulin per day, so there clearly is a need for increased amounts of inulin in the diet," she says. According to Bryan Tungland, technical manager for Imperial Sensus, Minneapolis, a formulator can safely add up to 9 grams of inulin per 30 gram serving of cereal. A committee of the AACC has petitioned the FDA with suggested new dietary fiber guidelines and in that petition, the committee recommended that inulin be classified as a soluble dietary fiber. Cornucopia of choices At fine restaurants or hotels, a comforting breakfast luxury is the array of toppings presented alongside a bowl of cereal or oatmeal sliced strawberries and bananas, perhaps crunchy walnuts or almonds, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in a glorious jumble, or plump raisins with brown sugar and cream. The average American, in a rush for the carpool, school bus or train, rarely has the opportunity to sample this bounty. Today, fruit and nut processors offer such a broad array of possibilities, which allows the cereal manufacturer to deliver these delicious choices in a box. Adding fruit to cereals not only provides flavor and natural appeal, but also a good-for-you image. "These days almost every fruit has some health claim apple, blueberry, cranberry, etc. but it may come down to the simple fact that every one agrees that we need more fruits and vegetables in our diet," says Scott Summers, director of technical and quality services, Tree Top, Inc. Selah, WA. For years, the proud boast of Kelloggs® Raisin Bran has been "Two scoops of raisins in every box." Raisins are a popular ingredient in cereals for good reason. The California raisin industry maintains high quality standards for raisins appearance and cleanliness, to ensure the microbiological stability of their product in cereals. Raisins offer cereal manufacturers low water activity, intact skin and natural sweetness in the form of fructose and glucose. In addition, California raisins contain propionic acid, a natural mold inhibitor. Note that California raisins are oil-coated only at customer request and this step is used as a shelf-life extender. In other parts of the world, fruit is dipped in hot oil to speed up the drying process. The cereal formulator can take advantage of several different types of raisin ingredients. California growers have select, midget, and mixed. Raisin paste, another option, is a co-product of raisins, made from whole natural raisins that are ground and passed through a fine mesh screen. Mild heat treatment helps keep the paste soft and pliable during storage and can be used successfully in extruded breakfast cereals, or injected into a crisp wheat matrix as a filling. An English manufacturer has successfully incorporated raisins into a flaked cereal. And the pleasant, distinct raisin taste of the paste could be used to mask the flavor of herbal ingredients included for their potential nutraceutical benefits. Furthermore, raisins offer a substantial amount of fiber just 100 grams of raisins contains 6 grams of fiber the American Dietetic Association recommends that dietary intake of fiber from food sources of 20 to 35 grams per day could drastically reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Blueberries have made headlines recently with their own health-related claims. According to Thomas Payne, president, Thomas J. Payne Market Development, San Mateo, CA, "Blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses." He cites a study conducted by the National Institute on Aging and the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center, published in The Journal of Neuroscience in September of 1999 that reports consumption of blueberries can actually reverse some of the problems of aging. The berrys antioxidant properties may protect the body against damage from oxidative stress, implicated in aging and in the development of certain neurodegenerative diseases. Blueberries also offer an excellent source of vitamin A and provide nearly one-third of an adults daily vitamin C requirement. Like bananas, they are a source of potassium. The North American Blueberry Council conducted consumer research and determined that consumers prefer the real deal when it comes to their blueberries. The advent of the dehydrated blueberry posed an easy solution to this situation. According to Payne, "Consumers were tantalized by cereal boxes that portrayed fresh juicy blueberries as toppings, while limited numbers of product actually contained real blueberries." Some breakfast cereals take advantage of dried berries, while other processors use low-moisture blueberry fillings or blueberry bits in the flake. Others might use natural blueberry flavor and essence to give the cereal added appeal. Payne indicates the Japanese market, in response to high consumer demand for blueberries, has successfully integrated this popular fruit into puffs and cereal flakes. Several other fruits, including cranberries, cherries, pears and dried plums, come in various forms that can be readily included in cereal formulation. In powdered form, manufacturers can try fruits such as strawberries, peaches, pears and apples. "Virtually any fruit can be used in cereal as long as introduction is in a powder or granule form and any fruit can be dried by utilizing the