Low gluten wheat alternative wins sustainable food award

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tritordeum is the trademarked commercial brand name of the low gluten wheat made by Spanish scientists being rolled out across the EU. Pic: Agrasys
Tritordeum is the trademarked commercial brand name of the low gluten wheat made by Spanish scientists being rolled out across the EU. Pic: Agrasys

Related tags: Cereal, Europe, Wheat, Sustainability, Environment, Award, Gluten, Coeliac disease, Gluten-free breads

Tritordeum - the Mediterranean cereal that is sweeping up supporters for its nutritional, agronomical and organoleptic benefits - has added another accolade to its belt.
Tritordeum
Wiro Nillesen, Tritordeum value chain manager in The Netherlands with Verónica Guerra, communication and marketing manager of Agrasys.

It has won the Sustainable Ingredient category in the Sustainable Food Awards 2018 by Ecovia Intelligence. The event – hosted at the Sustainable Foods Summit held in Amsterdam at the beginning of June – aims to recognize companies that are helping build a sustainable food industry.

According to Verónica Guerra, communication and marketing manager of Agrasys – the start-up company involved in commercializing the cereal around Europe – Tritordeum answers today’s consumer demand for locally produced natural ingredients to make functional products with a reduced environmental impact.

“Tritordeum is a project that ensures sustainability in several ways… respectful of the natural environment, the people and their surroundings,”​ she said.

“It is an honour to be recognised as a sustainable ingredient.”

What is Tritordeum?

Bio-Getreide Tritordeum

Tritordeum is a Mediterranean cereal developed from the combination of durum wheat (Triticum durum)​ and wild barley (Hordeum chilense).

It is a robust cereal and stands up well to drought and high temperatures. It also makes efficient use of water and has good resistance to diseases, making it more a sustainable cereal with reduced environmental impact.

Agrasys works with local farmers in the regions in which it is cultivated – including Spain, Italy and the south of France – under an agreement plan to ensure stable, fair incomes that are not affected by external market variations.

“This cereal has a value chain focussed on the control of the seed, grain and flour to ensure full traceability throughout the whole path from growers to processors and then to consumers,”​ said Guerra.

While the cereal is cultivated using both conventional and organic production systems, 70% comes from local farmers with the organic certification.

Once harvested, the company supervises the transfer of grain from the field to the nearest mill, and then again to become flour and end products.

“Thanks to this controlled process, Tritordeum is a totally traceable cereal,”​ added Guerra.

Winning supporters

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Apart from its sustainability advantages, Tritordeum is winning supporters because of its nutritional benefits.

Compared to traditional wheat, it has high levels of dietary fiber, 10 times more lutein – an antioxidant that protects the retina from UV light and the effects of aging – and more unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, considered a central pillar of the Mediterranean diet.

Furthermore, it has more digestible gluten. According to scientific research, Tritordeum has a significant reduction in gluten proteins associated with food intolerances​ in comparison with wheat.

Although it does contain gluten and is not suitable for coeliacs, it is suitable for consumers who want reduce their gluten intake or people with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.

Tritordeum is used to make flour, bread, biscuits and pasta, currently available in nine EU countries including Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands. At the beginning of 2018, the Dutch supermarket giant Albert Heijn launched Tritordeum bread in 720 shops.

Professional bakers have reported the cereal gives products a sweet flavour, pleasant aroma and an attractive golden color (due to the lutein).

Barcelona-based Agrasys is a spin-off of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), founded in 2005 by a group of scientists from the Institute of Sustainable Agriculture of Córdoba (IAS-CSIC) and professionals from the agri-food sector.

The company develops crops with added value for human consumption, and has mainly been focussed on the development and commercialization of Tritordeum since 2006.

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