New flour ingredients could solve processing limitations

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags National starch Wheat Food Maize National starch food innovation

National Starch Food Innovation has introduced a range of natural,
grain-based ingredients, which it claims maintain the positive
attributes of traditional flours while expanding and improving the
ways they can be used in packaged food products.

Homecraft is the new name that has now been given to the line, which was first previewed at the IFT show in 2005 and which was yesterday introduced at the Research Chefs Association (RCA) annual conference in Houston, Texas.

The range includes three functional wheat flours, which the company said have been designed to address the functional shortcomings of native flours, such as the lack of freeze/thaw stability, sensitivity to processing and poor cold water thickening.

According to National Starch, the ingredients can help food manufacturers in the general trend towards providing healthier, more wholesome products, as they are "minimally processed,"​ and so have a "better, more balanced profile than typical function-providing additives."

The Homecraft products are also considered ingredients and not additives, said the company, something that could attract consumers through a 'flour' designation on product labels.

As specialty flours, the line claims to allow for a much wider range of processing and preparation options than ordinary flour, and would particularly benefit manufacturers of gourmet products.

According to Joe Lombardi, marketing manager of Wholesome Ingredients-North America, the ingredients "have been designed to address the processing and stability issues that often come with the use of flour in processed high-moisture foods like soups, sauces and gravies."

"Makers of gourmet and premium foods, frozen and refrigerated meals, refrigerated and frozen soups, home-style and premium sauces, baby foods, natural or organic soups, sauces and meals now have new options for improving process and end-product consistency in batch processing, while lowering the number of off-specification batches, reducing downtime and minimizing adjustments,"​ he said.

Homecraft Create 765 claims to be the first wheat flour to offer textural stability through as many as twelve freeze/thaw cycles, allowing for the desirable opacity, texture and flavor attributes of flour in a wide range of applications, such as gourmet, fresh, chilled soups, where the use of flour would typically limit distribution or shelf-life, or simply was not an acceptable ingredient due to its inherent textural instability.

Homecraft 730claims to have a "higher threshold of tolerance to viscosity breakdown"​ than traditional flour, meaning it can withstand intense food processing conditions. And Homecraft Express 760 is pregelatinized, allowing the use of flour in products designed for cold water or reconstitute and microwave applications, said the company.

Other ingredients presented by National Starch at the ongoing RCA conference included its Novation and Novation Prima line of functional native starches.

This year's RCA event, which runs through March 9 to 12 is bringing together over 1,000 food industry experts to explore the future of food and "the blending of culinary arts and the science of food."

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