Ashland supports rise of the gluten-free baked goods market in Europe

Benecel HPMC hydrocolloid improves the volume, softness and crumb structure of gluten-free bread

Gluten-free foods, established approximately 15 years ago to provide consumers with coeliac disease additional food choices free of wheat, barley, and rye, have become a mainstream product category. Last year, food and beverage companies introduced more than 20,000 products into the global marketplace with a gluten-free label designation.

Ashland Specialty Ingredients, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc. and a major producer of hydrocolloids, is helping the gluten-free baked goods industry to produce products every consumer will enjoy. At Food ingredients Europe, Ashland is demonstrating how one hydrocolloid ingredient improves both the qualitative and quantitative attributes of gluten-free foods such as bread.

'Rapidly growing demand in Europe and throughout the world is giving rise to new opportunities to use highly functional hydrocolloids to improve the eating experience for all consumers of gluten-free baked goods,' said Maxine Weber, Global Marketing Manager, Nutrition, Ashland Specialty Ingredients. “Only one per cent of the population is estimated to have coeliac disease, yet as many as 30% of consumers are estimated to buy at least one gluten-free food product.'

Hydrocolloids, derived from plant sources and known within the food industry as ingredients that influence texture or viscosity, also serve to restore the functional attributes of gluten-free baked goods.

'Typically, bakers will use xanthan gum, guar gum, cellulose gum or locust bean gum as a replacement for gluten in gluten-free baked goods. However, food scientists have published studies during the past few years that suggest quantitative attributes, such as bread loaf volume, is improved when modified cellulose serves as the replacement for gluten in bread recipes,' Weber explained.

She said that hydrocolloids such as Ashland’s Benecel HPMC-modified cellulose also improve the softness of bread and the structure of crumbs.

'Now more than ever, this hydrocolloid is accepted by popular bread and food merchants for the sensational qualities it brings to gluten-free bread,' Weber added.

From science to sensational

Ashland, a strategic supplier of hydrocolloids that improve the functionality and allure of products such as low-fat creamy toppings, dairy and beverage products, syrups and sauces, and baked goods, is staffed by food scientists with expertise in food chemistry. Understanding how hydrocolloids function in foods at a molecular level, Ashland scientists design the ingredient solutions required to control rheology, volume and moisture, improve texture and mouthfeel, stabilize prepared foods, deliver great taste, and maintain visual allure.

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