Healthy breakfast on-the-go? The answer is porridge
Breakfast is booming. Health-conscious consumers now have a wealth of options to choose from, from exotic varieties such as shakshouka and chia puddings, to more traditional products like cereals and porridge. However, while we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it can be a challenge for many consumers to make time for it, as DSM’s ‘Breakfast Insights’ found that 1 in 4 consumers spend less than five minutes per day on preparing and eating breakfast. This means that on-the-go offerings have become even more sought after, yet consumers are unwilling to compromise on health or taste. How do manufacturers meet these high expectations?
Health, but not as we know it
According to the results of DSM’s study, 69% of consumers claimed to prefer healthy to cheap foods for breakfast. This focus on health is becoming increasingly apparent in breakfast product development as manufacturers fight for a share of the bowl in the morning. But it’s not the traditional messaging that’s winning out – consumers no longer look for foods that address gut health or weight loss; they want more positive messages of ‘all natural’, ‘superfoods’ or ‘added protein’ that imply health rather than overtly promising it. They’re also eager for products that can demonstrate an ability to fuel activities, tying in to more active lifestyles.
But although important, this focus on health shouldn’t come at the cost of flavour. According to the Streetbees poll conducted on behalf of The Grocer, 79% of consumers rate ‘great taste’ as an important factor in their choice of breakfast. Manufacturers must attract these health-conscious consumers with great tasting products that also promote positive nutrition. Some may see this as a challenge, but that’s where porridge comes in. Own label products are currently growing, up 3.4% according to Kantar, and accounting for 28.7% of market value, so it’s a great time for manufacturers to get in the game.
The power of porridge
The porridge market is the fastest growing cereal segment, up 5.2% in terms of value and 6.5% in volume according to Kantar [Worldpanel 52 w/e 9 September 2018], helped in part by porridge on-the-go, with growth in the number of formats – pots, pouches, drinks, snacks etc. – allowing consumers to enjoy a healthy breakfast wherever they are. It’s also simple to create vegan options, using water or plant-based milks, allowing manufacturers to target another important market.
But how to produce porridge in consistent batches without burn-on? The answer is Steam Infusion. Offering a more repeatable consistent cooking process, oats and other grains can be quickly cooked thanks to the high energy steam entering the product; 300kg of porridge can be cooked in less than 6 minutes. In addition, Steam Infusion pumps at up to 50,000 l/h, which helps to hydrate the grains more quickly. Despite the fast cooking time, no burn-on occurs as the product is not exposed to excess temperatures that may foul the product and the partial vacuum inhibits the Maillard reaction, improving the presentation of the porridge, as well as making CIP easier and maximising the energy efficiency of the process.
The high-speed controllable mixing environment achieves a homogenising effect, allowing you to create a fat mimetic, achieving a creamier taste without the extra calories (or the cost of additional ingredients!) This allows manufacturers to deliver the indulgent tastes that consumers crave, without having to compromise on the health messaging that is so important when choosing a product on the shelf.
Our test centre, based at the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) in the UK, is perfect for trialling existing porridge recipes or developing a new version to add to your portfolio. Our Development Chef is also on hand to help you make the most of the technology.