Fi: Gluten-free seems more than a fad. How much does its success rely on the food industry finally figuring out how to make gluten-free taste decent?
PO: There are a number of misconceptions associated with formulating gluten-free products. The largest misconception is that gluten-free products must lack the taste, texture and product quality of their wheat-containing counterparts. In reality there are a number of high-quality ingredients including specialty flours, starches and nutritional ingredients that help product developers formulate gluten-free products with consumer desired taste, texture and product quality.
Fi: Why has it been so difficult to create good-tasting gluten-free foods?
PO: Bakery manufacturers formulating for the gluten-free market need to maintain product texture and appearance closer to gluten-containing products. Lack of wheat protein in the formulation brings significant challenges to manufacturers. Gluten-free dough/batter lacks viscosity or elasticity of the wheat-containing dough leading to difficulties in processibility and machinability.
Gluten-free products typically have different taste, texture and appearance than wheat-containing products. Some of these texture challenges are reduced volume, lack of an even cell structure, dry, crumbly and grainy texture, poor crust color and development. The shelf-life of gluten-free products is shorter compared to gluten-containing ones due increased water mobility. The nutrition profile for gluten-free products can be significantly different from wheat-containing products due to lack of protein, nutrients and fiber. In addition, the use of high level of sugar and fat is a practice often used to mask the texture and flavor challenges.
Fi: What is the ingredient innovation that finally made a difference?
PO: Ingredion has many ingredients based on tapioca, corn, rice, and potato that have been successfully used in providing taste, texture and nutrition to gluten free products. Some products that have been especially developed for this market include specialty flours HOMECRAFT Create GF 10 and 20, and modified tapioca starch Expandex for the gluten-free market. HOMECRAFT Create GF Fours are clean-label functional products comprised of rice and tapioca flours created by proprietary technology that enables production of gluten-free products with a superior eating quality and taste compared to gluten-free alternatives.
Fi: What makes Ingredion’s ingredient solutions the go-to for food manufacturers?
PO: Consumers are increasingly interested in better-for-you alternatives that incorporate scientifically proven nutritional ingredients. There is an ever-present need for ingredient innovation to include new technologies and process improvements to positively affect product development and ultimately deliver better tasting, better-for-you food and beverage products to consumers.
Ingredion has the experience, expertise and resources to develop appealing consumer products. Our work has taken us into virtually every facet of formulation and production in almost every application. What’s more, we apply our marketing intelligence and consumer trend insights to develop innovative solutions that address emerging consumer demands.
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.