appropriate drying system," says Summers. Apples, for example, are available diced, tenderized, in flakes, granules and powders, for inclusion in hot or ready-to-eat cereals. The biggest challenge in incorporating fruit pieces into a ready-to-eat cereal is maintaining the crispy texture of the cereal. "There are a couple ways of accomplishing this," Summers explains. "Infusion of certain humectants such as sugar or glycerin binds water and, to a degree, stops moisture migration. Most intermediate-moisture fruits have the right texture but lose it as the moisture level is reduced to a level appropriate for RTEs. As a result, you seldom find fruit unless something such as infusion or coating systems have been utilized. The coating systems can use fat or oil-based products to inhibit water migration. The simplest solution is to use a dry fruit particulate and include it in the enrobing system. This is only appropriate if the cereal is to be coated with sweeteners. This topical application is then re-dried with the cereal and becomes part of the finished cereal piece." Nuts are no newcomers to cereals, especially those appealing to adults. Like fruit, these serve a dual role by adding flavor as well as nutrition. In 1895, walnuts paired up with raisins and a mixture of coarse grains as ingredients in the earliest muesli created and named in Switzerland by Dr. Burcher-Benner. Walnuts are available whole, in parts, diced, chopped or ground into a powder. Processors have mixed walnuts with honey, orange and even chili to provide a wide range of flavored walnuts. Nutritionally, walnuts can claim nine of the 10 essential amino acids including lysine, tryptophaan, histidine, phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine, methionine and valine. Although nuts frequently contain higher fat content than grains, new studies make distinctions between the various types of fats and their effect on overall health. In fact, one study conducted in Barcelona, Spain, which substituted walnuts for more traditional fats, demonstrated a reduction in LDL cholesterol in the studies subjects. The Harvard University Nurses Health Study shows that women who ate more than 5 oz. of nuts per week reduced their risk of heart disease by 35% when compared to women who ate only 1 oz. of nuts a month, or none at all. Almonds are another popular choice for cereals. They contribute protein, vitamin E and monounsaturated oils along with magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium and folic acid. Almonds have been linked to a wide array of health benefits. Many almond nutrients might have positive effects on cancer. For example, Paul Davis, Ph.D, University of California-Davis, has concluded that the monounsaturated fat in almonds may have a positive impact in the reduction of colon cancer. Additionally, research conducted at Penn State showed that the phytochemicals in almonds inhibited tumor-cell growth. The high levels of vitamin E found in almonds may protect against prostate and cervical cancers. This helps almonds and other nuts give cereals a healthy image. Sweet stuff While natural fruits add an equally natural source of sweetener, adult cereals usually receive sweetening from a combination of sources, such as sucrose, corn syrup and honey. A cereal targeting adults will contain anywhere from 15 to 25 grams less sugar per serving than a typical kid-formulated cereal. Sucrose, from sugar cane or sugar beets, is frequently preferred for surface applications because it can either crystallize as a frosty surface or form a hard glaze, as desired. Fructose, made from corn syrup, can be used in conjunction with sucrose or aspartame. Mixing fructose with other sweeteners in an adult cereal can minimize the sugar content while still maintaining the sweet taste fructose provides. It can also help mask aspartames aftertaste. Brown sugar is typically used to complement the "brown" flavors such as vanilla, or graham that adults prefer in their cereal. Honey is often used with other sweeteners, rarely acting as the primary sweetener since it promotes moisture absorption. It imparts a sweet flavor and lends a golden color that also complements adult flavor preferences in breakfast cereals. In a study published by the National Honey Board, researchers testing the levels of honey used in various forms of breakfast cereal found that both a taste panel, and a group of consumers who taste-tested the samples, preferred cereals containing higher levels of honey. In tests, a cereal containing a high level of honey, when extruded using lower speeds, optimized the desirable flavor, appearance and textural characteristics. As new studies and health claims surface, cereal formulators will remain challenged to incorporate these ingredients while maintaining functionality, appearance and taste. The cereal industry so often leads the way when incorporating new ingredients into their formulations. And the future of the industry might depend on utilizing these ingredients, in concert with traditional and non-traditional formulations for breakfast cereal, to convince adult Americans that the healthiest way to start their day is with a bowl of cereal instead of a cup of coffee or a diet soda.

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