- Warburtons, a UK-based baking brand, is teaming up with the Canadian International Grains Institute and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers to fund a three-year research project designed to facilitate the use of pulse flours within the food industry.
- Project goals include developing a database of the compositional, functional and flavor properties of pulses; measuring the effect of pre- and post-milling treatments; conducting dough quality testing; and suggesting pulse-based products to meet specific health and nutrition targets.
- Project principals say pulse flour can help create baked goods with higher protein and fiber content and a lower glycemic index, and also contribute to gluten-free product development.
Pulse ingredients are high in protein and fiber, present an impressive nutritional profile, are non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan-friendly — an almost ideal list to help create label-friendly products.
Pulse flour might not be ready for a starring role, but it could meet its greatest potential by boosting the nutritional profile of traditional baked goods. Right now, wheat comprises the primary flour in three-fourths of all US grain products according to the Wheat Foods Council. And global wheat production, estimated at 743 million metric tons (MMT), far outstrips pulse production, which might total 28 MMT.
Pulse flours show great promise for developing gluten-free pasta or crackers, said JoAnne Buth, chief executive officer for the Canadian International Grains Institute. Gluten-free products continue to show impressive growth with Transparency Market Research projecting that the market will reach $4.89 billion by 2021.
However, protein content and quality characteristics differ among pulse types, and according to Buth, also vary depending on growing region. The best chance for widespread adoption of pulse flour could depend upon researchers’ efforts to mitigate its flavor and taste profile.
Pulse flours and related ingredients are available in the U.S. through Ingredion, which inked an agreement two years ago to act as the exclusive distributor of pulse flours, protein and bran ingredients for AGT Food and Ingredients of Regina, Saskatchewan. Once researchers complete their three-year project, it might entice new players into the domestic pulse flour market.