National Starch Food Innovation

March 30, 2006
Ingredients translate chefs' art to production science

National Starch Food Innovation has introduced a line of natural, grain-based ingredients designed to maintain the positive attributes of traditional flours and dramatically expand and improve the ways they can be used in packaged and prepared foods. Previewed at the IFT show in 2005, this ingredient technology now has a name — Homecraft — underscoring the gourmet, homestyle appearance and texture that these ingredients can bring to processed foods. The Homecraft product portfolio includes three functional wheat flours, each designed to address functional shortcomings of native flours such as lack of freeze/thaw stability, sensitivity to processing and poor cold-water thickening.

According to Joe Lombardi, Marketing Manager, Wholesome Ingredients-North America, the Homecraft line of ingredients has been designed to help bring gourmet-inspired convenience to every table. “Homecraft ingredients bring what we love about flour to a whole new range of food applications. They have been designed to address the processing and stability issues that often come with the use of flour in processed high-moisture foods like soups, sauces and gravies,” he said. “Makers of gourmet and premium foods, frozen and refrigerated meals, refrigerated and frozen soups, home-style and premium sauces, baby foods, natural or organic soups, sauces and meals now have new options for improving process and end-product consistency in batch processing, while lowering the number of off-specification batches, reducing downtime and minimizing adjustments,” he added.

As specialty flours, the Homecraft line allows for a much wider range of processing and preparation options than is possible with traditional flour. Lombardi went on to say that that the extra processing flexibility, convenience, and stability afforded by the Homecraft series enables chefs to include flour in products where once they may have minimized or avoided its use altogether.

In addition, Homecraft ingredients can help food manufacturers participate in the trend toward healthier, more wholesome products. Homecraft ingredients are minimally processed to maintain the natural goodness of their grain bases — meaning they have a better, more balanced profile than typical functional additives. Products in the Homecraft line are considered ingredients, not additives; thus, food products can carry a consumer-pleasing ‘flour’ designation on the package.

Homecraft Create 765

Refrigerated, chilled and frozen consumer food products require formulators to consider how freeze/thaw cycling and refrigeration will effect the textural and flavor attributes of their creations. Homecraft Create 765 is the first wheat flour to offer textural stability through as many as twelve freeze/thaw cycles. This opens the door to the use of flour and the delivery of the desirable opacity, texture and flavor attributes of flour in a wide range of applications, such as gourmet, fresh, chilled soups, where the use of flour would typically limit distribution or shelf-life, or simply was not an acceptable ingredient due to its inherent textural instability. Other products that can take advantage of Homecraft Create 765’s freeze/thaw stability include frozen and chilled meals and sauces.

Homecraft Create 730

Withstanding industrial food processes is one factor that determines whether flour can be included in prepared foods. Homecraft Create 730 will allow a chef to specify the use of flour in products that will be subjected to intense food processing conditions. Homecraft Create 730 has a higher threshold of tolerance to viscosity breakdown than traditional flour. This offering evens out production and end product variability, providing batch-to-batch and in-process consistency. Homecraft Create 730 is ideally suited for use in kettle cooked or retorted sauces, soups and meal solutions.

Homecraft Express 760

After taste, convenience is the key driver of consumer purchasing behavior in packaged foods. Convenience usually means easy to prepare or instant preparation, whether in the home, foodservice or institutional environment. Homecraft Express 760 is pregelatinized, allowing the use of flour in products designed for cold water or reconstitute and microwave applications. Even when heating is standard, Homecraft Express 760 functions more quickly and consistently than native flour.