Functional starch meets Clean-Label requirements

Related tags Organic food

National Starch believes that enabling food companies to label
their products as containing no or minimal additives or ingredients
is set to be a highly lucrative practice in the future, write
Anthony Fletcher.

The firm's Novation range of functional native starches, which allows the development of natural or organic food products, is claimed to provide the textural ability of traditional modified food starches without the need for the "modified" label.

"We believe the market for functional native starches can become 10 to 20 percent of the total market for specialty starches within the next five years,"​ David Manion, National Starch PR manager told

"We've seen growth in our own business at about 20 percent per year, and this growth is aligned with the general trend toward "natural" and "organic" foods. As long as this trend continues, growth for functional native starches will continue."

Organic food sales for example totaled $10.4 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association and this year, retail sales of organic foods are expected to exceed $15 billion - with more than $32 billion projected by 2009.

Food manufacturers can visibly tap into this trend by producing what is known as 'Clean-Label' food. 'Clean-Label' is an informal term used to describe functional ingredients for processed foods that are closer in their nature to the food ingredients people cook with in their homes.

"Such ingredients, for example, are created without chemical modification and have fewer or no additives and preservatives. To meet 'Clean-Label' requirements in the United States, the starch can not be chemically modified."

Such non-chemically modified starches are labeled simply as starch on the food ingredients label, rather than as modified starch or starch-modified.

This is significant because functional foods are more appealing when terms that consumers already perceive to be good for them are used. Natural-sounding ingredients carry more clout than scientific-sounding ingredients that may not yet have entered consumer consciousness.

In addition, Manion claims that food makers do not have to sacrifice processing performance in order to tap the functional and organic market. The starches are derived from a variety of sources - corn and potato, for example - and are designed to deliver different texture profiles to meet the needs of the particular food product.

"These starches have a number of advantages,"​ said Manion. "As mentioned earlier, they are not chemically modified, so they meet clean label and non-additive requirements.

"In addition, Novation Prima starches have the additional advantage of good freeze-thaw stability, a non-pasty, bland flavor profile and provide excellent flavor release characteristics that allow the inherent flavors of a recipe to prevail."

There are also certified organic Novation​ starches, which Manion claims are well suited for all types of food processing, including high-temperature, high-shear and low-pH food systems. The starches are offered in powder form, with cold water-soluble and hot/cook-up versions. They can be used in quantities compatible with modified food starches.

Manion says that no special preparation of equipment is needed with any of the Novation starch products.

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