ADM taps into low-carb market

Related tags Wheat protein Nutrition Us

The growing popularity of the low-carb diet among US and UK
consumers is squeezing supplies for speciality ingredients used by
food makers to target this new market and driving ingredients firms
to roll out alternatives. Looking to gain from the burgeoning
demand US firm Archer Daniels Midland this week launched the
Prolite line of wheat protein isolates.

Used to replace flour and wheat gluten, the product can be formulated in baked goods, pastas, thin crust pizzas, as well as weak flours and various processed food applications.

The $30 billion Illinois-based firm will compete with fellow US player MGP Ingredients that is currently the leading supplier of wheat protein isolates to food manufacturers targeting the low-carb market.

"Customer demand led us to develop the Prolite range and while it is suitable for the popular low-carbohydrate Atkins diet, the line is also reaching out to healthier food products in general,"​ Chris Banocy, trade relations manager at ADM explained to FoodNavigator.com.

Wheat protein isolates have attracted much attention in recent months for their functional and nutritional qualities in creating high-protein, low-carbohydrate products. The popularity of various high-protein, low-carb diets such as Atkins - currently with over 30 million followers in the US and a growing number in the UK - continues to build momentum, which many industry sources believe may not level off for possibly two to three years.

"But we're also thinking in the long term and once popularity of the low-carb diet dies down our Prolite product will still be competitive because of its use in health positioned food products,"​ added Banocy.

The Decatur company, that turned around the development for the wheat protein isolate range in a matter of nine months, will leverage the product next week in Las Vegas at the biggest baking show in the US, the International Baking Industry Exposition.

Produced in Keokuk, Iowa, ADM​ said the Prolite line is available globally. According to Banocy the range is competitively priced, but the product pricing is inevitably linked to supply and demand, and at the moment demand is high.

ADM is the world's third global food player, leap-frogging into the slot from number six position during the course of last year and pulling in sales of over $30 billion. With $61 billion in sales Swiss group Nestle still tops the table, followed by Kraft Foods with $31 billion in food sales in 2003.

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