Nutritionally Enhanced Gluten-free

On a global scale, the gluten-free market is estimated to grow to more than $1.2 billion during the next five years, according to Datamonitor. The global market is already at $3.1 billion, and the National Restaurant Association named “gluten-free” as one of the top 10 culinary trends for 2011. With 15 million gluten-intolerant consumers worldwide, this means formulating for this vast and growing segment is more than just “trendy”—to ignore it would be to ignore the realities of the market.

In her Prepared Foods’ R&D Applications Seminar-Chicago titled “Nutritionally Enhanced Gluten-free,” Jennifer Williams, senior application scientist at Penford Food Ingredients, discussed the market need for gluten-free products, as well as what she termed “generation one” products and an overview of nutritionally enhanced gluten-free items.

Gluten is a composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin. These proteins, along with starch, are found in the endosperm of cereal grains, such as wheat, rye and barley. The primary market segments that contain gluten are baked goods, pasta and snacks.

The market needs of a “generation one” gluten-replacement strategy include: no trace of gluten in the formulation—less than 20ppm; a texture/quality equal to or better than gluten-containing products; non-allergenic (no soy, wheat, corn, etc.); and the same product availability as those products that contain gluten.

Williams went on to discuss the market needs of “generation two” products, or that of “gluten-free nutrition.” These include the following product attributes: nutritionally balanced; non-allergenic; minimal reformulation efforts; no gluten; good taste; no off-flavors; long shelflife; and functionality.

The solution to the above conditions, according to Williams, is to “use varying fortification and enrichment techniques.” (Some of the gluten-free flours and whole grains Williams discussed and their attributes can be seen in the chart “Gluten-free Flours and Whole Grains.”)

She also discussed the fiber benefits of rice bran (protein and fiber); sugar cane; inulin (chicory, agave or Jerusalem artichoke-based); bamboo; psyllium; flax (protein, fiber calcium, omega-3, vitamins/minerals); and resistant starch (tapioca and potato-based).

Resistant starches contain dietary fiber, resist digestion and pass through the large intestine. They also have low-caloric contribution; are derived from various botanical sources; and can be used in baked goods, snacks, pastas, nutrition bars, smoothies, yogurt, sauces and much more. They are suitable for vegetarian/vegan foods, and some provide prebiotic effects.

The numerous health benefits of resistant starches, said Williams, include fiber fortification, caloric reduction, digestive health and glycemic health. Their functionality benefits are numerous, as well. They consist of a low water-binding capacity; high process stability; an improved texture (i.e., crispiness, crunch); a bland taste and smooth mouthfeel; and increased bowl life.

“Structure-function claims are dependent on effective dose, proven by clinical research,” Williams said. However, packaging claims for resistant starches include nutrient-content claims of “good or high source of fiber,” “contains fiber,” “reduced calorie” and “reduced sugar.” She also noted that potato- and tapioca-based resistant starches are favored in the gluten-free consumer community, as they are non-allergenic.

In an analysis of sugar cane fiber, Williams described it as having a bland taste and containing dietary fiber. Moreover, it improves texture, reduces calories and is non-allergenic.

Faba bean protein is an excellent source of protein, is non-GMO and non-allergenic.  Williams also cited its ease of use.

Lastly, the functional and health benefits of chia seed were discussed. Functionally, chia seed has high process stability; improves texture; has a bland taste and smooth mouthfeel; and its water-holding capacity ensures a moist texture and improved shelflife in the finished product.

Health benefits of chia seed include fiber fortification; a protein source; and it is a boon to both heart and digestive health.


Nutritionally Enhanced Gluten-free,” Jennifer Williams, senior application scientist, Penford Food Ingredients, 303-643-1699,,

—Summary by Barbara T. Nessinger, Senior Editor


Healthy Liver and Weight Management Ingredients

Obesity poses a major risk for chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes; cardiovascular disease; hypertension and stroke; and certain forms of cancer. Other health problems associated with obesity include respiratory difficulties and chronic musculoskeletal, skin and infertility problems.

