Where is muesli made?

Goods sales customer Breakfast cereals

Whether children or adults, many people like to grab cornflakes, muesli, etc. in the morning or in between: Open the package, fill the desired amount into a small bowl, add milk or yoghurt and ideally snip in fresh seasonal fruit - breakfast is ready. The trade offers a wide range of mueslis and crispy breakfast cereals, so that nothing stands in the way of a varied start to the day.
A lot has happened on the market for breakfast cereals in recent years. Many manufacturers have expanded their range and adapted their recipes to specific nutritional trends and target groups. For example, there are products that are specifically aimed at children. Other items fortified with vitamins, minerals and fiber are intended to appeal to health-conscious consumers.

definition
The term breakfast cereal includes all mueslis, corn flakes and other crispy cereal products such as rings or pillows. The starting product is always grain - often in the form of pithy or tender flakes. By the way, pure cereal flakes such as oat, rice or spelled flakes do not belong to the breakfast cereals. Flakes form a separate category.

All flakes as well as all shaped and crispy mussels, rings, stars and pillows are called traditional cereals. There are, for example, products made from corn, oats, wheat, rice, millet or spelled. Breakfast cereals made from pseudograins such as amaranth and quinoa are relatively new to the market. Nuts, dried fruits, honey and chocolate are also used as additional ingredients. The production of the individual traditional cereals is briefly described below.

TRADITIONAL CEREALS
Flakes
The best-known and oldest breakfast cereals are cornflakes made from corn. They are almost exclusively produced using the Koch-Walz process, regardless of whether it is a branded product or a private label. In this process, the corn kernel is sterilized and peeled. To get to the germ, the grain is broken into four to six millimeter pieces. These pieces - they are called corn grits - should be as large as possible, as each piece will later become a cornflake. The corn grits are cooked in large cookers with other ingredients such as (barley) malt, sugar and salt and with the addition of water or steam for about 90 to 120 minutes. Then they are dried, rolled and roasted. Depending on the recipe and roast, the manufacturers achieve the typical taste of their cornflakes.

Cornflakes products as well as wheat, rice or barley flakes are very occasionally produced using the Koch extrusion process. For such corn flakes, the corn is also sterilized, but then ground into corn grits with a grain size of 0.4 to 0.5 millimeters. The grains are also ground into semolina for other flakes. Then the corn grits or cereal semolina are cooked, shaped into small pellets in an extruder, rolled into flakes and roasted. Incidentally, flakes made from several grain components are exclusively produced using the Koch extrusion process.

The production of maize grits in the Koch-Walz process is more laborious than the production of maize grits. One advantage of these flakes is that they retain their native structure, are more stable and have a little more bite. They'll stay crispy longer in the bowl.

Extruded or shaped cereals
The extruded breakfast cereals include rings, mussels, stars or pillows in different shapes and flavors. For this purpose, semolina is boiled with water. The resulting dough is pressed under pressure through a compression screw - the extruder. The dough pieces are given their respective shape through shaping openings, so-called matrices. As soon as these pieces of dough emerge from the extruder, the water evaporates, the product solidifies and is finally dried. Depending on the variety, these breakfast cereals are coated with other ingredients such as cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, honey or nuts. Some products also contain cream fillings in different flavors.

Puffed cereals
Whole grains are exposed to hot steam and high pressure for puffed grains such as wheat pops or rice puffs. Due to a sudden drop in pressure, the water contained in the grains evaporates and the grain puffs up. This process is what manufacturers of breakfast cereals call puffing (from English to puff = to blow, to inflate). These products can also be coated with other ingredients such as sugar or cocoa.

Shredded cereals
With so-called shredding, cooked grains or a dough made of grain flour are formed into strips and stacked in several layers. The resulting cushions are then cut and baked.

CEREAL
The German Agricultural Society (DLG) has defined definitions for the different types of muesli in its test regulations. Muesli consists of at least one whole grain cereal product (crushed, crushed and / or flaked), possibly from other cereal products and at least one non-cereal component. Most of them are dried fruits, oily seeds, nuts and / or flavoring ingredients such as cocoa or honey. Mueslis are divided into classic mueslis and crunchy mueslis.

