UK firm takes soft approach to wholegrains

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Whole grain

A new range of softer wholegrains do not need pre-soaking and so
the 'hard bite' texture often associated with grain products is
eliminated, the manufacturer claims.

The 'Tendergrains', developed by UK ingredients firm Edme, were developed in response to the growing demand for a variety of 'healthy' wholegrain products, technical manager Simon Wooster told "We looked at certain characteristics of grains, such as texture and mouthful, and examined how they may put limitations on manufacturing,"​ he said. "Our research and development was then focused on commercial solutions to these problems." ​ The firm therefore developed a range of grains that are high in moisture and so softer for the consumer to chew. There is also no need for the manufacturer to soak them before processing, saving time and wastage, the company said. "For example, if a baker has an order for 100 kilos of bread, he will soak a certain amount of grains,"​ Wooster said. "If the order later changes, he still has the same amount of pre-prepared wholegrains waiting in his plant." ​ As well as the temporal advantages, the high moisture content allows bakers to use the grains in high inclusion or low water recipes, in which traditional wholegrains can often remove moisture from the product mix, he added. The company also claims that the grains could be infused with additions such as fruit juices, adding to the value of the overall finished product. "In particular, manufacturers could add elements such as antioxidants to their products, boosting its image as a health food,"​ Wooster said. According to Edme, the grains have already attracted attention from manufacturers in the UK, Europe and South-East Asia. The company now plans to boost exports of the Tendergrains, funded in part by a £31,000 (€49,191) award from the UK Home-Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA). Wholegrains have attracted a lot of attention from the food industry in recent years, as they have been linked to alleviating a range of health problems such as obesity, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Most recently, US scientists claimed in January that wholegrains may cut the levels of a protein associated with heart disease - C reactive proteins - and so reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which provokes almost 50 per cent of the total deaths in Europe. Not surprisingly, food manufacturers are keen to profit on the good reputation of wholegrains, and this category accounted for the highest number of launches in bread and bread products over the past two years, according to market analysts Mintel. From a total of 861 bread products listed on Mintel's Global New Product Database, 123, or 15 per cent, of new breads and bread products launched in Europe in 2007 contained wholegrains. Wholegrain is expected to remain a leading claim, not only in Europe, but globally, as demand for healthier products continues to grow, the analysts added.

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