Besides allergens, peanuts present formulators with a major challenge: Recent smaller peanut crops coincide with higher demand, leading to 2011’s peanut shortage, the worst in the past five years. Although estimates show this year will be a recovery year for peanuts, US Department of Agriculture data show prices from last August until the present have mostly stayed above the 2010-11 crop year levels.

QualiTech Co., Chaska, MN, provides a solution to both problems with its Flav-R-Grain PBE, an all-natural, allergen-free and cost-effective replacement for peanuts. Made from 100% natural stabilized corn germ, the ingredient adds a nutty, whole grain flavor to products as well as dietary fiber.

“It can be a great product to help mask flavors,” said Rudy Roesken, general manager and corporate vice-president, food division. “Flav-R-Grain PBE can be used for breads, cookies, bars, cereals, baked goods and more, or it can be blended with peanut flour to extend usage and offer cost savings.”