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Puffed and toasted ancient grains plug unique texture and flavor demands, says ConAgra Mills

By Kacey Culliney , 12-Mar-2013
Last updated the 12-Mar-2013 at 11:00 GMT

Buckwheat additions expands ancient grain gluten-free options, says ConAgra Mills
Buckwheat additions expands ancient grain gluten-free options, says ConAgra Mills

Puffed and toasted ancient grains fulfill consumer demands for unique texture and flavor in baked goods and snacks, says developer ConAgra Mills.

The US food ingredients firm has expanded its ancient grains portfolio to include buckwheat, spelt and puffed and toasted grains. These variants join amaranth, quinoa, sorghum, millet and teff as well as custom multigrain and gluten-free blends. All are available in flour form or whole seed form.

“Developers want to make their foods unique and form flexibility in grains affords even more opportunities to tailor formulas for specific consumer segments who seek craveable flavors and textures in their foods,” said Joni Huffman, director of business development for ConAgra Mills.

“These varieties are all about textures, flavors and colors for a number of applications like snacks, crackers, bars and baked goods for use as a topical and in dough, batter and breading mixes,” Huffman told BakeryandSnacks.com.

Expanded portfolio driven by demands

ConAgra said the clear growth of ancient grains is driven by multiple trends.

Huffman said there is an increased consumer desire for multigrain products that have more flavor appeal and superior nutrition, a greater awareness of ethnic food trends and authentic ingredients along with a strong surge in the number of consumers adhering to gluten-free diets.

“Customers are looking for an even greater variety of grains to meet evolving consumer trends,” she said.

ConAgra chose buckwheat as a gluten-free ancient grain addition for its high protein and mineral content along with its unique flavor profile. Its gluten-free and multigrain applications include pancakes, soba noodles and other ethnic foods.

Spelt was selected due to its “heirloom characteristics” and alternative nutritional profile compared to wheat, Huffman said.

The ingredients firm has developed puffed and toasted varieties of amaranth, quinoa and sorghum but can custom puff or toast other grains, it said.

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