Warburton and Cigi Join Forces to Create Innovative Bakery Products and Drive Pulse Flours

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11 Aug 2016 --- The UK’s largest bakery brand, Warburtons, is teaming up with Canadian International Grains Institute (CIGI) on a project that could revolutionize the use of pulse flours in the food industry.

The major pulse research initiative aims to produce healthier baked products and advance the use of pulses such as yellow peas, red and green lentils, chickpeas and navy beans.

The research will see breads, rolls, crumpets, sandwich thins and tortillas made with specific nutritional values and using flours milled from different pulse types. 

It builds on the technical expertise CIGI has developed over the last ten years in collaboration with the pulse industry, focusing on the functionality and application of pulse flours, while at the same time reflects the increasing consumer demand for innovative and new bakery products. 

A variety of pulses are being used in diverse categories because of their wide range of healthy attributes and versatility. According to Innova Market Insights data there was a 54 percent increase in US snacks category product launches containing pulses from 2014 to 2015. Growth in global products launches for broad bean went up 34 percent, chickpea 28 percent, lentil 21 percent, black bean 20 percent and lupin 16 percent.Click to Enlarge

The three-year project aims to develop a database summarizing new and existing information on the compositional, functional and flavorable properties of pulses of the greatest interest to the food industry, and information on the effects of genotype and environment on the compositional, functional and flavor properties of pulse flours, particle size and storage. The pulse database will be accessible to the entire food industry. 

Using a newly installed pilot-scale fermentation tank at Cigi, a series of pre-ferment trials will take place, using flours milled from different pulse types, pulse blends, particle sizes and inclusion levels will be undertaken to determine their effect on ferment dough properties, finished bread quality and FODMAP (a group of small carbohydrate sugar molecules found in everyday foods that may be poorly absorbed in the small intestine of some people). 

There will also be trials to see if bread with a clean label - which means the elimination of dough conditioners and other processing aids) can be produced using pre-ferment technology and pulse flour. 

The third objective of the project, running until March 2019, is to explore the development of pulse-based bakery products that meet specific health and nutrition targets. By selecting the doughs from the pre-ferment trials, they will then be used in baking trials at Cigi to determine if commercial pulse flours and isolates can be used to formulate products that are high in fiber, lower in gluten and gluten-free, lower in carbohydrates, better carbohydrates, resistant starch, lower calories and reduced FODMAPS. 

Other tests will evaluate the effects of various pulse flour blends on flour and bread quality and the impact of baking temperature on the flavor of bread containing pulse flours and blends. 

Warburtons has previously undertaken preliminary research at Cigi using pulse flours and believes the use of pulses can lead to products higher in protein and fiber, and lower in gluten and carbohydrates.  

“Warburtons is proud to be partnering with Cigi on this exciting project to advance the use of pulses in the food industry,” says Adam Dyck, Warburtons Canadian Program Manager. “This new research underlines the increasing popularity of new and innovative bakery products amongst consumers and is testament to Warburtons’ commitment to future growth through diversification and innovation.” 

The project is part funded by Saskatchewan Pulse Growers to the tune of $1.8 million, while Warburtons is providing $680,000 to fund the pilot-scale fermentation tank at Cigi and the governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $270,000 through the Grain Innovation Hub. Western Grains Research Foundation has also contributed $158,000 and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers $25,000. 

As the primary funder of the research, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers sees the project as an important opportunity to increase the demand for pulse flours, leading to additional markets for pulse ingredients and greater economic returns for growers.

“We are pleased to fund this project,” says Carl Potts, Executive Director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. “Inclusion of pulse ingredients into baked foods helps address consumer interest in choosing nutritional ingredients in the foods they eat. This project also addresses market diversification which is an important focus for SPG, and Saskatchewan pulse growers are well-suited to meet the demand for improved nutrition in the food industry.” 
The database and research findings will be shared with pulse breeders, seed companies, growers, pulse processors and the food industry. 

“By working with Warburtons as a commercial partner on this project, there is a direct link to an end-customer,” adds JoAnne Buth, Cigi CEO. “It signifies the potential of pulses to the food industry as ingredients with nutritional benefits that can contribute to improved health and well-being of consumers.”

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