Biscuits are loved by many, and few are as beloved in the U.K. as the iconic Digestive biscuit. When pladis, the maker of McVitie’s Digestives and a long-standing customer of Tate & Lyle’s, asked us to help them develop a healthier version, our food scientists jumped into gear.
Bakery is one of Tate & Lyle’s specialist food and drink categories, and our technical experts understand exactly how to create a captivating crunch, a superior snap, and flavourful fillings. As the demand for healthier treats and snacks has grown exponentially, so too has our understanding of how to create new products and update established favourites to meet the preferences of today’s consumers and health needs of society.
In biscuits, sugar has long played a crucial role, creating a desirable texture and ‘mouthfeel’, giving a golden colour, and improving shelf-life so biscuits keep their crunch in the biscuit tin, as well as delivering on taste.
With their understanding of the complex interplay of ingredients within a recipe, our food scientists partnered with R&D and nutrition specialists at pladis to assess the opportunities for sugar reduction and fibre fortification, as one of several health-focused projects. Through ingredient review and selection, recipe trials, lab analysis and collaborative discussions led by our teams in our Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centres in Mold, North Wales, and Lubeck, Germany, a solution was found.
William Ballantyne, Tate & Lyle’s Category Technical Manager Bakery, said: “A key part of the customer brief was to help develop a version of a McVitie’s Digestive that retains the ‘salty-sweet’ flavour that consumers love but with less sugar and more fibre. We used one of our fibre solutions, STA-LITE® Polydextrose, to replace part of the sugar in the recipe to build back some of the body and structure that sugar provides in the original recipe. Not only does the final product, which launched last summer, have 30% less sugar than the original Digestive, it has 50% more fibre. When you choose a career specialising in bakery, you dream of working on the brands you’ve grown up with, and it was a real pleasure and privilege to work on this brief.”
Jennifer Moss, Chief Research and Development Officer at pladis, said: “The biggest challenge for this project was reducing the sugar and the saturated fat in the recipe while maintaining processibility so working in partnership with the experts from Tate and Lyle enabled us to resolve this problem and provide to the consumer a healthier version of the iconic digestive with the same great texture as the original.”