There’s a new concept making its way into the digestive health space: postbiotics. This refers to the probiotic bacteria’s metabolic byproducts … a nice term for waste. Probiotics produce and excrete compounds into the digestive tract, and these compounds are believed to exert the beneficial effect on the body.

ADM is a supplier of both probiotics and postbiotics for the food industry. Its non-spore probiotics are not suitable for high-heat processing but can be added to certain coatings or fillings once the bake process has concluded.

“These probiotics can also be added to low-water-activity products such as chocolates, nut butters or dry powder products, but they tend to stand up better in refrigerated items since the microorganisms cannot withstand heat,” said Brian Peeters, ADM’s business development manager for probiotics. “For example, a thick compound coating on a refrigerated cookie or cupcake may be suitable for the addition of our non-spore probiotics.

“Postbiotics, which do not contain live microorganisms but feature many of the same added health benefits associated with probiotics, are much more tolerant to heat and therefore are better suited to the baked goods category. Our postbiotics can be added at any stage of the formulation process without risking damage to the postbiotics during processing.”

Positioning itself as the first major player in postbiotics, ADM expects that as formulators learn about this new functional ingredient, demand will grow. Baked foods are a target category because of the limitations of including heat-labile probiotics into batters and doughs.

“Our HT-BPL1 postbiotic is supported by research indicating that it is beneficial for metabolic health and it is suitable for virtually any baked good application, so the possibilities for manufacturers are endless,” Mr. Peeters asserted. “Postbiotics and probiotics are similar in that their health benefits vary strain-by-strain. Research shows that postbiotics exert a health benefit when consumed at a proper dose, so it is important that formulators include a dose that is consistent with the serving size.”

Regardless of the probiotic or postbiotic added to baked foods, it is paramount that the ingredient not have a negative impact on the product’s organoleptic properties. They should be inactive until consumed, and then they should be good for the gut.

This article is an excerpt from the February 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on probiotics, click here.