Nutritionally superior non-GMO barley rolled out on European market

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Teijin Group is rolling out BARLEYmax to the European Bakery, Snacks & Cereals market. Pic: Teijin Group
Teijin Group is rolling out BARLEYmax to the European Bakery, Snacks & Cereals market. Pic: Teijin Group

Related tags Barley beta glucan Dietary fibre Resistant starch Csiro Teijin Group

The Food Ingredient business of Japanese conglomerate Teijin Group has introduced BARLEYmax onto the European market to enable producers capitalise on the growing demand for gut health, as well as overall health & wellbeing.

BARLEYmax wholegrain was developed by Australia’s leading scientific organisation – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIRO) – to address the four major chronic diseases of the developed and developing world.

According to CSIRO, obesity, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer are the leading causes of preventable death and a heavy burden on the global economy. For example, obesity alone cost Australian society over $8.6bn in 2011-12, while the cost of diabetes was $10.6bn in 2005.

In 1990, CSIRO scientists became interested in barley to help combat these health problems, particularly looking into the starch composition of a barley known as Himalaya 292.

A decade-long programme of traditional plant-breeding techniques – not genetically modified – resulted in the development of BARLEYmax, which contains twice the amount of dietary fibres (fructan, beta glucan and resistant starch) than normal barley.

A number of studies – including human trials – found that foods produced with BARLEYmax as the key ingredient had a low glycaemic index (GI) and also produced positive changes in a range of biomarkers of bowel health.

BARLEYmax also has higher nutritional values of vitamins and minerals like zinc (for immunity resistance) than ingredients like pearl barley, oats, wheat and rye.

Super barley

CSIRO has collaborated with various food manufacturers to develop products containing BARLEYmax, including breakfast cereals, muesli bars, food wraps, rice mixes and bread, sold in Japan, the US, Singapore and Malaysia.

Australian company Freedom Foods recently launched its Barley+ range​ of whole grain muesli and muesli bars with BARLEYmax as the key ingredient.

Last year, Teijin acquired the exclusive sales rights in Asia to BARLEYmax, developing products by leveraging the special characteristics of various ingredients, including granola, soba (buckwheat noodle), biscuits, snack bars, rice mixtures, a smoothie, bento (lunch box) and onigiri (rice ball).

The Tokyo-headquartered technology-driven global group recently expanded the distribution of BARLEYmax in grain, fine and coarse flour and flake form to the European Bakery, Snacks & Cereals market.

According to Teijin, BARLEYmax contains:

  • 3x the dietary fibre of oats
  • Up to 3x the resistant starch of other grains
  • 2x the antioxidant capacity of oats
  • 59% the glycaemic index of oats
  • 40%-70% more beta glucans than oats
  • 28% more protein than oats
  • 50% the sodium of oats

The three types of dietary fibre resist digestion in the small intestine and then ferment in the large intestine, where they support healthful ‘good’ bacteria. ß- glucans binds bile acids and reduces cholesterol absorption.

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