Made by milling starchy, unripe bananas into a fine powder, green banana flour is that is low in sugar, high in resistant starch and neutral in taste.
Ideal for replacing wheat flour in gluten-free applications, it can also be used to add viscosity to soups and sauces replacing hydrocolloids such as xanthan gum.
Mintel believes it's going to be big in 2018 as it taps into the established trend for gluten-free as well as the emerging interest in high-fibre products that are food for digestive health.
Unsurprisingly, finished product using the green banana flour are common in Brazil in a range of products from ice cream – Whaka makes a strawberry, chia and fennel sorbet with green banana biomass for healthy gut flora – to muffins. Brazilian shoppers can also buy the fresh pulp to add to home-cooking.
On the supplier side, US-based International Agricultural Group’s NuBana flour is available in industrial batches.
However, Mintel believes it will gain traction in Europe thanks to the growing interest in digestive health. Nearly one third (30%) of UK consumers quizzed by the research group say they are trying to avoid refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white bread while 31% of Polish consumers are interested in buying baked goods made with gluten-free flour such as almond or coconut.
Mintel data shows that the number of products making a gluten-free claim in Europe has doubled since 2013, rising from 6% of new baker products to 12%.