Rodger Jonas, national business development manager for PL Thomas, explained in his presentation entitled “Healthy Liver and Weight Management,” that key causes of obesity are increased consumption of energy-dense foods and reduced physical activity.

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) occurs when fat is not utilized properly and accumulates inside liver cells. An imbalance in the liver’s ability to regulate fat production, distribution and utilization is linked to the gradual accumulation of fat in the body. Excess liver fat is linked to excess body fat. When the liver sheds fat, liver function and fat metabolism improve. Improved metabolic function results in reduced body fat.

“Certain combinations of natural ingredients can impact the liver in a positive manner,” explained Jonas. Active compounds in a combination of brown seaweed and pomegranate seed oil have been shown in studies to reduce liver fat and, subsequently, body fat beginning at six weeks in obese individuals. In those with NAFLD, the first time-point showing significant weight loss was at eight weeks. The active compounds in brown seaweed are the pigments fucoxanthin, violoxanthin, newxanthin and chlorophyll.

Pomegranate seed oil is rich in punicic acid, ellagic acid, other fatty acids and sterols. Punicic acid is a linolenic acid and constitutes 80% of the pomegranate seed extract in this specialty nutritional ingredient.

Pomegranate seeds are edible and often are consumed along with the flesh. In Indian, Persian and Pakistani cuisine, for example, the seeds are used extensively.

Jonas stated that brown seaweed has been historically popular; it is used in soup, salad and snacks. Wakame and kombu (specific kelp/seaweed strains used in this combination) were originally obtained from wild crops, but today they are cultivated by large-scale methods in Asia.

A human study performed with this unique combination showed it to be well-tolerated with no safety concerns. Effective at reducing body weight and liver fat at a dose of 600mg per day, participants lost approximately 5kg more than the placebo groups by the end of the study. Body weight reduction was preceded approximately one week prior by a significant reduction in liver fat. Weight reduction correlated with body fat loss and waist circumference reduction. Laboratory parameters (liver enzymes and triglyceride levels) and blood pressure also significantly improved compared to baseline in this study.

Other ingredients offered by PL Thomas that can be effective for weight loss include saffron extract, which was shown to significantly decrease cravings for sugary snacking, while it promotes mood enhancement and liver health.

PL Thomas provides a full line of ingredients that enable consumers to improve health while also controlling satiety. The future focus is for ingredients that promote better health and have greater approval by consumers.


Healthy Liver and Weight Management,” Rodger Jonas, business development manager, 973-984-0900,,

—Summary by Elizabeth Pelofske, Contributing Editor


Formulating a Naturally Healthy Future through Fruit

Key macro global trends for 2012 include the mainstreaming demand for “natural” and “health and wellness.” Consumers want to feel the benefit through price and healthfulness. In addition, other consumer food and beverage desires include sustainability, convenience, flavor and quality.

In a Prepared Foods’ R&D presentation entitled “Formulating a Naturally Healthy Future through Fruit,” Jeannie Curry-Swedberg, director of business development for Tree Top, explored key customer trends; identified future functional ingredient opportunities; and helped provide a better understanding of functional ingredients.

Wellness is inescapable, and it is broader than physical health and nutrition. Spiritual, mental and emotional health are very much a part of the formula, as well. More wellness is being seen in platforms, categories and brands that one might not usually consider. Wellness has a place for everyone, and the leading nutrition benefits in demand include digestive health, immune support, heart health, weight control, beauty-from-within, energy/sport nutrition and brain health. Fruit ingredients provide benefits to all of these categories, through antioxidants and other components.

Swedberg explained that consumers associate antioxidants with heart health, immune health, cancer prevention, brain health and beauty-from-within. Although shoppers may not be able to interpret the scientific credence of antioxidants, they do believe they work; are generally safe; and that they can be part of a healthier diet. Some 72% of Americans claim to be aware of the diet relationship between antioxidants for protection against free-radical damage implicated in aging and various chronic diseases, according to IFIC, 2007.

Superfruits offer an emerging opportunity in new product development, as 38% of consumers would like to increase superfruits in their diets, averred Swedberg. Fruits currently being used to improve health include blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries and pomegranates. Swedberg opines that “natural” is mainstreaming and now appears at all price-points, making it available to everyone. Retailers and manufacturers are setting the standard, as there are no government regulations for “natural.”

