Consumer interest in healthful foods and beverages continues, and one category with potential for fast-growth is foodstuffs fortified with fiber. Dietary fiber is essential in keeping the digestive tract healthy and also has been credited with a variety of other benefits, including weight management. Certain fibers also can contribute beneficial textural properties as well.

CFF Corp., Chestertown, Md., has developed a new type of fiber derived from the fiber-rich parts of bamboo plants. It consists of a more than 90% water insoluble fiber that cannot be broken down by the human body, so it bulks in the stomach, removes undesired metabolic by-products and shortens intestinal transit time. It not only adds negligible calories to a product, it also improves texture in products from baked goods, to snacks, to frozen desserts.

Baked Good Benefits

CFF bamboo fibers alter the structure of baked products, such as snacks and sweet goods, in such a way as to make them resistant to staling and more pliable and resistant to tearing and penetration.

Pie crusts, crackers, cookies, pastas, chips and other snack foods may also receive some of these same benefits. “The industry standard for pretzel breakage during the distribution process is 30%,” states Sara England, national business manager. She notes that one manufacturer reports the use of the ingredient reduced breakage to below 5%.

The volume of certain baked goods may also increase. The shrinkage that is common in cakes after cooling is reduced. Carrot cakes baked with the bamboo fiber increased volume up to 20% and are structurally stronger than those without it. The fiber also benefited cheesecake where it significantly reduces or prevents “blooming,” the migration of fat to the product's surface, says England. The fiber also can reduce the tendency of chocolate to bloom.

“Manufacturers who work with sticky dough products like it because its use results in a dough that is less likely to clog up machinery,” England adds.

Dry Mixes and Beverages

The bamboo fiber is useful in powdered mixes where anti-caking properties and extra fiber are needed. It binds three to five times its weight in water (in this application), helping to address moisture migration issues. The product can replace silicon dioxide in order to achieve an all-natural label. Spices and essences also “bind” to the fiber, which prolongs product shelf life.

The product is easily dispersed in water and has a high absorption capacity through physical binding of liquids. Although the fiber increases viscosity in beverages, it requires another agent to remain suspended.

Custom grades and blends also are available for special applications. The powder is less dusty than other fiber powders and is easy to store and handle.

For more information: Sara England at 410-810-0779 CFF Corp. • Write in 235