The leading attributes consumers of gluten-free foods seek are taste, value, nutrition, finding products easily and texture, according to the Natural Marketing Institute, Harleysville, Pa. The food industry, however, is falling short in all five categories, said Maryellen Molyneaux, managing partner for the N.M.I., during a June 4 webinar.
She said ancient grains and new flavors may serve as tools to improve the attributes and make gluten-free products more enticing. Ingredient suppliers already are promoting such strategies.
Bunge North America, St. Louis, now has gluten-free meals and grits made from the ancient grains of millet, sorghum and quinoa. Ardent Mills, Denver, promotes ancient grains in foods as a way to reach “enlightened eaters,” a trend driven by high-income, highly educated consumers who value local, ethical and pure foods, according to the company. Bay State Milling, Quincy, Mass., offers such gluten-free ancient grains as amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum and buckwheat.
For flavors, Wixon, Inc., St. Francis, Wis., supplies gluten-free seasonings and mixes. They include a chocolate brownie mix with cinnamon and coffee; a honey butter corn bread mix; a pizza crust mix with thyme, rosemary, basil, onion and garlic; and a vanilla muffin mix enhanced with cinnamon.
Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc., San Francisco, features a gluten-free tamari-style soy sauce made from rice instead of wheat. The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America certifies the item.
Rice and corn are two other ingredients that may improve the quality of gluten-free items. Bunge offers Homai rice panko that may assist in creating gluten-free bread crumbs for such items as poultry, seafood, vegetables or other fried items.
Didion Milling, Cambria, Wis., introduced pierogi concepts with the company’s HarvestGold whole grain corn flour, corn bran and pre-gelatinized corn flour during the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition July 11-14 in Chicago. Pierogi is a Chicago Polish dumpling, according to the company.
“The challenge was creating a great-tasting yet 100% gluten-free hand-held snack,” said Todd Giesfeldt, R.&D. senior manager for Didion Milling. “Whole grain corn flour is a better option than many of the starch ingredients typically found in a gluten-free product. It adds the bulk of other starches but also incorporates a pleasing flavor.”
Corn-based ingredients from Grain Processing Corp., Muscatine, Iowa, may give gluten-free baked foods the structure and texture they need. Such ingredients as Pure-Dent B700 corn starch, Inscosity B656 instant modified food starch and Instant Pure-Cote B792 modified food starch may offer such benefits as mouthfeel, moisture retention and shelf life extension. TrueBran corn bran is 85% total dietary fiber.
Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., at the I.F.T. event exhibited how tapioca starch, potato starch, gums and pulses may improve gluten-free product quality. In a gluten-free mini bagel, for example, Novation 3600 tapioca starch provided a chewy texture and extended shelf life, Penpure 10 potato starch provided crumb structure and extended shelf life, Penpure 55 tapioca starch optimized dough viscosity for machinability, Vitessence Pulse 3600 faba bean protein strengthened dough structure and was a source of plant-based protein, and Coyote Brand xanthan gum 80 Mesh SR-2 optimized dough handling and increased shelf life.