Speciality wheat ingredients spark growth

Related tags Nutrition Carbohydrate Low-carbohydrate diet

US starch supplier MGP Ingredients witnesses the benefits of
'adding-value' to ingredients products with strong growth in
low-carb ingredients pushing demand for its resistant wheat starch
FiberStar 70.

The company said this week that it will inject $1.8 million (€1.45m) to up production of its speciality wheat starch as the market calls for more supplies, compounded by the growing trend in the US - over 300 million followers - for low-carb foods.

"Customer demand for this ingredient is unprecedented and beyond our existing production capabilities, thus prompting our decision to proceed with this new expansion,"​ said Ladd Seaberg, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas-based firm.

The starch project, slated for completion by this summer, "should increase our FiberStar 70 capacity by 75 per cent over the current capacity level,"​ says Seaberg, "and boost our ability to address immense market interest in our FiberStar 70 resistant wheat starch for use as a highly effective fibre enhancer in many food applications, including low-carbohydrate formulations"​.

The capital injection is part of a wider €11m package that sees the firm installing new equipment for processing distillers feed at the company's Atchison plant as well as new alcohol distillation equipment for the firm's Pekin, Illinois facility.

In addition to reporting strong growth for FiberStar 70, last month MGP Ingredients said that sales of its speciality wheat protein isolates - Arise - had more than tripled on the previous year.

"They are attracting a tremendous amount of attention for both their functional and nutritional qualities in creating high-protein, low-carbohydrate products.

The popularity of various high-protein, low-carb diets continues to build momentum, which many industry sources believe may not level off for possibly two to three years,"​ Mike Trautschold, vice president of marketing and sales at MGP said last month.

The Atkins-style low carbohydrate - high protein diet has taken the US by storm. Low-carb diets focus on moving consumers from diets heavy in refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour to a more equal balance with proteins and fat. Many also recommend whole foods and vegetables although Atkins has come under strong criticism for apparently failing to encourage consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Despite the popularity of the regime, recent research from market analysts ACNielsen on 10,000 US households reveals that although 17 per cent of those surveyed have someone looking to cut the carbs and up the proteins, the figures showing the number of people who have tried a low-carb diet but given up the regime are just as compelling.

"The jury is still out as to whether the low-carb diet has staying power,"​ said Todd Hale, senior vice president of ACNielsen.

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