“Part of a positive health image”: Kröner Stärke highlights spelt health halo at Fi Europe
04 Dec 2019 --- Consumers are increasingly turning toward spelt thanks to its perceived health attributes. This is according to Henrik de Vries, Commercial Director of Kröner Stärke, who spoke to NutritionInsight on the show floor of Fi Europe 2019, taking place in Paris this week. The Germany-based company is promoting its spelt range, as well as a new wheat-based mix for vegan mayonnaise. These products come as consumers are increasingly seeking to make informed choices about their food consumption habits.
“There is a high demand for spelt, which is replacing other forms of wheat. It has a good health image, which is part of a wider trend for better-for-you products,” de Vries explains. The ancient grain contains slightly more protein and fiber than traditional wheat, although it does have a little less fiber.
Although not gluten-free, spelt is often better tolerated by people with wheat sensitivities and it is rich in thiamin, copper, manganese, niacin and phosphorus, vitamins B2 and 3. The company has also developed a wheat-based yet gluten-free starch, despite this type of product being risky as some customers are uninterested in using any wheat at all, even if it is gluten-free.
The spelt starch range includes native spelt starches for use in bakery products where volume, a fine crumb structure or a crunchy structure is required, such as in pound cakes or cookies. Additionally, pregelatinized spelt starch, suitable for other bakery applications, is available. This can be used to increase water absorption and dough hydration, as well as extending the shelf life and freshness of baked goods including items such as bread and cake.
These clean label products are marketed as containing no additives and being GMO-free, appealing to consumers seeking more natural options. Both ranges are available globally and can be used in most baking applications, says Kröner Stärke.
According to Innova Market Insights, there has been an average annual growth of 11 percent in new food and beverages containing spelt as an ingredient (CAGR, Global, 2014-2018). Spelt is often included as one of many ingredients to give an item a perceived health boost, as seen in US-based Dave’s Killer Bread’s plain organic bagels. They are touted as containing “five super grains (quinoa, spelt, rye, millet and barley)” and as always being “power-packed with wholegrains [and] made with killer taste and texture.”
Meanwhile, Germany has a vast range of spelt products, including Bio’s organic spelt gnocchi, which is described as being produced “without chemically synthesized plant remedies and no use of mineral nitrogen fertilizers.” Spelt can also be found in the UK’s Harvest Morn multigrain rice cakes, which are marketed as containing less than 3 percent fat and not containing any artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives.
The grain is also highly popular in the infant and toddler nutrition sector, with brands from Cow and Gate to Hipp all providing spelt ingredients in their products. Drogerie Markt’s (DM) pouch of organic apple and banana for toddlers from one year old contains spelt. The product is certified organic and biodynamic by Demeter. It does not contain any added sugar, milk or thickeners.
Earlier this year, a spokesperson from Kröner Stärke told FoodIngredientsFirst that spelt’s nutritional profile and taste give it a positive image. Accordingly, there has been an increase in demand for traditional ancient grains in Europe.
The excitement about new and “exotic” grains – spelt included – was echoed the Future 50 Foods report, released by Knorr and The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It noted that cereals and grains such as buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, spelt, teff and wild rice were being met with widespread enthusiasm across the US and Europe.
Kröner Stärke was also presenting a clean label flour-based vegan mayonnaise mix, which can be prepared with oil and salt. De Vries further highlights that people are increasingly prioritizing clean label products as they seek to avoid E numbers. However, he explains that stability and preparation are often key R&D challenges when formulating clean label products.
By Katherine Durrell, reporting from Fi Europe in Paris
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