Look to the future for gluten-free NPD, says Ulrick & Short

According to Mintel, 12% of new food products launched in the UK in 2015 carried a gluten-free claim, up from 7% in 2011

Gluten free is certainly here to stay; but, according to leading British-owned clean label ingredient specialist Ulrick & Short, food manufacturers should be looking to the next stage of gluten free NPD – including nutritional profile and label declarations — to keep up with market demands.

There is no doubt that trends such as gluten free are influenced by progressive consumers who need to know that their food products of choice adhere to certain free from criteria.

In addition to the debilitating nature of coeliac disease – broadly, an auto-immune rejection of gluten-based foods - other influencers in the gluten free trend are intolerance as opposed to rejection, lifestyle choices and of course celebrity influence.

Regardless of the reason, thousands of people are selecting gluten free, dairy free or other free from products as a way of reducing consumption of certain food groups and over-processed products in particular.

Manufacturers are now fairly adept at creating gluten free alternatives that don’t compromise on taste, texture or functionality, so the new challenge is to maintain the “no compromise” theme whilst further improving nutritional profile and simplifying ingredient declarations.

Ulrick & Short’s R&D manager, Danielle Schroeter, explained: “Gluten is a highly functional and unique protein which makes it exceptionally difficult to match and replicate in application."

"When removing gluten, the role of starch for providing structure and texture becomes far more prominent in a product. For example, it is gluten which gives the basis for the development of loaf volume and crumb structure in bakery and what holds the dough in shape throughout the whole baking process."

“That said, gluten free is no longer just about bread. At Ulrick & Short we’ve invested heavily in the development of a wide range of ingredients that can achieve the same functionality as gluten in cakes and other sweet products, as well as savoury applications such as sauces and glazes."

"It’s no longer good enough to provide an equivalent gluten free product; consumers will be looking for free from that also gives a simpler, more transparent label declaration and improved nutritional profile compared with other foodstuffs on the shelf. With our expert technologists very much on the case, there’s no end to the lengths we will go to help manufacturers meet demand for that level of sophistication in the free from market.”

Ulrick & Short has produced an informative White Paper entitled Gluten Free. For your copy please email us@ulrickandshort.com with your name, company and title.