Low gluten high fiber wheat alternative swoops up Best Better-for-You Ingredient of the Year
The Mediterranean cereal from Spanish start-up Agrasys – considered a healthy alternative to wheat because of its nutritional, agronomical and organoleptic benefits – won the Sustainable Ingredient category in the Sustainable Food Awards 2018 in June.
Agrasys is also one of the 10 finalists to have joined PepsiCo’s 2018 Nutrition Greenhouse.
The Barcelona-based company has been working on the development and commercialization of Tritordeum since 2006, and products are today available around the EU, including Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
Recently, Tritordeum bread was rolled-out in 720 outlets of major Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn.
Now Agrasys now wants to enter into the UK market, where it sees great potential.
“This is very important recognition for our cereal and the best letter of introduction for our entry to the UK market,” said Pilar Barceló, MD of Agrasys.
Benefits: nutritional, environmental and social
Tritordeum, a Mediterranean cereal developed from the combination of durum wheat and wild barley, is suitable for a wide range of cereal-based foods – from bread to biscuits to pasta – and even fermented beverages, such as beer.
But, what makes it so special?
In comparison to wheat, it has high levels of dietary fiber with positive effects on cardiovascular health; 10 times more lutein - an antioxidant involved in eye health 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.
It also has more digestible gluten. A 2017 study found Tritordeum has a significant reduction in gluten proteins associated with food intolerances, compared to wheat.
Although it does contain gluten and not suitable for celiac sufferers, it can be an alternative cereal for those who want to reduce their gluten intake.
Furthermore, Tritordeum, as a crop, has both social and environmental advantages.
Agrasys is supporting the local economy by working with Tritordeum farmers in Spain, Italy and France under a repurchase agreement to eliminate price fluctuations. Today, 70% of the production comes from farmers with organic certification.
Tritordeum also stands up well to drought and fluctuating climate temperatures and has a good disease resistance.
“The fact that Tritordeum makes efficient use of water and has good resistance to diseases makes it a more sustainable cereal with reduced environmental impact,” said Verónica Guerra, communication and marketing manager of Agrasys.