Why protect breakfast cereals with natural antioxidants

Why protect breakfast cereals with natural antioxidants

In 1863, James Caleb Jackson, an American doctor, made cold cereal consumption possible thanks to his most innovative development; the granule. The granule consisted of a mixture of baked, crumbled and re-baked cereals, which could only be consumed if they had been previously immersed in milk during the previous night.

20 years later, in the 1880’s, physician John Harvey Kellogg improved upon Dr. Jackson’s formula by introducing the combination of different types of grains, such as wheat, oats, and corn. This food became known by the term granola, as it is known today.

To get to the development of breakfast cereal flakes, we must jump forward to the 20th century. In 1906, Will Keith Kellogg, John’s brother, invented cornflakes, as we know them today. This innovative idea marked a before and after in food worldwide.

As has been known for years, cereals are one of the pillars of the mediterranean diet, providing a large amount of carbohydrates and proteins. In addition, it is recommended to consume whole grains because, as they maintain their outer coatings, they concentrate a large amount of fiber, numerous B group vitamins and minerals such as iron, selenium, potassium and magnesium.

How are cereals obtained and why do they need natural antioxidants?


The process of obtaining breakfast cereals in the food industry is the one represented in Figure 1. Next, we will see in detail the stages of preconditioning, extrusion and spray application of other components:

  • In preconditioning the ingredients are introduced into an equipment called preconditioner, which heats, homogenizes and humidifies the mixture to facilitate the subsequent extrusion stage.
  • Subsequently, the moistened mixture is introduced into an extruder. Extruders are industrial equipment that work at high pressures and temperatures, so the water contained in the cereal mixture will evaporate so quickly that it will cause the product to expand and gelatinize the starch. Thanks to this gelatinization of cereal starch, a product of adequate digestion and assimilation is obtained.
  • The resulting product is cooled, cut, baked and re-cooled. Once we reach the last stage, certain components that may have been degraded in the process, such as vitamins, antioxidants or minerals, are incorporated by applying a spray-sprayed solution.

Once the cereal box is opened and, consequently, when the product is exposed to the oxygen in the air, the shelf life of the product begins to decrease. To prevent the product from becoming rancid due to the oxidation process, the food industry usually incorporates synthetic antioxidants, such as BHA (Butylhydroxyanisole, E 320) and BHT (Butylhydroxytoluene, E 321).


It may interest you: The most commonly used methods for determining the shelf life of food


TOCOBIOL® to protect the shelf life of breakfast cereals

BTSA, the leading European manufacturer of natural antioxidants and natural vitamin E, offers innovative developments of 100% natural origin, such as TOCOBIOL®, a natural antioxidant made from the distillation of a single raw material: Non-GMO soybean oil.

The following laboratory test carried out by BTSA’s R&D department aims to demonstrate the greater antioxidant power of TOCOBIOL® over a commonly used blend of these two synthetic antioxidants. For this, the RapidOxy® device was used, which is based on the artificial acceleration of the oxidation process of the products. The test was carried out using the following samples:

  1. Granola (without antioxidant).
  2. Granola + BHA/BHT Blend.
  3. Granola + TOCOBIOL®.


As can be seen in Figure 2, TOCOBIOL® doubles the antioxidant capacity of the BHA/BHT blend in granola, proving to be a great natural alternative to extend the shelf-life of this kind of products.

Therefore, and to accompany the change in the trend of consumers towards a healthier diet, BTSA is at the forefront in the continuous development of antioxidant solutions of 100% natural origin to put aside the use of synthetic products for the protection of food products.