New delivery routes for whole grain

by Jeff Gelski
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Whole grains have found their way into cereal, bread, pastry and tortillas. Now, other application avenues may open, including beverages, yogurts and frostings, said Dr. Cheryl Mitchell, president of Creative Research Management, Stockton, Calif. She said the company’s recently introduced GrainLife ingredient line may make such applications possible.

"It’s in its infancy of all the ways it can be used," she said.

Whole grain consists of three parts: bran, starchy endosperm and germ. When the components are heated in water, they tend to form a "pulpy slurry" since fiber interacts with protein, according to Creative Research Management. A patented process technology associated with GrainLife liberates components in a whole grain and recombines them in the forms of concentrates and powders, Dr. Mitchell, a chemist, said. The process allows proteins to be liberated and not tied up with fiber, a move that provides beneficial digestive effects and causes the protein to swell, Dr. Mitchell said.

The government recommends Americans consume at least 3 servings, or 48 grams, of whole grains per day. Adding whole grain content to products other than traditional grain-based foods will give people an opportunity to reach that goal while having more variety in their diets, Dr. Mitchell said.

Ryza, a fortified beverage that features organic whole grain brown rice, already is available in Canada, Dr. Mitchell said. Creative Research Management, meanwhile, has developed juices with 8 grams of whole grains per 8-oz serving. Beverage companies in the United States should launch products with Grain-Life applications in 2007, Dr. Mitchell said. She expects a U.S. launch of a yogurt with whole grain brown rice to occur in the first quarter of 2007.

Food and beverage developers at Creative Research Management have worked to solve the problems of flavor and oxidative rancidity when whole grain applications are used, Dr. Mitchell said.

The GrainLife introduction comes in a year of whole grain developments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provided guidance on whole grains in February. The agency considers "whole grain" to include cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked fruit of the grains whose principal components — the starchy endosperm, germ and bran — are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact germ. Such grains include barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn millet, rice, rye, oats, sorghum, wheat and wild rice. Legumes, oilseeds and roots are not considered whole grains, according to the F.D.A.

Omaha-based ConAgra Mills in 2004 introduced Ultragrain, a whole wheat flour the company said combined the nutritional benefits of whole grains with the processing benefits and finished baking quality of refined flours. ConAgra Mills recently added Ultragrain Soft to the line. It is made from a variety of white wheat with a sweeter, milder taste and lighter color relative to traditional red wheat, according to the company. Ultragrain Soft can add whole grain content to such items as cakes, pastries and cookies.

For whole grain bagels, Caravan Products Co., Inc., Totowa, N.J., recently introduced a base that combines a blend of seven different grains. General Mills Bakeries & Foodservice, Minneapolis, turned to durum, normally used in pasta production, and developed a white whole grain bread mix called DuruWhite.

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