How to make your biscuit production cost-effective and meet consumer demands

10 August 20229 min reading

“Biscuit manufacturers challenged by increasing flour prices, flour quality inconsistencies and dependence on flour specifications. The volatility in this major raw material is causing process instability, inflexibility in flour sourcing. As a result, the industry is facing production wastage and issues with final product quality, affecting cost effectiveness. What if you could produce your biscuits independently from flour quality fluctuations while get improved dough machinability and balanced properties in a cost-effective way?”

The biscuit market today has proven to be one of the fastest growing and most popular segments. The detailed insights into rising consumer trends, how the market looks today and what it’s forecast to look like in the future will help to understand better how to meet producers’ needs and consumers’ expectations. 

A myriad of consumer trends is impacting baked goods brands

Today's consumers are demanding. They don’t just want tasty and delicious baked goods, but also want them to be healthy, sustainable, and convenient (Fig. 1).

The pandemic has made snacking more relevant than ever. According to the Global Consumer Snacking Trends report, 52% of survey respondents described snacking as a ‘lifesaver’ during the worst months of the pandemic, with 88% of adults admitting to snacking either the same or more frequently compared to before. 

According to the Euromonitor Snacking Report, this category will continue to offer opportunities for manufacturers with the significantly evolved nature of snacking occasions.

Biscuits are a fundamental part of snacking and the biscuit market in Middle East is projected to grow by 5% CARG over the next 5 years. 

What should be the focus areas to win in this growing market?

An important trend is conscious indulgence. It means that although consumers have been seeking out products positioned as indulgent to give themselves an affordable treat, health concerns remain at the top of the agenda for many. 

With the public spotlight and consumer focused firmly on health, consumers are increasingly looking to balance indulgence with more healthful options, and they are willing to pay extra for healthier biscuits. As health awareness grows, biscuit brands also must innovate around options that balance pleasure with better-for-you features. 

As a result of this trend, the health & wellness sweet biscuit segment is expected to grow by 8%, faster than the total biscuit market growth.

Health claims are stacking up in launches

In response, many of the bakery products positioned as snacks have undergone changes to improve their health credentials. The removal of additives and preservatives has become almost second nature, as well as to satisfy clean-label requirements. 

Approximately 1,000 new biscuits were launched over last 3 years in Middle East with new variants, claims and formats to meet the consumers changing demands and needs. Interestingly, 35% of these launches have no additives/preservatives claim and 33% have a? no/reduced allergen claim. 

Yet consumers still care about the sensory experience in biscuit

One final, important trend – or at least a key consumer concern, is the sensory experience. As the nature of the category is indulgence, consumers continue to demand better sensory experience in biscuits, where crunchiness and crispiness in number one criteria, followed by texture and appearance.

The question is, how do you manage all these things? How do you as a manufacturer, maintain this important balancing act between cost, health, and indulgence? 

How enzymes support trends and priorities in biscuits

Today, enzymes are used in a wide range of food industries where they improve the process and the quality of the final products. Their natural presence has been used by mankind for the preparation of food and drinks for thousands of years. Enzymes are proteins that catalyze biochemical reactions. Enzymes are found in nature in every living organism, but they are not living organisms. Enzymes are fully biodegradable. So, enzymes can be considered as a friendly and effective processing aids in flour, bread, buns, rolls, cakes, pasta, snacks, and biscuits productions.

Enzyme is a perfect solution to help make the best biscuit

What are the most important benefits of enzymes that help you to attain the “sweet spot” and produce the best biscuit? 

Reflecting consumer demands and producer needs, the Novozymes biscuits toolbox has been developed to cover key segments:

 - Reduced dependence on chemicals such as sodium meta bi-sulfite, sodium stearoyl lactate, etc.

- Mitigation of unwanted substances such as acrylamide.  

 - Raw materials optimization, and flexibility in flour sourcing, process stability, reduced checking.

- Better textural and eating properties, lighter texture, better crunchiness and crispiness, uniform shape, and appealing appearance.

Enzymes are a cost-effective solution and can truly make a difference in quality, cost-effectiveness. Healthiness and sustainability of biscuits 

Gluten weakening agent challenge

Gluten weakening agent is an essential element of process for dough relaxation, better machinability, lamination, securing standard biscuit dimensions, shape and desired eating qualities. Today biscuit manufacturers are dependent on chemical agent use – sodium meta bi-sulfite (SMS), facing such challenges:

 - SMS acts on di-sulfite bonds and has reversible action.

