Creative Research Management (CRM) is marketing its new product, RiceLife, as an ingredient that retains all the protein, bran oils, vitamins, fibre and carbohydrates found in whole grain unpolished brown rice.
The company claims RiceLife can be used as an additional ingredient in protein bars, allowing each bar to contain the nutritional properties of one portion of brown wholegrain rice.
"RiceLife is essentially the conversion of whole brown rice into either a powder or a liquid product. It is only the form of the rice that changes, all other components remain the same," said Rick Ray, the company's vice president of sales and marketing.
"It can be used in soy protein bars to include some of the amino acids missing from soy. Some manufacturers who have tested the product have found that it can produce a light, fluffy product similar to a candy bar," Ray told FoodNavigator-USA.com.
"Once we have conducted further tests on the product's protein interactions we will also introduce it to candy manufacturers, for use in healthy alternatives to candy bars," he added.
The product, which was launched in August, has already generated interest from many of the US's major food companies, claimed Ray, although he would not reveal any further details.
CRM said it will start by targeting the health and nutrition sector of the market with its new ingredient, but expects it to gain a wider appeal as the market changes in response to consumers' increasing health awareness.
If RiceLife, which can also be used as a dairy replacer for ice cream and yoghurt products, does indeed carry the properties its manufacturers claim, it could mark a significant step in the development of health enhancing product alternatives.
Until now, food manufacturers, such as Danisco, have focused on the use of soy as a dairy replacer in yoghurts, but this tends to have a distinct taste and mouthfeel that does not appeal to many consumers.