With consumers searching for health buzzwords like whole grain, fiber and antioxidants, a value-added whole grain could make some waves with shoppers. Suntava, Inc., Afton, MN, hopes this is the case for its exclusive purple corn containing anthocyanins. These anthocyanins are the same antioxidants that make blue corn blue, but purple corn contains more of them, resulting in a dark corn that almost appears black. “It’s the same nutrient that you’re finding in blueberries and acai, but now you’re finding it in a corn,” said Terry Howell, Suntava’s director of business development. 

In different forms, this corn can be used in baking and snack applications, delivering whole grain nutrition, antioxidants and a purple color to the finished product. “We’re a triple threat in that respect because the corn comes with whole grain, antioxidants and natural color,” he said. The purple corn has been used to make corn flakes and other cereals as well as crackers, bread, muffins and pasta.

Depending on the quantity and form of the purple corn in the formulation, the color delivered in the final product can be just a hint or overwhelming. “Someone made an artisan cracker where the formulation was probably more wheat-based, and when they added our purple corn, it showed up with these beautiful purple specks throughout the cracker,” Mr. Howell said. “Whereas another cracker came to us that was entirely purple.”

Mr. Howell doesn’t think the purple color will hinder consumer excitement though. With Mehmet Oz, MD, touting the benefits of purple food on his popular television show, Mr. Howell expects purple corn will fit right into the health-conscious consumer’s diet.

Suntava and Minsa Corp., Muleshoe, TX, recently announced a partnership to develop and market purple corn masa, extending this high-­antioxidant, whole grain opportunity to tortillas and corn chips.