Ardent Mills diversifies alt-grains portfolio with keto-friendly and gluten-free blends
28 Apr 2022 --- Flour-milling and ingredient company Ardent Mills has launched keto-friendly and certified gluten-free flour blends for the Canadian market. The expansion diversifies its portfolio of alternative grain capabilities and builds upon its traditional flour business.
Keto-friendly flour blends are positioned as a replacement for conventional flour without compromising taste, texture or functionality, while the new gluten-free flour blends offer ease of use for a variety of formats.
Move toward reducing carbs
Consumer interest in better-for-you bakery options has been gaining momentum in the past years. Innova Market Insights notes nearly nine in ten F&B launches for weight loss included a keto claim in the US, with “baking ingredients” as the top category in 2020.
The market researcher observes that many consumers no longer fear consuming fat and instead look to eliminate carbohydrates such as grains and sugars.
This can be seen in the uptick of grain-free claims for weight loss NPD, present in 27% of launches Jan 2020 to July in the US, growing at a CAGR of 207%.
At the same time, gluten-free claims are also gaining steam. From Jan 2020 to July 2021, nearly seven in ten weight loss F&B launches featured a gluten-free claim, showing 42% CAGR growth.
Keto is having a moment
Keto is the fastest growing ‘healthy claim’ appearing on menus, and 44% of consumers eat gluten-free at least some of the time, according to Ardent Mills’ proprietary research.
Innova Market Insights notes that keto claims on weight loss F&B NPD started building traction in 2018 and exploded in 2019. From 2018-2020, CAGR grew by 187%.
"Interest in keto-friendly and gluten-free lifestyles continues to grow as consumers seek solutions that match their personal health values and preferences,” says Elaine O’Doherty, Canada marketing lead, Ardent Mills.
In March 2021, Ardent Mills launched a keto-certified Net Carb Flour Blend, which it then called “industry’s first major net carb flour blend for keto and low net carb baked applications.”
The new flour blends include:
- Keto-Friendly Flour Blend: For bread and bakery manufacturers, the Keto-friendly flour blend is designed for a broad range of bread and baked goods. A proprietary functional ingredient system enables the blend to achieve a balance of dietary fibers and grains without nuts or nut flour and does contain gluten which allows customers to run on their current equipment without significant changes.
- Keto-Friendly Pizza Mix: Developed for foodservice and pizza chain operators, the mix was designed for simple back-of-shop operations and is suitable for most crust formats while providing the texture and crunch experienced during the pizza eating experience.
- Gluten-free 1:1 All-Purpose Flour: Suited for retail bakeries, wholesale bakeries and foodservice operators, this formula can be used as a one-to-one replacement for conventional flour in most recipe applications.
- Gluten-free Pizza Flour Blend: This blend enables foodservice and pizza chain operators to deliver fresh, gluten-free crusts, including thin, flatbread and pan pizzas.
Personalization in baked goods
Lifestyle-specific personalized nutrition is gaining traction and the trend toward low carb continues, remarks Innova Market Insights.
US consumers continue to seek products with the “right” macronutrients for keto and other diets emphasizing protein and fat while reducing carbs.
“Today, consumers expect food choices that align with their individual diet preferences and these latest alternative offerings are a major step forward in making that a reality,” said Buck Vanniejenhuis, Canada general manager of Ardent Mills.
Even traditional commodity-type categories like milk are further diversifying into offerings such as ultra-filtered high-protein or A2 varieties.
In September 2020, General Mills stepped into the keto snacking space with a family of five yogurts and a new snack bar, making it the company’s “first-ever keto-friendly snack line.”
Also tapping into gluten-free trends, Lantmännen Biorefineries launched a gluten-free wheat starch from autumn wheat harvested in Sweden last March.
The company notes that the market for gluten-free products is growing due to increasing diagnoses of celiac disease, which currently affects about 2% of the population.
The gluten-free wheat starch will be launched initially in the Nordics and in northern Europe, where demand is very high, notes Biorefineries.
By Missy Green
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