'Free-from' foods in the top 10 trends

Free from foods are in food manufacturing's top 10 trends list for 2012 and, with an increase in the number of consumers citing food intolerances, food manufacturers are under more pressure than ever to deliver new products that are not only allergen free but also 'natural', healthy, tasty and convenient.

The biggest area of demand has been for gluten and wheat free products and it is predicted that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future, where the biggest headache for manufacturers will be matching the functionality of gluten with non-gluten substitutes.

However, Ulrick & Short Ltd's range of functional flours, texturisers and thickeners are naturally gluten and wheat free and have been designed with functionality as the primary role.

Their sophisticated physical make-up enables them to match the multifunctional characteristics of original gluten and wheat based ingredients, giving consumers the same eating experience as gluten products.

Derived from a variety of crops, including tapioca and maize, the company's extensive range of clean label starches are easy to incorporate into existing recipe formulations, making it simple for food producers to remove allergens without the need for often costly and drawn out reformulation projects.

One company already benefiting from Ulrick & Short's natural ingredients is award winning gluten free producer, The Foodamentalists, which has been trading with the leading clean label specialists or over two years.

The Foodamentalists managing director, Stevan Taylor, commented: "We have a long standing relationship with Ulrick & Short and have been using a selection of gluten free Synergie™ starches and Eziglaze™ glazes for a number of our different products. Most recently we have introduced the company's Scilia™ range of fibres, which is helping to expand the dietary properties of particular items such as bread.

"Ulrick & Short's products are extremely versatile and easy to integrate into various recipe formulations. In the past we struggled to achieve the right textures, where added sugar and fat were used to try and match the right organoleptic properties, which often compromised the finished product's nutritional profile. By using Ulrick & Short's gluten free flours, products have benefited from lighter, moist finishes and more gluten-based dough-like qualities.

"I would highly recommend Ulrick & Short to any food manufacturer looking to improve their products, diversify into new markets and to those wanting to clean up their labels. The team is extremely professional and is always on hand to help and give advice on new formulation methods."

Not just suitable for baked goods, but Ulrick & Short's ingredients are also particularly relevant for ready-made sauces and premixes, where many manufacturers use wheat based thickeners, the company's Synergie™ range of starches provide instant and cook up clean label, gluten free thickening solutions. Highly process tolerant, these starches deliver enhanced mouth-feel and are neutral in taste so do not mask existing flavours.

With so many demands being made by consumers for free from products, and in particular gluten free foods, it makes sense for manufacturers to remove as many allergens as possible in order to appeal to an even wider audience.  

Ulrick & Short is dedicated to providing its customers with a committed hands on service, ensuring that immediate technical back-up is available and knowledgeable food technologists are on hand to give expert advice as well as deliver new ideas on the use of its ingredients.

The company has an extensive range of innovative clean label, gluten-free ingredients, which include binders, thickeners, stabilisers, fat replacers and phosphate alternatives, allowing food processors to remove chemicals, additives and allergens without compromising quality, taste or texture.

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