MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. has published a patent that relates to improving the eating quality of expanded cereal-based products fortified with dietary fiber and calcium.

Pellets for incorporating particulate insoluble components like dietary fiber and calcium into an expanded cereal product are addressed in patent No. US 20170181462 A1, which was published June 29 and may be found here. The patent also addresses methods for making the pellets and the expanded cereal product.

The expansion of ready-to-eat (R.-T.-E.) cereal depends on an unimpeded expansion of the molten starch, according to the patent. Solid insoluble particles like dietary fiber or calcium carbonate, however, may interfere with the bubble-forming process, which hampers the extent and direction of the expansion and adversely affects texture or mouthfeel, including grittiness, surface appearance and the cereal’s bowl life. The new patent deals with solving this issue by pelletizing solid insoluble particles such as dietary fiber or calcium.

“Expanded cereal products, such as extruded R.-T.-E. cereals, produced in accordance with the present invention are fortified with high amounts of solid or particulate insoluble nutritional components such as dietary fiber and calcium but exhibit a crisp, uniform texture and cell structure; improved, prolonged bowl life; non-gritty mouthfeel; and a smooth, uniform surface appearance,” the patent said.

A binder component may bind the particles of the insoluble component into a coherent mass to keep the insoluble component from inhibiting the expansion of the cereal. The binder component may be one or more of a partially gelatinized starch or a fully gelatinized starch.