White wholegrain flour not white enough?

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Flour

Wholegrain flours that can be used to produce white baked products
are proving a hit with US bakeries looking to meet new healthy
eating guidelines, but colour is still proving a challenge,
writes Lorraine Heller.

US companies ConAgra Food Ingredients and ADM are amongst those cashing in on this new demand, providing flours promoted as offering the taste and texture of white flour products while preserving the wholegrain kernel.

ConAgra claims to have been the first to develop white wholegrain flour last year, marketed under the brand name Ultragrain, closely followed by other companies developing their own versions. ADM launched Kansas Diamond white whole-wheat flour in May this year.

However, if used exclusively, the consumer-friendly wholegrain flours produce a golden-coloured product rather than a white one.

Colour is one of the main problems faced by bakeries looking to incorporate wholegrains into their products, according to Matt Hall, vice president of communications at leading US bakery Sara Lee.

"We have conducted substantial research and have found that consumers are turned off by the slightly darker colour of white breads with more wholegrain in them. It's just not white-bread enough for them,"​ he said.

Sara Lee this month launched a white wholegrain bread, Soft and Smooth, which contains only 30 per cent whole wheat flour, made up of Ultragrain and brown rice flour.

Millers in the UK agree that colour is a key factor for success.

"Colour is what's important now, as the crumb quality of some wholegrain breads in the UK already matches that of white bread,"​ said Alexander Waugh, director of the National Association of British and Irish Millers (nabim).

Wholegrains have received increasing media and industry attention in the US since the government revised its dietary guidelines early this year, advising that at least three portions of wholegrains should be consumed daily.

The focus on this food group comes as increasing studies reveal the health benefits of wholegrains, which include reduced risk of global killers heart disease, stroke and cancer.

"Consumers continue to demand healthier baked goods that include wholegrains. With this demand they continue to express that taste is vital with healthier products, so we've been able to develop a wholegrain product with more palatability,"​ said Kent Lyman, director of sales at ADM Milling.

ConAgra was first, however, claiming to have discovered a groundbreaking milling process in an industry that had previously lacked the innovation needed to reduce the particle size of the wheat kernel to achieve a fine granulation and texture similar to refined flours.

Ultragrain and Kansas Diamond, which are currently only sold in the US, can be used in applications such as pizza crusts, bread, bagels, pasta, cookies and tortillas.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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