The wheat-based resistant starch claims to have the three-fold function of fibre enhancement, fat reduction and calorie reduction.
US firm MGPI had introduced FiberRite RW as a test product at last year's IFT food expo. After a year of customer feedback and product improvement, the company last week showcased the ingredient at this year's show in Orlando.
"We received a very positive response but we didn't want to make the product fully available until we were totally satisfied with its performance. Now we're ready to move into the next phase and make final preparations for full production," said Steve Pickman, the company's vice president of corporate relations.
MGPI, which hopes to start production in fall 2006, claims FiberRite RW can be added to formulations with minimal processing adjustments.
The product is marketed as having a clean flavor, smooth texture and white appearance, and claims to boost the fibre content of a variety of products without distorting taste or visual appeal.
According to the firm, customers are currently testing its product in a number of dairy-based applications, such as yogurt and ice-cream, as well as in confectionary goods. It can also be used in salad dressings, sauces and bakery products.
The ingredient, a type-4 resistant starch or RS4, also acts as a partial fat replacer and reduces calorie content, said the firm. This is due to its higher water-holding properties that start to build body and creaminess and allow for between 25-50 percent less fat, explained MGPI's director of marketing for specialty ingredients Steve Ham.
When it was initially developed, the starch had a 70 percent fibre content. After some reformulation of the product, it now claims to have reached up to 80 percent total fibre content on a dry basis. This is 20 percent more fibre than competitor products, claims the company.
Most starches are digested and absorbed into the body through the small intestine, but some resist digestion and pass through to the large intestine where they act like dietary fibre and improve digestive health. This type of starch is called resistant starch.
RS4 starches- or resistant starches that are chemically modified- were developed through the Kansas State University Research Foundation. MGPI currently holds the exclusive license for the Kansas State technology used to develop this type of starch.
Whereas types 1,2 and 3 resistant starches (RS1, RS2 and RS3) are naturally occurring in food, RS4 starches must be labeled as a 'modified food starch'. However, according to Ham, this does not turn consumers away, as they are more concerned with the high levels of dietary fibre that these deliver.
Other RS4 starches currently marketed by MPGI include wheat-based Fibersym 70 as well as potato-based Fibersym 805, produced in collaboration with Penford Ingredients, and Fibersym HA, manufactured together with Cargill. The Fibersym series is designed specifically for use in baked goods.
Indeed, with growing health awareness, fibre enhancement is becoming increasingly popular with food and beverage manufacturers, resulting in increased ingredient innovation. MGPI was not alone in promoting fibre enhancement ingredients at the IFT last week- it was joined by a number of competing firms, including ingredient giants National Starch, Tate & Lyle and Cargill.