Classic muesli - fruit, nut, chocolate muesli
Whole grain cereal flakes form the basis for classic mueslis. For this, the manufacturers use tender and robust flakes made from oats, wheat, barley, rye, spelled and millet, which can also be roasted. Pseudograins such as amaranth and quinoa are also used. Fruit mueslis also contain dried fruits (berries, apples, raisins). Hazelnuts or walnuts, almonds or cashews and other types of nuts are also used for nut muesli. A minimum content of fruits or nuts is not legally stipulated in fruit or nut muesli. Depending on the variety, classic mueslis also contain oil seeds (for example flax seeds, sunflower seeds), puffed or roasted cereals, as well as chocolate and yoghurt chips.

Crunchy cereal
Baked muesli is defined as crunchy muesli or granola. Crunchy muesli consists of cereal flakes, often oat or wheat flakes. The flakes are mixed with other ingredients and then baked. This creates the characteristic taste and crispy consistency. These mueslis are also often refined with nuts, fruits or chocolate.

Muesli trends
Many muesli manufacturers align their assortments with certain food trends. Often it is about health aspects. Which cereals are currently popular?

  • Muesli with ancient grains such as spelled, emmer and einkorn as well as pseudo grains such as amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat.
    Protein mueslis: It is mainly soy flakes, sometimes also skimmed milk powder, pea, wheat, soy protein or isolated proteins that ensure the high protein content.
  • Mueslis with superfood: They contain, for example, cranberries, goji berries or acerola.
  • Paleo muesli: It does not contain any grain, but scores with a high proportion of nuts and seeds. Due to the lack of grain, it is actually not a muesli.
  • "Free of ...": This means gluten, lactose and fructose-free products. For example, gluten-free mueslis usually contain buckwheat flakes, corn flakes and / or puffed rice instead of cereal flakes.
  • Vegan: Most classic mueslis are vegan anyway. Among other things, vegan products do not contain any milk components such as yoghurt splinters, skimmed milk powder or honey.
  • Less / no sugar: These include sugar-free and low-sugar mueslis (see p. 107).


In trade
Breakfast products are usually bought in a planned manner. Consumers are addressed accordingly via the aisle, the gondola head or secondary placements. A clear presentation of the goods is therefore very important. Retailers should segment traditional cereals and muesli according to the subcategories and, within these segments, according to brand, taste and function. New products should be visually highlighted on the shelf.
When maintaining the shelves, the FIFO rule (first in - first out) must be observed and gaps in the shelves must be avoided. Manufacturers recommend the secondary placement of breakfast cereals in the mopro and fruit department. Because here an impulse purchase can be triggered - also with the help of recipe tips.

Less is more
More and more consumers prefer low or sugar-free mueslis and cereals. How do you recognize these products? The list of ingredients reveals whether the product contains any sugar or other sweetening ingredients such as glucose, fruit syrup, agave syrup or honey. All ingredients are listed here in descending order of weight percentages. How much sugar is actually in the product can be seen in the nutritional table under "Carbohydrates - of which sugar". This means the total sugar content in the product, i.e. the proportion of sugar that is naturally contained in ingredients (such as the fructose in dried fruit) and / or the amount of sugar that was added during production.

What does what?
Some manufacturers praise their products as "low-sugar", "reduced sugar" or "no added sugar":

  • “Low in sugar”: The product contains no more than five grams of sugar per 100 grams.
  • “Reduced sugar”: The content of mono- and disaccharides (for example, glucose = grape sugar, fructose = fruit sugar, maltose = malt sugar, sucrose = household sugar) must be reduced by at least 30 percent compared to comparable products.
  • “No added sugar”: This information is only permitted if the product does not contain any added mono- or disaccharides or other foods with a sweetening effect (for example natural fruit sweetness, fruit syrup). The product may, however, contain sugar that is naturally present in the product or in an ingredient (e.g. dried fruits in muesli). In this case, the label must bear the note “naturally contains sugar”.
Knowledge check

Anyone who has read carefully can answer the following questions.

ask

  1. What process are most cornflakes made by?
  2. What does "reduced sugar" mean?
  3. What does crunchy muesli mean?

reply

  1. According to the Koch-Walz method.
  2. The product contains at least 30 percent less sugar than a comparable product.
  3. It's a baked granola. For this, cereal flakes are mixed with other ingredients and then baked.

The product sales customer appears regularly as a special section in the magazine Lebensmittel Praxis. We thank Kellogg (Deutschland) GmbH, H. & J. Brüggen KG, C.P.D. Cereal Partners Deutschland GmbH & Co. oHG, Peter Kölln GmbH & Co. KGaA and the Association of the Grain, Milling and Starch Industry for the technical advice and the material made available.