Answering demand for whole grain corn flour

by Laurie Gorton
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NEW ORLEANS — When cereal manufacturers challenged Didion Milling, Cambria, Wis., to give them a true whole grain flour made from corn, the company looked beyond standard methods to achieve the results desired.

“Didion had to change the way we handled the dry milling of corn in our plant,” explained Katie Dogs, the company’s public relations manager.

Success enabled the company to introduce HarvestGold whole grain corn flour at the 2014 Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition held in New Orleans, June 21-24. Attendees sampled whole grain Cajun beignets made with the new flour.

To qualify as a whole grain, all parts of the kernel — starch, protein, bran and germ — must be present. Conventional dry corn milling methods remove both bran and germ. When developing its customized process, Didion reviewed the enzyme activity of corn flour because the increased fat content of the germ may lead to rancidity. The company developed a proprietary process to deactivate these enzymes and, thus, achieve the shelf life its customers sought.

“HarvestGold whole grain corn flour fits a lot of trends,” Ms. Dogs said, with the most important being the changes now required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of foods for K-12 school meal. Grain-based foods served must meet minimum whole grain requirements. Cereals currently served in the program must carry at least 10 grams of whole grains per serving, with an ultimate goal of 16 grams per serving.

And it’s not only the school market that will benefit.

“Consumers now understand that starting their day with high-protein whole grains helps stave off hunger, improves the chance of making better food selections throughout the day and can ultimately lead to weight loss,” Ms. Dogs said. “Yet most Americans barely eat one serving of whole grains a day.”
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