== by bakery consultant Wayne Caddy ==

The five-a-day recommendation on fruit and vegetables is important to both the food industry and to consumers. It makes sense and is easy to understand. So if consumers have a good awareness and understanding of five-a-day, can bakers target incremental sales with products specifically designed at achieving at least one of them?

Ingredients that could contribute to a consumer’s five-a-day target include some basic raw materials, which are readily available and probably already used within your bakery, such as raisins, sultanas, currants, dates, figs, apricots and prunes. All of these can go towards five-a-day. Typically, a five-a-day portion for vine fruits is one heaped tablespoon or approximately 25g per portion. Fresh, frozen, canned or chilled fruit purée or pulps can be used in dough or batter. These can give great flavour and impart softness in products.

Secondary raw materials can be used to complement the overall perception of consuming five-a-day. Flour is obviously not part of five-a-day, due to the starch content, but it is the fundamental base of a product. It is fine to use white wheat flour as long as the content of fruit is at around 25% of a 100g serving. Wholemeal or malted wheat flours can also be used if required and can enhance perceptions of ’health’. Fats are usually seen as the sticking point to ’health’ in bakery products, but olive oil, given its healthier connotations, can be used and is particularly well-suited in bread dough.

If using oil in batters, use rapeseed oil or pomace oil - basically a lighter olive oil that does not impart too much flavour. Olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat and is full of anti-oxidative content, which is good for the heart.

Natural sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup, can also enhance a healthier product. Incorporate blends of grains and seeds into your products; oats, barley, rye, flax seed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed and millet, to name but a few. Grains and seeds are a great source of vitamins and protein that generate distinctive flavour and texture.

Watch out for my five-a-day recipe ideas, coming soon in British Baker.

Top tips for five-a-day:

? Target five-a-day bakery products around ’grazing’ or lunchbox opportunities

? Focus on familiar products, which your consumer can easily identify

? Keep the flavour combinations simple and not too complex

? Healthier and indulgent is the key

? Tell your consumer the benefits through point-of-sale.