As food makers sharpen their product designs to target the growing consumer health appeal, Penford Food Ingredients inks an agreement with fellow US firm MGP Ingredients to manufacture and sell resistant potato starch in the United States.
Under terms of the sublicence, Penford has the right to make and sell resistant potato starch under a patent which is licensed to MGP Ingredients by the Kansas State University Research Foundation.
Driven by consumer demand for foods with health benefits, food formulators are increasingly looking at how resistant starch can be incorporated into recipes as a means to boost fiber content.
"Resistant starch displays many of the physiological benefits of dietary fiber in the large intestine," said Dr. Wally Kunerth, chief science officer for Penford Corporation.
Resistant starch is so-called because is 'resists' digestion. It is not digested but ferments in the large intestine, and has 'prebiotic' properties.
Penford, offering a resistant potato starch in their portfolio for the first time, claims the product, for use in applications that include snack products and pasta, can provide a source of dietary fiber "exceeding 80 per cent."
The percentage, however, may vary. "Different cooking and/or manufacturing processes can affect the total amount of dietary fiber (TDF) that remains. The beginning material exceeds 80 per cent TDF," a spokesperson at Penford confirmed to FoodNavigator-USA.com.
While the product, labeled as 'modified food starch' or 'modified potato starch', will be wholly produced in the US, "we can market the product outside the US," added the spokesperson.
The challenge to absorb resistant starch into applications is prevalent in the food industry. One recent Spanish study, for example, suggested that formulating bakery products with resistant starches could result in products with modified sensory properties.
"Although resistant starch producers claim that the sensory properties of bakery products are not modified when resistant starch is used, the results obtained in this study demonstrated that some differences did appear," wrote the researchers from the Instituto de Agroquimica y Tecnologia de Alimentos (CSIC) in Valencia.
Published online ahead of print 1 February 2008, doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2008.01.012 in LWT - Food Science and Technology (Elsevier), the authors, that used a commercial corn-sourced resistant starch, noted: "Moisture and sweetness perceptions changed, and grittiness appeared as a new feature."
"However, these characteristics did not affect the 'overall acceptability' of these products to consumers," they added.
In addition to the potential health appeal of resistant potato starch, food makers may find the potato element an attractive proposition; standing aside cereal-based ingredients, currently under pricing pressures due to galloping costs for the raw materials.
Although, inevitably, the potato prices will also remain under market pressure: in order to keep growers interested in producing potatoes, as opposed to opting for the lucrative cereal crops, the price for the crop must remain competitive.