- SMS must be labelled, being a toxic additive. 

- SMS usage is regulated with a maximal acceptable level.

An alternative to SMS without sacrificing dough properties, processibility and biscuit quality could be innovative proteases.

You can see in Fig.2 that proteases Sensea® Biscuit SF or Neutrase® demonstrate the same effects resembling SMS effects in semi-sweet biscuits: 

- Provides uniform product shape, surface and color.

- Secures good dough-imprinting characteristics.

This is the result of softening gluten structure, improved machinability and making dough extensible and easily laminated. 

Next example shows a comparison of biscuits which were either baked with 750 ppm MS or with Sensea® Biscuit SF at the dosage of 50 ppm enabling the same biscuits stack height.  The usage of Sensea® Biscuit SF resulted in an overall better appearance as well as an enhanced imprinting properties compared to SMS (Fig. 3). 

We also observed that using the combination of protease Sensea® Biscuit SF and lipase Lipopan® Prime in short dough biscuits reproduced the effects of using 0.2% - 0.3% SSL. The physical characteristics of both short dough biscuits, made with either SSL or the enzymes’ combo, were similar. The short dough biscuit sensorial attributes, when the Sensea® Biscuit and Lipopan® combination was used, were better against SSL.

Raw material volatility challenge

Today biscuit manufacturers challenged by increasing flour prices, flour quality inconsistencies and dependence on flour specifications. The volatility in this major raw material is causing process instability, inflexibility in flour sourcing. As a result, the industry is facing production wastage and issues with final product quality, affecting cost effectiveness. 

What if you could produce your biscuits independently from flour quality fluctuations while get improved dough machinability and balanced properties in a cost-effective way? 

We also found that protease based biosolutions greatly eliminate the fluctuations of raw material qualities, ensuring the flexibility in flour sourcing and independence of flour variability, balancing dough properties.

The quality of the biscuit texture, layers’ appearance and shape made from medium wheat flour treated with Sensea® Biscuit (samples #3 and #4) are similar to biscuit parameters made from soft wheat flour (sample #1). It is possible to add smoothness and flexibility to the lamination and sheeting process dough (Fig.4).

Unexpectable process interruptions occur often in industrial lines, so the application of protease causes the concern of excessive dough weakening effect during these breaks. However, considering the high specificity of enzymes that work in certain conditions, we proved that an extra half an hour of dough resting with Sensea® Biscuit didn’t influence the dough rheology or on the final biscuit quality. Using the scrap or re-worked dough to mitigate the waste is no problem if using Sensea® Biscuit, as we found that the added re-worked dough did not affect the final biscuit quality.

Checking is a phenomenon that is characterized as small hairline cracks that occur during cooling or storage of biscuits and crackers even if they are not disturbed. The checking is related to the distribution of moisture in the baked products: during the storage, the moisture migrates from the higher moisture content areas to the drier areas to achieve the evenness. 

Moisture is generally better distributed when xylanases are used, reducing the checking.

Consumers demand better quality

Today’s consumers find the domineering areas for biscuit quality such as texture; surface attractiveness and appearance; crunchiness and crispiness. 

What if you could offer consumers better eating properties through enhanced texture and mouthfeel, increased crunchiness, crispiness, and appealing color of biscuits with natural bio solutions?

Through our extensive biscuit trials, our protease has been proven to have a positive impact on crunchiness and crispiness of semi-sweet biscuits, giving a uniquely lighter and tender texture, while our lipase has a positive impact on the crispiness of semi-sweet biscuits, modifying their structure. The lipase changes the crack and thus the bite sensation, influencing the eating experience score (Fig. 5).

Enzymes can enhance the surface coloration and flavor which are valued by the consumers. These sensorial attributes depend on the rate of Maillard reaction occurring between amino acids and reducing sugars. Amylases such as Fungamyl® and GoldCrust® accelerate sugar formation intensifying Maillard reaction resulting in richer surface color and enhanced flavor of crackers.


The biscuit products are distinguished by formulation: the different proportions of fat, sugar and water indicate the type or category.  The biscuit toolbox based on the different biscuit types using the product pyramid, where the most comprehensive groups are deployed is shown in Fig. 6. This will fit nearly all biscuits products: each diagonal section stands for the recipe’s percentage of fat, sugar or water level, while areas inside reflect certain biscuit types. Simply put, the product pyramid functions as a simple guide to reference the biscuit toolbox for the solution that you might be looking for.

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