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To help food companies maintain the natural yolk color and overall
consistency and appearance of eggs when using egg-free replacements, Corbion also offers a complementary color solution, Spice
Color Blend, that consists of a concentrated uniform mixture of pure
vegetable pigments and corn flour. And its Dribrite BF is a powder-base,
egg-free wash solution for specialty breads, rolls, Danish pastries, pies
and other sweet baked goods.
The gluten-free category has seen significant growth over the past
several years, in both instore bakeries and snack food departments,
Davis says. That can be attributed, he says, to new diets calling for
gluten-free ingredients, an increased awareness of medical conditions
like celiac disease and more consumers seeking clean label foods with
limited ingredients. "As a result, companies have started introducing
gluten-free chips, crackers, cookies, bread and more to appeal to this
growing audience," Davis says.
With food allergies and awareness of them on the rise, demand for
allergen-free foods will continue to increase, Davis says. Even people
without food allergies are stoking the demand, he says. "Many people
are experimenting with popular diets like paleo, keto and Whole 30,
which all call for the elimination of gluten."
Sargent agrees. "As (consumers) become increasingly aware of how
certain foods can affect their overall health, many are shifting toward
purchasing gluten-free and allergen-free alternatives," she says. "What
started out as an industry targeting those with celiac disease and
other gluten intolerances has now grown to become a popular lifestyle
choice for many consumers."
The number of Americans on a gluten-free diet has nearly tripled in
the past five years, Sargent says. As a result, there's been huge growth
in the gluten-free landscape with applications that go beyond breads
to include cakes, pastries, biscuits, pasta and breakfast cereals. Many
ancient grains -amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and teff among
them -are naturally gluten-free, making them ideal for today's healthconscious consumers, she says.
Taste and texture catch up
When they were introduced, gluten-free breads had the reputation
of being better for you, but lacking in taste and texture, Davis says. It
became La Brea's goal to launch a gluten-free bread that didn't sacrifice
on flavor or texture and tasted like regular bread. "As someone with
a family member who is gluten intolerant, this was a very personal
project for me, and I wanted to make sure these breads were as good
as they could be," Davis says. On the road to achieving that goal, La
Brea realized it had something very big going for it: simplicity. "From
the beginning, La Brea Bakery has always used as few ingredients as
possible when making our breads," Davis says. "We never used artificial
flavors, colors or preservatives, but focused on making them with high
quality, minimal ingredients. Because of our commitment to quality,
we were able to ensure that the same great taste found in our regular
breads was consistent in our gluten-free breads as well."
Looking ahead, Davis expects to see more varieties of gluten-free
foods and other free-from products hitting the shelves to keep up with
consumer demand in the category, particularly as it relates to bread.
"We've expanded our portfolio to include demi-baguettes, made with
ancient heirloom grains, which we see as a continually evolving trend
in baked goods."
In addition to taste and texture, crumb structure, processing tolerance
and production costs are among the hurdles bakers face when it comes
to allergen-free products, Sargent says. For example, wheat gluten
provides certain viscoelasticity properties for baked goods and helps
retain gas bubbles in dough, which impact crumb structure, texture
Corbion has seen tremendous improvements in the production of
chemically leavened applications like cookies and muffins, Sargent
says. "With today's technology, it's a lot easier to make gluten-free
cookies and muffins with similar texture and mouthfeel to traditional
cookies and muffins with gluten. On the other hand, yeast-leavened
products prove to be more challenging to reformulate."
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