Therefore, watch for natural formulations to take a softer approach, with perhaps a stronger focus on clean labels, minimal packaging and authenticity.

Consumers now are seeing two broad categories of natural—different, yet entirely complementary. Natural can mean fewer and simpler ingredients—foods that are “free-from” artificial colors, preservatives, additives or other ingredients to which target consumers might object. Natural also means “naturally functional.”

Rule number one in the current market is the message that a food or ingredient has a natural and intrinsic health benefit, according to Swedberg. This is one of the most persuasive messages a consumer can hear. Fruits and vegetables offer a wealth of opportunities in the natural category, given their naturally healthy image.

Unique applications for fruit ingredients include quinoa granola bars with sustained energy and heart health; a fruit-based vinaigrette or marinade for stress relief; or a custom snack mix with a variety of Tree Top fruit ingredients combined with nuts, pretzels and Chex mix.

Functional fruit ingredients include low-moisture fruit flake powders made with 100% fruit and that function to control water activity; serve as a gum or starch; and still provide a clean-label advantage. Low-moisture apple powder is 100% natural, contains 72% dietary fiber, is label-friendly, promotes a feeling of satiety and decreases blood cholesterol. Tree Top also offers other fruit pureés, concentrates and blends for use in a wide variety of applications. 


Formulating a Naturally Healthy Future through Fruit,” Jeannie Curry-Swedberg, director business development, Tree Top Inc., 509-698-1435,, 

—Summary by Elizabeth Pelofske, Contributing Editor


Cassava Flour in Baking

Formulating gluten-free products, such as bread, can present challenges for food manufacturers endeavouring to mimic the gluten matrix. In a presentation given at a Prepared Foods’ R&D Seminar, Carter Foss, technical sales director at American Key Food Products (AKFP), described Premium Cassava Flour as an ingredient designed for gluten-free baking under a patent-pending technology.

Up to the 1970s, Thailand’s cassava processors manufactured only cassava flour and exported this as tapioca flour to the U.S.  Subsequently, Thailand adopted starch technology and shifted production exclusively to tapioca starch. U.S. customers used the tapioca product for applications more suited to starch, leading to Thai vendors to coin the products as “tapioca flour” and “tapioca starch.” The perception today is that both product names refer to the same ingredient.  Traditional tapioca starch is flour without the fiber, while tapioca flour is the starch with the fiber. Starch production from cassava roots utilizes only the “milk” from the root for processing, while flour production utilizes the whole, peeled root.

Premium Cassava Flour differs from indigenous cassava flours and starch, as the drying technique results in a specific range of desired starch gelatinization levels and a yield of 7% dietary fiber content. Similar to other cassava flours and tapioca starch, it retains more than 80% cassava-derived (tapioca) starch in the flour.

According to Foss, the amount derived from, and the quality of, starch from cassava contributes to its functionality in gluten-free applications. This is due to partial gelatinization of starch, which allows for improved water-absorption, resulting in products that are moister and that have better shelflife and texture. Premium Cassava Flour provides structure and lightness in cakes and bread-type products; maintains moistness; and can retard staling.

Premium Cassava Flour increases shelflife vs. other gluten-free flours or alternatives. The flour yields cakes with good flavor and moist, tender crumb; desirable crumb structure; and good shelflife. Sponge cakes can be made with excellent freeze/thaw capability.  In pancakes and waffles, cassava flour provides a light, tender product with a visual appeal similar to that of a wheat-based product. Premium Cassava Flour helps in maintaining the structure for cookies, in that it prevents crumbling and retards staling. It also contributes a mild, nutty flavor.

P r e m i u m Cassava Flour provides a number of functional characteristics in breads. It reduces staling and drying, and contributes brown crusting with flexible and medium texture. Breads are not crumbly; have good chewing characteristics; excellent flavor; and excellent inclusion suspension.

