WILTON, Conn. -- Nabisco is grabbing headlines in the reduced-fat and fat-free cookie market with its highly successful SnackWells. But other companies are trying to grab a piece of the action. The latest entry in the category, a line of three cookies by Greenfield Healthy Foods Co. here, takes out the fat and replaces it with a variety of fruit, vegetable and other natural ingredients. The three products, Double Chocolate Lace, Iced Oatmeal Raisin and Dutch Apple, join Greenfield's line of fat- free "blondies" and brownies.
"Three of the fastest-growing categories in foods today are products without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives; fat-free, and kosher products," explained Eric Klar, Greenfield's executive vice president. "There was a void in the market of products that had a clean label declaration, but also tasted good. Our product differs from others in that you don't need a Ph.D. in food science to read the ingredient declaration."
The ingredients used include apples, dried plum and date purees along with other natural functional ingredients. The result is a moist, chewy, fat-free cookie with only 60 calories per serving.
"The key to our products' success has always been our proprietary formulations that replace fat," said Greenfield's founder and head of product development, LaDonna Capozzi. "We use all-natural ingredients to add texture and intensify the taste."
Fat-free bakery products rely largely on moisture retention to provide eating quality. According to Scott Saunders, food scientist for the California Prune Board, dried plum puree and other fruits can replace shortening in cookies. "Naturally occurring sorbitol, pectins and reducing sugars function to maintain moistness. Additionally, it has been shown that malic acid contained in dried plums acts as a natural preservative against mold growth," he said. Klar estimated that thousands of hours were spent in product development. "The fat-replacement systems we use are quite proprietary. These products are technologically advanced to make -- you can't just throw everything in a hopper and come up with a high-quality product," he said.