A cutting edge project, being run as a collaboration between Everfresh Natural Foods, Camden BRI and Holmach Ltd, has been awarded a £650k grant by Innovate UK.
The project ultimately hopes to identify new ways of improving both the nutritional qualities and shelf life of baked goods, through the use of sprouted grains and pasteurisation, without detrimentally affecting the taste and texture of products.
The project comes off the back of encouraging initial research in the area, as Tom Russell, Managing Director at Everfresh explains:
“Research into the benefits of sprouting grains has been promising, but we hope this grant will enable us to expand on early findings and discover just how beneficial the process is to the nutritional qualities of the end baked products. We’re also excited to be working with Holmach on a unique pasteurisation method, which means we could dramatically extend the shelf life of breads and cakes without having to add unnecessary additives. Both sides of the project look likely to result in an outcome where we’re able to produce baked goods which involve much less processing, preservatives and additives, but produce highly nutritional end products that do not sacrifice on taste or texture.”
The project will initially focus on Camden and Everfresh working together to identify which sprouted grains produce an optimal product, in terms of taste and texture and nutritional properties, with candidates including oats, wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. The addition of pulses will also be explored, to see whether they are a viable option for increasing protein levels in products. Independent consumer group testing will be used to determine whether the products will be readily accepted by today’s shopper.
Holmach will further explore how pasteurisation, involving steaming products once packed, is able to extend their shelf life to allow for the removal of additives and help lessen food waste in stores. The team will also review novel packaging materials and systems that deliver optimal food safety and shelf-life for sprouted grain baked goods whilst reducing waste.
The final stages of the project will look at the scalability and commercial applications of the processes.
“We’re excited to be working on such a cutting edge project, which could have huge impacts on the food industry”, continued Russel.
“There’s an obvious commercial attraction, both at a consumer level, where tasty, nutritional products appeal to today’s health conscious consumers, who are looking for ever less processed foods, and at a retail level, with extended shelf lives and reduced waste having positive financial impacts. Perhaps more exciting, in the grand scheme of things, is the impact this could have in regions of the world where increased nutritional content and an increase in food hygiene could have life-saving consequences.”
Some very encouraging results are being seen. A new range of cakes has already been launched on the back of the collaboration so far and more recently a whole new markets sector for sprouted grains has been identified. Initial NPD work into this field is extremely promising and may see a savoury range option launched on eth back of it.
Further work as part of the project will investigate alternative packaging option s in an attempt to move away from plastics as far as possible and bring to this sector a nearly 100% recyclable product pack format.
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