Foss explained that some customers have been able to eliminate eggs from the formula, thereby simplifying the handling and reducing the potential for an allergen problem. Successful formulators have blended cassava with other, weaker flours, such as potato, to yield a lighter, more pliable texture.

Several combinations of ingredients often are used in gluten-free baking, including flours (almond, amaranth, quinoa, sorghum, tapioca and white rice); starches (arrowroot, cornstarch, potato, rice and tapioca); hydrocolloids (guar, methylcellulose and xanthan); protein; and eggs.

Premium Cassava Flour has a number of advantages when used in gluten-free formulations, including synergy with mainstream ingredients, such as rice and potato, which can reduce the number of ingredients sourced and warehoused. A simplified ingredient statement is another plus for the flour.

Other applications for cassava flour include use as a thickener in soups. Its flavor profile makes it easy to replace wheat flour in gravies. The flour also makes a great coating for chicken or fish. It can be used to add “puff” in extruded products. With excellent expansion properties, cassava flour can partially or totally replace potato flakes in snack applications. The ingredient offers cost savings vs. flakes, depending on market conditions. And, with low reducing sugars, the use of Premium Cassava Flour results in lower acrylamide production.

 Premium Cassava Flour is kosher-certified, non-GMO, non-allergenic, gluten-free and a natural, clean-label ingredient.

Premium Cassava Flour: Rediscovering Common Ingredients to Replace the Quintessential Baking Ingredient,” Carter Foss, technical sales director, American Key Food Products (AKFP), 201-767-8022, cfoss@akfp,,

—Summary by Kelley Fitzpatrick, Contributing Editor


Formulating Whole-grain Foods for Health

Consumers are witnessing an increasing number of new products with claims such as “made with whole grains,” “100% whole grain” and “multigrain,” and the whole-grain stamp has become popular, stated Vanessa Klimczak, product applications technologist for Bay State Milling Company. In her seminar presentation titled “Formulating Whole-grain Foods for Health,” Klimczak described such factors as health correlations and claims; functionality; texture; flavor; and visual appeal that can impact the choice of grain for use in a product. 

Grain-based products that are common to manufacturers include breads, rolls, pizza, tortillas, muffins, pancakes and breakfast cereal. However, applications that are not as obvious for whole-grain use are gluten-free nutrition bars, batters and breads, and sweet goods positioned for healthy indulgence. Gluten-free grains include amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, teff, rice, corn, millet and sorghum.

Functionality is key, and flavor targets have traditionally favored refined white flour. However, manufacturers are increasingly interested in utilizing the natural flavors and textures of whole grains to complement and enhance the finished product, explained Klimczak. As an added bonus, whole grains offer a wealth of nutritional benefits, including soluble and insoluble fiber mainly found in the bran layer, plus protein, vitamins and minerals.

Cancer and heart disease risk-reduction claims are related to the fiber naturally found in whole grains. Ongoing research also has linked the beta-glucans found in barley and oat to cholesterol-reduction. Beta-glucans are naturally present polysaccharides located in the bran layer and endosperm of grains. These bioactives are both soluble and insoluble in nature. Combinations of wheat, barley and oats can be used to achieve a target of 0.75g beta-glucan/serving (typical).

Whole grains contain various amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, which can be used for nutrient-content claims based on percent of daily value recommendations.

Substituting a 100% whole-grain formula in white bread can increase fiber levels from typically < 1g to 3g per serving. As one example of the benefits of such modification, Klimczak noted that preliminary research suggests rye fiber may increase satiety to a greater extent than other fibers.

Klimczak offered solutions to disruptions to gluten networks resulting in low volumes or changes in texture when using whole grains. Options to solve such challenges include specialized flour granulations, vital wheat gluten, enzymes, functional ingredients (such as wheat protein isolate, hydrocolloids, emulsifiers, etc.) and process adjustments (mix time, absorption).

Bitterness, grainy notes, nutty and brown/toasted notes can occur when using whole grains. These can be overcome using grain combinations, as well as the natural flavors of various grains for masking. For example, spelt offers sweetness and mild notes; caramelized sugar notes are characteristic of triticale; and amaranth and teff can provide a nutty taste.

