Is a native starch best for your new product project? Or will a modified starch do a better job? In an exclusive Q&A, Patrick O’Brien, marketing manager, bakery, Ingredion, Westchester, IL, contrasts native and modified starches. He describes functionality and outlines recent innovations.

Baking & Snack: What food starches does Ingredion provide for bakery and snack use?

Patrick O’Brien: Ingredion offers a broad portfolio of starches for bakery applications to include texturizers, viscosifiers, resistant starches, gluten-free solutions and more. And we are at the top of our field in anticipating consumer needs and delivering ingredient solutions to our manufacturing partners.

And our global innovation center in Bridgewater, NJ, includes capabilities unmatched by other suppliers to include sensory analysis, consumer focus groups, pilot plant, Texture Robotics Experimenter (TREx), a Culinology center and more, all staffed by a team technical specialists and experts with a broad and deep knowledge, who understand the unique needs of specific markets, applications and customers.

Specifically for snack applications, Ingredion provides:

  • For expansion and crispiness, we have texturants like BAKA-SNAK and ULTRA-CRISP CS that contribute to better volume control and uniform cell structure, and reduce breakage in the final product.
  • For key properties like gelling, film forming, creating protective barriers and opacifying, we have HYLON VII native high-amylose corn starch and CRISP FILM modified high-amylose corn starches.
  • For finishing touches, Ingredion offers unique specialties, such as N-TACK binders, a specialty starch derived from waxy corn starch, that adhere nuts, fruits and seasonings to snacks, especially low-fat products.
  • When nutrition enhancement is called for, HI-MAIZE resistant starch and HI-MAIZE whole grain corn flour add important nutrients and health benefits.


How do native starches differ in applications in baked foods and snacks? What characteristics of specific native starches most benefit these food uses? Why?

A white paper on functional native starches is available at


What benefits do modified starches bring to bakery formulations? When should a formulator consider a modified starch over a native starch?

Modified starches can bring a number of benefits to bakery formulations including:

  • Viscosity control
  • Moisture management during baking
  • Structure: texture control, shape/size/volume optimization, cell structure control
  • Nutrition (nutrition by reduction)
  • Cost optimization
  • Filling optimization: viscosity, texture, appearance, bake stability, shelf stability
  • Texture: achieving unique texture or building back texture


Required functionality, benefits and process conditions should be required when choosing a modified or native starch.


What is the most important trend in use of starches by bakers? Why? How do you see the applications for starches changing in the next few years?

Modified and clean-label starches allow bakers to address mega market trends including increased ingredient and formulation costs, nutrition (by addition and reduction), gluten-free and unique textures. Starches help bakers address these trends in a cost efficient manner.

 True native starches (not referring to the functional clean-label starches in the market) have limited functional use in baked foods. The exception is when formulators need to provide additional desired set structure or help control volume. In snacks, native starches offer various features and functionalities depending on the base material. For example, high-amylose starch provides expansion and texture control, uniform surface characteristics, structural stability and increased crunchiness. Native waxy improves expansion potential and perhaps some improved extrusion throughput based on the overall formulation.