Semolina is the main ingredient for pasta and is derived from wheat, therefore suffering from price increases as the cost of such commodities continues to soar. According to the company, the cost of semolina has quadrupled in the past year. Such price increases have been attributed to poor harvests damaging crops, emerging markets increasing demand, and competition from biofuels, which use renewable sources such as grain. Advanced Food Systems, based in New Jersey, has therefore developed a solution for pasta makers, called Actobind PCI, which can increase the cooked yield of pasta by as much as 15 percent. As a result, a smaller volume of semolina can be used, 76.5 percent as opposed to 80 percent. Although this does not sound a huge drop, the company insists it has significant cost-saving benefits. "The price of semolina is very unstable at the moment, and has gone up so much that over the course of a year, this will give substantial savings in cost," said Mark Purpura. Actobind The ingredient system is clean label and made up of products including wheat flour, wheat gluten and starch, according to Purpura. It allows for the pasta to be cooked longer and increasing the yield without compromising the texture, said the company. Purpura told FoodNavigator-USA that the new product has other benefits to pasta. He said that it can be used in both fresh and frozen pasta and improves freeze/thaw stability. Also, when it is mixed with sauces, the system prevents the pasta's texture from being affected, as often occurs when particularly acidic sauces are added. Purpura added that there need be no difference in the production process for the pasta when using the system, but it can be dry blended into flour and used in the standard method. Saving costs Many companies have been developing new solutions for manufacturers to avoid the damaging effects of rising commodity prices pushing up the cost of production. Purpura explained this is one of Advanced Food Systems' biggest areas. In January, the company launched new ingredient systems to replace some dairy ingredients for use in soups, sources and bakes goods to reduce fat and cut costs. Similarly, last October, ADM launched a new line of soya proteins for use in place of expensive dairy ingredients or to extend milk supply.