- Arcadia Biosciences, Arista Cereal Technologies and Bay State Milling are partnering to move Arcadia's high-fiber, resistant-starch wheat more quickly into commercialization. The agreement resolves an intellectual property dispute between the three companies.
- Bay State Milling will be Arcadia's exclusive commercial partner in North America under its HealthSense brand, while Arista will have exclusive rights in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan and South Korea.
- Arcadia, headquartered in California, will market its high-fiber wheat within its GoodWheat portfolio of specialty wheat ingredients in other international markets. Arcadia said it will receive royalties for sales of its wheat varieties in North America by Bay State Milling, Baking Business reported.
The resolution of a patent infringement dispute removes a major legal obstacle for Arcadia's high-fiber, resistant-starch wheat.
Arcadia filed patent applications for its wheat between 2011 and 2018, but Arista and Bay State claimed those applications were based on research and methods disclosed in their own patent. The latter two companies sued Arcadia this spring alleging patent infringement for a genetically modified wheat variety, but those claims were voluntarily dismissed on Aug. 22.
Matthew Plavan, Arcadia's CFO, told Mendel's Pod that the company's GoodWheat products are not genetically modified as determined by most regulatory agencies. He said the technology used is called "tilling" — a process in which wheat is gene-edited but not genetically modified and is therefore unregulated by most countries.
Arcadia's new wheat varieties are designed to contain sufficient fiber to potentially add those claims on the packaging for products that contain it. The wheat is 94% amylose, a carbohydrate molecule that resists digestion. This resistant starch performs as a prebiotic and is digested slowly, feeding the so-called "good bacteria" in the gut. In contrast, regular wheat has about 25-30% amylose.
These new types of wheat are meant to respond to consumer demand for more natural, clean-label CPG foods offering the health benefits of dietary fiber and resistant starch. Fiber is being added to all types of foods, including Activia yogurt and Fiber One ice cream. It's even showing up in beverages as consumers look for healthier add-ons. Added fiber is no longer targeted just at older consumers looking for regularity. Younger shoppers are also purchasing products with the ingredient because of the health benefits associated with a high-fiber diet.
In addition to the fiber benefits, research has shown resistant starch may contribute to digestive health, protect against bowel cancer and help prevent type 2 diabetes. However, most consumers don't get the minimum daily 28 grams recommended. Average fiber consumption is about half that at 15 grams per day. If this new high-fiber wheat delivers on price and performance, it could add a health halo to a variety of products and bolster label claims.
The ingredient also could have a positive impact on overall health. Wheat is still the staple grain in the U.S., contributing about a quarter of the calories in an average person's diet. According to the United Nations, bread wheat accounts for about 20% of the calories that people consume globally. Improvements to the nutritional profile of grains such as Arcadia's could improve individual health, which would likely appeal to consumers and food makers around the world.