New Technologies and Ingredients Improve Quality of Gluten-Free Food

Gluten-free food now has a better taste, appearance, and nutritional content

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Gluten-free food is often bland and gritty in texture and has poor nutrition. Now, manufacturers have the technology and ingredients to produce better-tasting and more nutritious food.

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.

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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.