Soluble fiber plugs gluten-free challenges, says Penford

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Penford's new soluble fiber can enhance shelf life and pack nutrition without taste implications in gluten-free, its senior applications scientist says
Penford's new soluble fiber can enhance shelf life and pack nutrition without taste implications in gluten-free, its senior applications scientist says

Related tags Gluten-free baked goods Starch

Shelf life is the biggest challenge in gluten-free baked goods and Penford’s potato-based soluble fiber will help retain moisture, its senior applications scientist says.

The starch supplier has launched a new potato-based soluble fiber PenFibe RO that can be used for calorie reduction, fiber enrichment and partial sugar replacement. But this resistant starch would also boost shelf life in gluten-free goods, Jennifer Williams, senior applications scientist at Penford, said.

“I think shelf life is one of the biggest hurdles in gluten-free right now,”​ she told at IBIE 2013 in Las Vegas, where Penford was showcasing its new ingredient.

“Most gluten-free products are sold frozen, which is okay but there is increasing market need for more shelf-stable products because manufacturers want people to be able to buy bread off the shelf instead of having to put it in the freezer,”​ she said.

Soluble to soak up and hold water

This potato-based ingredient is soluble, rather than insoluble, which means it holds onto water, Williams explained.

“It could have the potential to increase the shelf life of a product and help ensure the product is moister,”​ she said.

“…Because it’s a soluble fiber it is not going to contribute (as some of the other regular starches are) to retro gradation as much, so it could potentially help hold on to moisture that way.”

Nutritional punch

There are also nutritional benefits for the gluten-free sector, she added. “From a nutritional stand-point, gluten free products are really nutritionally lacking, so it can add some fiber to the product.”

The fiber value of the ingredient is appealing to gluten-free bakery manufacturers, because typical gluten-free ingredients like potato and corn starch have zero fiber.

She said that fiber is ‘hot topic’ in the bakery market at the moment, and adding it into gluten-free would tap into new demands for nutritionally balanced products.

Bland taste and non-allergenic bonus

The use of a potato-based resistant starch also has formulation bonuses as it is bland in taste and non-allergenic, suiting plain gluten-free bread and muffin formulations for example, Williams said.

“You don’t want to add an ingredient that’s going to make a product taste off. Some of the other ingredients you might add are cereal or grain notes, but potato is very bland,”​ she said.

Penford continues to work on the development of the ingredient, testing it across different baked good applications including gluten-free.

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