Ingredients firm AB Mauri has a patented technology for reduced-fat tortillas that opens up opportunities in a vastly untapped market sector, a company director said.
Its Star System patented technology enables manufacturers to develop reduced fat, reduced sodium, wheat-based tortillas.
The system has been on the North American market for around a year but the firm is making its first push into Europe with the technology.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com at IBA 2012 in Munich, Colin Simmonds, group marketing and development director at AB Mauri, said the low-fat tortilla sector has “never really been penetrated”.
However, this technology will enable manufacturers to drive and shape this untapped sector, Simmonds said.
Tortillas, or wraps, are one of the fastest growing products in global bakery, he said, but fat levels in these products across the US remain at an average of 12-15%.
Fat reduction in tortillas is an innovative area that manufacturers should be investing in, he said.
The Star System has three components – an enzyme leavening system, a dough coating material and an application machine.
“It is the dough coating that is key here”, Simmonds said, as it enables manufacturers to reduce fat levels in the formulation. It also ensures a non-stick product with enhanced shelf-life, he added.
The coating is added to the rounded dough before it is flattened using a specialised application machine to ensure precise coverage.
The enzyme leavening system ensures good taste and high quality in the end product, Simmonds added.
European tortilla opportunities?
While tortillas are more familiar in the US due to a strong Hispanic population prompting a cultural link, they are popular worldwide, Simmonds said.
There is also a global drive towards health, he said, and so the reduced-fat tortilla sector, while young and untapped, harbours a wealth of opportunities for manufacturers.
The UK, Holland and Belgium are likely markets within Europe for the concept of reduced-fat tortillas to really take hold, he explained.
Manufacturers will need to work on developing the sector in Europe, he said, and growth will inevitably spill out of the UK.
“Eventually this will be a global product,” Simmonds said.