The market for gluten-free food is expanding as more consumers with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or a preference for gluten-free foods are buying gluten-free products. In response, manufacturers are using new technologies and ingredients to improve the taste, appearance, and nutritional content of gluten-free food, according to Eureka Alert.
One in 133 Americans have celiac disease, says Joseph Baumert, Ph.D., assistant professor to the Department of Food Science & Technology, and director of the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program at the University of Nebraska. With the increasing demand for gluten-free products, there is also a demand for better nutrition, variety, and appearance of the products.
Gluten-free food often has a gritty or dry texture and a short shelf life because of manufacturing challenges. To improve its blandness, some products have a lot of sugar and little nutritional value. Now, with new innovative technologies and ingredients, manufacturers are creating better quality gluten-free food.
By using flours based on tapioca and rice, manufacturers are able to produce a texture, color, and appearance similar to wheat-based products. They are also similar in calories, fat, and overall nutrition and shelf life.
Pulses, which are the edible seeds of leguminous crops, are also being used to create four and starch-like substances made from peas, lentils, chickpeas, and edible beans. These ingredients have a high viscosity, protein, fiber, and other nutrients and are low-fat. Pulses are used to create gluten-free pasta, baked goods, snacks, breadcrumb substitutes in meatballs, and milk-like drinks.