PHOENIX, Jan 24, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- NutraCea (NTRZ) , a world leader in stabilized rice bran (SRB), nutrient research and technology, announced today that it has filed for provisional patent protection with the U.S. Patent and Trade Mark Office on its technology to stabilize wheat bran. This process for wheat bran stabilization was developed by NutraCea and is a modification and extension of its existing technology for the stabilization of rice bran. The provisional patent is also applicable to other cereal brans and oilseeds.
The Company believes that the stabilization of wheat bran presents an opportunity for long term growth and is a logical extension of NutraCea's expanding stabilized rice bran business. Currently, 30 million tons of wheat is milled in the United States, creating 7.5 million tons of bran as a by-product. Wheat bran, like many cereal brans, has a relatively short shelf life. Because of this, wheat bran has limited usefulness as a human food. NutraCea's newly filed provisional patent for wheat bran extends the shelf life while maintaining the nutritional value making it a commercially viable ingredient for any wheat-based food product.
Leo Gingras, Chief Operating Officer of NutraCea, commented, "Wheat bran is typically used as animal feed at a price of approximately $130 per ton, while wheat flour in today's market is approaching $600 per ton for standard baking flour and as much as $1,000 per ton for higher value semolina flour. We believe that stabilized wheat bran, using our proprietary process, will offer flavor, shelf life and nutritional characteristics that will be functionally and economically attractive for blending with wheat flour. This enhanced, blended wheat flour could be used in many products where wheat is the major ingredient such as bread, crackers, cereals, pancakes and pastas."
"In addition, there is a significant opportunity that exists beyond the U.S. with approximately 500 million tons of wheat milled world wide on an annual basis at a time when wheat supplies are declining and prices are climbing to higher levels," added Gingras.
"The global potential positive economic impact to the wheat industry could be very significant. For example, every one percent of wheat bran that is blended back into wheat flour adds over $2 billion in annual incremental revenue to the industry worldwide," Gingras said.
NutraCea is a leader in stabilized rice bran nutrient research and dietary supplement development. Through its wholly owned subsidiary RiceX, the company manufacturers as well as distributes products and food ingredients made from Rice Bran through its proprietary technology and processes. The Company has developed intellectual properties to create a range of proprietary product formulations, delivery systems and whole food nutrition products. NutraCea's proprietary technology enables the creation of food and nutrition products from rice bran, normally a wasted by-product of standard rice processing. In addition to its whole foods products, NutraCea develops families of health- promoting "nutraceuticals," including natural arthritic relief and cholesterol-lowering products. More information can be found in the company's filings with the SEC and you can visit the NutraCea web site http://www.NutraCea.com
Forward Looking Statements
This release contains forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements regarding the future commercialization of stabilized wheat bran, the market demand for the material to be produced and the proprietary protections that the Company will obtain with regard to the technology, all of which statements are subject to market risks, and the possibility that to the Company will not be able to obtain patent protection or obtain sufficient customer demand. These statements are made based upon current expectations and actual results may differ from those projected due to a number of risks and uncertainties. The Company does not undertake to update forward-looking statements in this news release to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such forward- looking information. Assumptions and other information that could cause results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking information can be found in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's most recent periodic report.