As a passionate trekker Marco Steinhilber was often confronted with the problem of the ideal energy supply. Conventional energy snacks “dissipated” after a short time, the performance level dropped and the next energy-supplying meal was hours away. Then the food technologist simply took matters into his own hands: Steinhilber founded Innosnack and began to develop his own energy bars based on a completely new composition. For his efforts he was given the ISPO AWARD 2015. The secret behind Innosnack: Isomaltulose, a healthy sugar with a low glycemic index
There is a huge amount of new dietary supplements and cereal bars on offer at the moment – why did you develop another energy bar?
We not only offer an energy bar that differs from the other products on the market thanks to a clean ingredients list and our use of isomaltulose which replaces conventional sugars. All our products are vegan, gluten and dairy-free and also free from any additives. There are a lot of bars on the market but ours is simply revolutionary. Up until now there was no mix that only consisted of isomaltulose, nourishing seeds and almonds. Most energy bars are composed of a certain kind of sugar as a bonding agent and other ingredients like cereals and dried fruit. But most sugars are rapidly digested or badly tolerated. Isomaltulose is different as its transformation happens slower, guaranteeing better performance and providing important nutrients like polyunsaturated fat acids and minerals. I’m sure that consumers will realize the benefits we offer with these products and value this new option of a healthy and functional dietary supplement for all kind of activities.
How did you discover isomaltulose?
Working in food product development for seven years I already encountered isomaltulose a few times and always wondered why this “golden resource” wasn’t used more often in food production. The industry shows interest but the ten-fold costs, technical challenges and low demand slow down progress. Innosnack tries to increase demand and present our products on trade shows in order to make isomaltulose more popular.
What was a greater motivation during the product development: the challenge to promote isomaltulose as a rich ingredient for foods or your personal demand for a functional energy bar?
First I discoveredisomaltulose as a new resource with great potential and asked myself what we could make out of it; producing an energy bar seemed natural. On expeditions I often became hungry when energy levels dropped off when my food wasn’t right. So I wanted to develop a snack that offered better energy performance. I knew I could realize this with isomaltulose, filed the technological procedure as a patent and developed the energy bar.
Are there any other ingredients besides isomaltulose that differentiate the bars from other products?
We only use natural ingredients that offer a high nutritional value. We don’t use oaks which are cheaper but don’t provide the same amount of essential amino acids like quinoa for example. This primitive grain hasn’t been manipulated regarding its amount of starch and offers a great spectrum of nutrients like lysine, which the body urgently needs. As well as quinoa, buckwheat flakes and millet for the cereals we also use flax and pumpkin seeds and almonds (vitamin E).
Does isomaltulose have the potential to replace cheap sugar (monosaccharide) in the future while the sugar replacement high fructose corn syrup becomes more and more popular?
Isomaltulose is still not very well-known but it has a bright future and will unfold its full potential within the next decade. Even though health organizations are warning that we are consuming too much sugar there isn’t much done in order to abate it. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to change people’s food patterns but we are patient and we will be there if needed.
Natural fructose had a better reputation until recently but new scientific data proves the opposite in regards to diabetes and cholesterol. Are these concerns justified and which benefits does isomaltulose have?
It’s correct that natural fructose isn’t very healthy as various nutritional aspects show. Similar to isomaltulose fructose also has a low glycemic index, but doesn’t offer the same benefits, which mainly include tolerance, fat burning, hunger and tooth-friendliness. Furthermore, only isomaltulose provides the controlled supply of direct glucose.
Fruit bars that mainly contain carbohydrates in the form of fructose aren’t a good choice for athletes.
Which athletes are already testing your products?
In 2014 the extreme athlete Stefan Schlegel participated in the Race Across America (RAAM), one of the longest cycling races in the world. He had a daily energy demand of 10.000kcal, which he mainly covered with isomaltulose and he confirmed that he didn’t have any shortfalls. This shows the great tolerance and functionality of this carbohydrate. We have also been supporting Michael Willeitner, from the German national biathlon team, with Innosnack’s bars, drinks and cereals for a year and he already stated that the products not only taste good but also prevent bonks (energy shortfalls) during running. Shortly we will introduce more athletes and their experiences on our website.
Can we expect any new products from Innosnack?
With our energy bars, cereals and energy drinks we have created a strong base. We will not only add new variations but also create new product categories in the future. However, these are still a secret…
- Isomalutlose: Glycemic index 32; 379 kcal/100 g
- Snacks: Innobar, Innoballs
- Innodrink: Lemon
- Innocrunch cereal: Quinoa flakes; Chocolate-Almond
- Dairy, sugar and gluten-free, vegan and long-lasting energetic value