- Ardent Mills announced last week that it would partner with Armour Specialty Marketing to introduce Ultragrain Pasta to food manufacturing and foodservice channels as the product's dedicated manufacturer and seller, according to a news release.
- The specialty pasta contains Ardent Mills' Ultragrain whole wheat flour and semolina, which gives the end product the taste, texture and appearance of white flour.
- The companies are positioning Ultragrain Pasta as a way for manufacturers and foodservice customers to offer the health benefits of whole wheat pasta while avoiding the drawbacks that have made the pasta less appealing to consumers. Some of these problems include pasta being soft, bitter, gritty and having visible specks.
With the rise of low-carb diets, and the avoidance of simple, refined carbohydrates found in white flour, traditional pasta sales have dropped in recent years. Manufacturers have increasingly used whole wheat flour instead to offer more health benefits, but this comes with drawbacks in appearance, taste and texture.
Since the gluten-free product market has continued to grow over the past several years, some health-conscious consumers have tried these pasta options. However, a 2013 study with a "health star rating" of 0 (worst) to 5 (best), rated gluten-free pasta nearly a half-star less than traditional pasta, Food Business News reported. That finding echoes concerns some health experts have about gluten-free products, which include them being high in sugar and low in protein.
Ardent Mills' is pushing its Ultragrain Pasta product as a way for consumers to enjoy pasta as they once did while also gaining the health benefits of whole wheat. Ardent Mills' processing methods also keep the nutrition of the wheat kernel intact, which could attract health-conscious consumers who have switched to ancient and sprouted grains, which undergo similar processing.