Director of research and development at Penford Food Ingredients Bryan Scherer told FoodNavigator-USA that the ingredient has particular potential for adding nutritional value to gluten-free applications, which may sometimes be nutritionally inferior to their gluten-containing counterparts.
He said that the company’s initial objective for gluten-free applications was to look at products from a sensory standpoint, in terms of texture and mouthfeel.
“Then we took it to phase two, nutritional enhancement for gluten free,” he said.
However, Scherer said that the new ingredient’s potential for enhancing products’ nutritional content was not restricted to gluten-free products, and said it was also well-suited for fiber enrichment of gluten-containing breads and cereals.
The ingredient, called PenFibe RS, contains about 85% dietary fiber on a dry solids basis and has a bland flavor and color, allowing it to work well in many different applications.
Apart from adding fiber, Scherer said it could also cut calories in a finished product and would be suitable for products for diabetics.
“We found that it has a zero glycemic response, so we are looking at it for diabetic type products,” he said.
The ingredient has only 0.7 calories per gram, as opposed to about 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates, and about 9 calories per gram for fat.
But the main attraction for manufacturers would be adding fiber, which could allow them to make fiber-related claims, he said. If a company is looking to make a ‘good source of fiber’ claim, a product needs to contain at least 2.5g of dietary fiber per serving, while to make an ‘excellent source of fiber’ claim a product must contain at least 5g of fiber per serving.
“We have found – and local bakeries have told us – that our product is very easy to substitute in without having to reformulate,” said Scherer.
Penford’s president John Randall added that the company was on track with building an innovative line of products for the health and wellness market – and this new ingredient worked well alongside the company’s existing product portfolio.
“PenFibe RS is a synergistic companion product to our gluten-free lineup. It has so many healthy attributes that are market-right. It’s non-allergenic, provides fiber and is non-GMO,” he said.
Scherer added that there are several other potential applications in the pipeline for PenFibe RS, including as a dietary supplement, prebiotic ingredient, or beyond human nutrition, in pet foods.
The ingredient would be labeled as ‘modified food starch’ on ingredient lists.