There are many opportunities for new product development using whole grains. Product developers can take advantage of an array of naturally present nutritional compounds in whole grains, rather than fortifying with individual fibers, vitamins, minerals or proteins. Whole-grain foods can be created with similar flavor and functionality as foods made with refined white flour, as well as innovative products highlighting unique nutrition, flavor or texture. Klimczak emphasized that specialized grain granulations, functional ingredients and processing changes can offer solutions to many formulation challenges.


Formulating Whole-grain Foods for Health,” Vanessa Klimczak, product applications technologist, Bay State Milling, 617-328-4400,,

—Summary by Kelley Fitzpatrick, Contributing Editor


Confectionery Coatings in BFY Products

Consumers are looking for products that are indulgent but healthy.

“Natural flavors, naturally derived colors and other ingredients, sustainability, convenience, energy and satiety are important to consumers,” explained Russell Tietz, R&D manager at Clasen Quality Coatings, in a presentation entitled “Incorporating Confectionery Coatings into Better-for-you Products.”

New product launches now have blurred the lines between candy bars and cereal bars. Indulgent baked goods with added fiber and protein, and reduced-sugar products are also frequent offerings.

“Confectionery coatings are a great vector to deliver both indulgence and nutrition. Their flavor and mouthfeel can take a consumer to a chocolate, sweet treat,” Tietz added. Coatings provide indulgence to baked goods, cereal bars and ice cream. They help hide formulation changes and can act as a vector for nutritional positives, including fiber, protein and other ingredients.

A confectionery coating is an oil-based product with similar characteristics to chocolate, but may be flavored, colored or nutritionally enhanced. Fats typically used in confectionery coatings include palm kernel oil, palm oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, soybean oil, peanut oil or anhydrous milkfat.

The gold standard for the melting profile is cocoa butter. The oil type used is chosen by application and labeling concerns. For example, lauric fat has a hard snap, while non-lauric fat is slightly softer, more flexible for coating. Fractionated fats provide function with clean-labeling options. Hydrogenated oils (partially or fully) increase saturates for harder texture, and interesterified fats can be blended for compatibility with specific applications that do not allow partially hydrogenated oils.

“Melt-point is a key characteristic that has a wide range, depending on fatty acid composition and triglycerides present. Melt-point and final texture of coatings are affected by incompatible fats and other minor ingredients, such as dairy powders, peanut flour and cocoa powders, and their fat content,” Tietz advised.

Sweeteners in coatings range from sugar, evaporated cane juice, sugar alcohols, and natural and artificial high-intensity sweeteners. Considerations for using sugar alcohols include their cooling effects, processing impact, calorie reduction, their non-cariogenic properties, degree of sweetness and possible laxative effects in higher quantities.

“High-intensity sweeteners and sugar alcohols involve some restrictions on manufacturing,” offered Tietz. “Sugar alcohols can be difficult to refine and process, and when you remove sugar, you still need to add a suitable bulking agent.” Some high-intensity sweeteners carry bitter or other off-flavor notes and aftertaste.

Tietz also presented a number of pros and cons. Fiber additives, like polydextrose, inulin, corn dextrin and oat fiber, can be added to coatings for nutrition and bulking in reduced-sugar coatings. Fiber absorbs oil like water, so manufacturing challenges occur with higher viscosity, refining, mixing and pumping.

Proteins also can be added in the form of dairy, soy, peanut or wheat proteins. Allergens can be an issue, along with challenges in refining, mixing and pumping high-protein formulas. Organoleptic hurdles can also occur. Emulsifiers, like lecithin and PGPR, increase stability and reduce viscosity.

When it comes to artificial flavors and colors, there is a wide variety. However, natural colors in coatings can have limited color intensity and stability. Natural colors can be heat- and light-sensitive. They are often water-soluble, which can be challenging in a fat-based system. In addition to incorporating protein and fiber, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics also are possibilities.


Incorporating Confectionery Coatings into Better-for-you Products,” Russell Tietz, research and development manager, Clasen Quality Coatings Inc., 608-234-4074,, 

—Summary by Elizabeth Pelofske, Contributing Editor