- Veripan has debuted an all-purpose flour mix for gluten-free baking called Panafree, which the Swiss ingredients company said is completely natural and avoids common problems such as dry and crumbly textures, poor mouthfeel or off flavors, according to a release.
- Because of food allergies, celiac disease and general interest in health and wellness, demand for gluten-free products has more than doubled during the past five years, Food Ingredients First reported.
- Free-from claims are also increasing and bakery items are the leading market category for items with those claims. One in 10 bakery products features a free-from claim and gluten-free is now the No. 1 free-from claim in food and beverage launches, according to recent data from Innova Market Insights data cited by Food Ingredients First.
There have been problems formulating gluten-free flour without running into taste, texture and mouthfeel issues, so if this new product delivers as advertised, Veripan could find its new Panafree product in great demand. The company said the product — which is a mixture of water, baker's yeast and gluten-free flours and starches — resembles regular dough more than cake batter, which has been a goal of previous innovations.
Gluten is a protein contained in wheat that provides elasticity and volume to bread and other baked goods, so substituting other grains makes it hard to achieve those same qualities. But a number of companies have been busy developing gluten-free flours to use as substitutes and those could be competition for Panafree.
As the demand for gluten-free foods continues to increase, manufacturers are getting better at incorporating ingredients that add to a product's nutritional benefits, texture and flavor profile. Reports show that nuts, pulses such as chickpeas, and ancient grains such as buckwheat and quinoa are being added to more foods in an effort to remain gluten-free.
Earlier this year, Nutriati, Inc. and PLT Health Solutions developed Artesa Chickpea Flour. Partnering with Nutriati was Tate & Lyle Ventures, the VC arm of London-based global agribusiness firm Tate & Lyle. The chickpea flour was also designed to mimic the taste and functionality of wheat flour. Additionally, IAG's NuBana brand has debuted a green banana flour ingredient that could provide gut health benefits while also helping control blood sugar levels. It's made from milled bananas and contains about 65% resistant starch, an insoluble fiber that resists digestion in the small intestine and instead is fermented in the large intestine. It reportedly has a prebiotic effect by promoting beneficial bacteria growth in the gut and preventing growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
Due to the growth in food allergies, consumer interest in gut health and the number of people who avoid gluten-free foods even if they don't have celiac disease, substitutes for wheat, barley, rye and other gluten-containing flours will continue to appear in the market. And the market for such products is also expected to continue growing. According to Packaged Facts, U.S. sales of gluten-free products, estimated at $973 million in 2014, could exceed $2 billion by 2019. A perfect substitute may or may not be already found, but regardless, innovators will undoubtedly continue to look for more.