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By Kantha Shelke, Ingredients Editor | 04/11/2006
Lotus also offers a line of heirloom grains such as Bhutanese Red Rice with a nutty/earthy flavor, soft texture and beautiful red russet color; Forbidden Rice, a medium-size Chinese black rice prized for its delicious nutty taste, soft texture and deep purple color; and Kalijira Rice, also known as the Prince of Rice, tiny aromatic grains that cook in only 10 minutes. Pasta makers can use Bhutanese Red Rice flour for gluten-free and wheat-free products. Forbidden Black Rice flour yields purple pastel-colored flour that can add interesting and nutritious color especially for foods for children.
The opportunity is growing for tasty whole-grain foods consumed away from home. Processors will do well to create tasty versions of familiar foods for foodservice and restaurant channels. The key is to develop these products to deliver nutrition without sacrificing taste.
NOTE TO PLANT OPS
Making whole-grain versions of your flagship brands is no slam dunk. Let the product developers do their thing, but you should investigate and add to the discussion some critical considerations from the plant:
Modern markets for ancient grains
The whole-grain movement is not just another trend but is a growing social consciousness of health and wellness. Whole grains contribute color, texture, wholesome taste and nutrition to the food processing palette that had become relatively light, smooth, bland and less nutritious.
The 80 high-profile members of the Chef's Council of San Francisco-based Center for Culinary Development have proven to be good forecasters of culinary ideas that trickle down from upper crust white-tablecloth environs to mainstream restaurants and fast-food chains. The council has added to the growing public interest in whole grains, predicting: “The demand will continue for whole-grain foods packed with natural nutritional value and functional foods quietly fortified with everything from antioxidants to minerals and fiber.”
The CCD called “rising stars” the nutrient-rich “super grain” choclo or Peruvian corn, plus “miracle grains” quinoa and amaranth. The chefs said American consumers are as interested in eating healthful foods as they are in trying new tastes.
Nature offers a bounty of grains to cost-effectively upgrade taste, texture and food labels. Some of them are:
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