AKPF has been active in the gluten-free flour market since 2010 when it first launched its cassava flour to the bakery industry. With a projected compound annual growth rate of 10.4% through 2020, the North American gluten-free market will grow from $4.6bn in 2015 to $7.6bn, the company said.
Competition within gluten-free space will become more quality driven
“The [gluten-free] market will be driven by the sustainable needs of the celiac and gluten-intolerant as well as a growing number of gluten-free full-time and part-time converts,” AKPF said in a statement.
“Just as most gluten-free startups have stagnated or closed their doors, the major players have taken the plunge into this market after the earlier years of hesitation… This means that the next stage of competition will become more compelling and quality driven.”
In order to gain competitive edge in the gluten-free space, Illinois-based Ingredion is looking to acquire Thai rice starch and rice flour company, Sun Flour, this site previously reported.
For bakery products, such as rice crackers and noodles, Ingredion told BakeryandSnacks that rice flours can provide additional benefits as a bulking agent and texture modifier, which help create elasticity, chewiness and crumb structure.
Special rice milling technology
AKPF told BakeryandSnacks during the recent IBIE in Las Vegas, Nevada, that Kumamoto’s proprietary milling process makes its rice flours stand out in the market.
“Rice flour has been around for a long time,” AKPF’s COO, Mel Festejo, said. “But Kumamoto has developed a special rice milling technology, and it produces rice flours with a very fine particle size of 70 µm or even less, and they are kept within a tighter particle size distribution. So you don’t have big or small particles [of rice flours] all over the place.”
In addition, the milling technology is able to prevent the starch content in the rice flours from being damaged, Festejo added. When Kumamoto’s rice flours are used in baked goods, they show a more consistent structure and softer texture.
Benefits of using rice flours
Rice flours are being treasured right now, Festejo said, because they are non-GMO and follow the clean-label trend in the food industry.
Even though Kumamoto’s rice flours cost more than the average gluten-free flours in the market, Festejo said “If you use our [short-grained Japanese] rice flour versus using the same quantity of conventional rice flour, [the finished baked products] will show a better volume, so that will offset the cost.”