Ancient grains tap into at-home breakfast trends

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Read full article By Jeff Jelski @ Food Business News Photo Credit: ITUMMY STOCK.ADOBE.COM

KANSAS CITY — More consumers are eating breakfast at home as COVID-19 has more and more people working at home. Companies looking to differentiate their breakfast products may explore ancient grains for innovative ideas.

Sorghum, millet, amaranth and teff are some of the ancient grains appearing in ready-to-eat cereal. Buckwheat offers texture and gluten-free aspects to pancakes and waffles. Quinoa remains a popular ancient grain, too.

“For example, quinoa flour, flakes and blends are highly versatile — perfect for hot breakfast cereals and granola or included in multi-grain blend combinations to boost flavor and texture. They can also be used as toppings in everything from breads and bagels to bars and crackers.”

Healthy Food Ingredients, Fargo, ND, has seen continued demand for amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa and a resurgence in interest in sorghum, flax and millet, said Jay Johnson, chief operating officer for Healthy Food Ingredients, Fargo, ND.

“In general, ancient grains play into a whole grain, gluten-free trend while encompassing a clean and simple label,” he said.

Ready-to-eat cereal sales have surged during COVID-19. US retail sales in the category reached $9.3 billion in the 52-week period ended Nov. 29, 2020, which was up 8% from the previous 52-week period, according to Information Resources, Inc., a Chicago-based market research firm.

Sorghum, millet, amaranth and teff increasingly are being used as ingredients in cereal, said Alex Balafoutis, executive vice president for Western Foods, Woodland, Calif. Formulators should take the protein content of ancient grains into account when working with extruded cereal.

“The higher the protein the more difficult it is to get expansion and to get what I would call a texture that is pleasing to the mouth,” he said.

Sorghum and quinoa are examples of grains that are higher in protein.

“It just depends on what the marketer is trying to accomplish,” Mr. Balafoutis said. “The higher protein products certainly have different textures than the lower protein products. It’s really all about what are they targeting to the consumer? Is it nutritional? It is taste? Is it texture? Is it a combination?”

Ardent Mills offers a five-grain gluten-free flour made with quinoa, sorghum, millet, amaranth and teff that is perfect for a flour blend or in an extruded application, Mr. Trouba said.

Slightly sweet’ pancakes
Sorghum may be used in items like baking mixes, breakfast pancakes, waffles or other baked foods for a number of reasons, said Matt Cox, procurement manager for Western Foods.

“The flavor profile, it lends itself to work in a lot of different applications without dominating the flavor profile,” Mr. Cox said. “So it works well in something like a traditional pancake application where you’re looking for the fresh, quick bread-type of taste. It also has a similar starch composition to especially gluten-free formulations that are based around rice.”

Mr. Johnson said buckwheat provides a nutty sensory profile and plant-based proteins when incorporated into whole grain pancakes or waffles.


Posted on

May 10, 2021

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