Zuvii gluten-free baking range taps into new 'superfood' trend: unripe green bananas
Unlike ripe yellow bananas, green bananas are not sweet, and can be milled into a fine neutral tasting powder that works well as a wheat flour replacement or partial replacement and is more like tapioca or coconut flour than a fruit powder.
High in potassium and very low in sugar, banana flour is also high in RS2 resistant starch (which is not digested in the small intestine and has prebiotic properties and beneficial effects on blood glucose), said Zuvii director of sales, David Wintzer, who noted that several new players have entered the banana flour market over the past year as interest in its unique properties grows.
“I agree that awareness is still low but I really think that unripe green banana flour is the new superfood, and interest in resistant starch is definitely growing, especially in the Paleo community.”
Baking and resistant starch
But won’t baking at high temperatures destroy the resistant starch? Most likely, acknowledged Wintzer, who said that you can add it to smoothies and other products that are not heated if you want to get the full benefits, and that he also plans to bring out a banana powder dried using a gentler process that would be designed for consumers specifically interested in resistant starch.
He added: "There are some studies which show if you let the baked product cool down back to room temperature some of the resistant starch will come back and be retained. The exact percentage which is lost and then brought back is what we're trying to figure out. Over all, if you want your full dose and resistant starch fix you will need to consume the product raw."
Asked about the banana powder, he said: "This will be a product specifically based around resistant starch nutrition and fitness lifestyle. The difference [versus the banana flour product currently in the Zuvii lineup] is the drying methods and the amount of resistant starch in the actual product. It would be under the Zuvii brand, it might contain other ingredients as well. We are still in the midst of developing our product line extensions."
From WEDO to Zuvii
Wintzer, who launched a banana flour brand called WEDO in a tub a few years ago from bananas that are not suitable for commercial sale because they have slight blemishes or odd shapes, says the new Zuvii-branded pouches take away the formulation guess work for consumers and just require them to add eggs and butter (or in the case of the waffles/pancakes, water/milk, oil, and eggs).
He added: "Currently WEDO is in roughly 1,000 stores accross the country. We are confident the majority of these accounts will switch the inventory from WEDO to Zuvii [which is currently only available online]. We're starting to fulfill the first Zuvii orders this month.
"Our goal over the next three to four months will be to expand our grocery store count to as much as double the current WEDO store count nationwide."