Food ingredients are under scrutiny more than ever before, and bakers are wise to be open and transparent with customers regarding what goes into your bakery products. “Food ingredient transparency continues to be a top trend in the food industry,” says Ralf Tschenscher, baking business development manager for Lesaffre Yeast Corp. “Why not invite customers to see your bakery. Be transparent.”

Speaking at the recent Atlantic Bakery Expo, Tschenscher shared several relevant data points on this issue. For one, there’s been a 22 percent increase in food manufacturer claims of no additives or preservatives in the US market. And nearly 50 percent of consumers agree that good corporate behavior affects their purchasing decisions. Those who are transparent are more likely to win over customers in the future.

It’s not just an issue of what the ingredients are, Tschenscher says, but how they are made and where they come from. Restaurants, for instance, are becoming more transparent with how their food is prepared. This evolution is causing supermarkets, bakery cafes and restaurants to expect changes from their ingredient suppliers, he says.

Looking deeper into the issue and at one specific ingredient applicable to baking, the amino acid L-Cysteine is an ingredient that can be added to dough to help enhance dough extensibility while reducing mixing time, Tschenscher explains. “It is still being used quite a bit,” he adds, despite the fact that leading chains like Panera Bread have banned L-Cysteine from their bakery products, according to Panera’s current “No No List.”

Deactivated yeast, on the other hand, accomplishes the same function as L-Cysteine, is “more label friendly” and can be labeled as inactive baker’s yeast or yeast, Tschenscher says. Deactivated yeast’s active compound, glutathione, is found naturally in yeast. By comparison, L-Cysteine is often sourced through hydrolysis of animal byproducts or synthetically made, he explains.

“Deactivated yeast has also shown to be more process tolerant,” Tschenscher says. “Deactivated yeast can be directly added without influencing final product characteristics like colors and off-flavors.”

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